Honorary members 1927 to 1941

1927 Stanley Baldwin, Sir James Crichton Browne
1928 Lord Irwin, Col. Walter Scott
1930 Sir Oliver Lodge, Jan Smuts
1931 John Masefield, James Brown
1932 Rev. Henry Ranken, Harry Lumsden
1935 Macmillan
1936 Prof. Adolphus A Jack, Sir Harry McGowan
1937 Prof. Robert Dewar
1938 Neville Chamberlain, Harry Lauder
1939 John White, Frederick Niven
1940 Raczynski
1941 John N Hall

 

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Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) Honorary member 1927

His life & work:

In this case, the career of the Private Secretary has some interest. Edith Margaret Watson was successively Private Secretary to Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin (twice), J. Ramsay Macdonald, Neville Chamberlain and Churchill. By the outbreak of war in 1939 she was thus something of an institution at Downing Street. As such she would have been a close observer of deliberations during such historic events as the Abdication Crisis of 1936, The Munich Crisis of 1938, and the darkest days of the Second World War. Miss Watson was awarded the C.B.E. in 1919 and the C.V.O. in 1937.

His letter, written from 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, on 19th January, 1927:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     The Prime Minister desires me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th January and to thank you for the compliment which you pay him in electing him an honorary member of the Irvine Burns Club.
     Yours faithfully,
     E M Watson

The reply is typed on official notepaper and signed by his Private Secretary.

James Crichton-Browne (1840-1938) Honorary member 1927

His life & work:

< biography to follow - mention will be made of his account of the poet Robert Burns' medical decline in his book "Burns From A New Point Of View" (1925) - also he was anxious to defend Burns, another man with Dumfries associations, from the charge that he had been drunk and dissolute, and had died from the effects of alcohol or syphilis - also of his fears in 1912, reported "by Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times", that the Globe Tavern, which was at that time up for sale, would be bought by Americans and possibly removed to New York or Chicago. >

His letter, written from Crindau, Dumfries N.B., on 14 January 1927:

Notes:

Dear Provost Hogg
     I beg to thank you for the gratifying announcement contained in your letter of the 12th inst. that I have been elected an Honorary Member of the Irvine Burns Club. I consider it a special honour to be identified with a Club representing the place associated with a critical epoch in Burns' career.
     Pray assure the Club of my appreciation of the compliment nthey have paid me in recognition of my endeavour to clear from unjust obloquoy, the fair fame of our great and beloved National Poet.
     Believe me
     Yours very faithfully
     James Crichton Browne

The N.B. in the address is for North Britain - how Scotland was postally known in those days.

See the pen-portrait above for information on his endeavours.

Lord Irwin (1881-1959) Honorary member 1928

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from the Viceregal Lodge, Delhi, on 20th February, 1928:

Notes:

Dear Mr Provost,
     I have to thank you very much for your letter of the 25th of January in which you inform me that the Irvine Burns Club has been good enough to elect me as an Honorary Member. I should be greatly obliged if you will convey my appreciation and thanks to the members of the Club for their action.
     I am,
     Yours faithfully,
     Irwin

The letter is typed on official notepaper, apart from the single name signature.

The Club Secretary, Robert Hogg, was Provost of Irvine at this time (1923-28).

Col. Walter Scott (1861-1935) Honorary member 1928

His life & work:

< biography to follow >

see Strawhorn p. 198 for his donation in 1933

His letter, written from 860 Broadway, New York, on February 14, 1928:

Notes:

My dear Provost:
     It is with more than ordinary pleasure that I hasten to acknowledge receipt of your letter containing such wonderful news, which was written on the anniversary of the birth of the World’s Poet.
     I was indeed proud to know that the Irvine Burns Club had honored me to the extent of Honorary Membership in their historic association, and would that I could convey to your members and yourself the deep appreciation that I feel. It is accepted gratefully, and I trust that my life ever will be such that you will have no cause to regret your action is doing honor to one who is far away from your Club in body, but always near you in spirit in everything that has to do with that remarkable being who was born in Scotland, but who now belongs to the whole world. His monument is one of Love – enshrined in the hearts of the people – and it will last far longer than any that could be built of bronze or granite.
     It was the great pleasure of my daughter and myself to visit your interesting city about three years ago as the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lumsden, and you may rest assured that if God spares me to visit Scotland again I shall be only too happy to pay my respects to the Irvine Burns Club and to the Provost.
     With deep appreciation and personal regards,
     Believe me,
     Yours faithfully,
     Walter Scott

The letter is, apart from his signature, typed, and addressed to Provost Hogg.

Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) Honorary member 1930

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from Normanton House, Lake, Salisbury, on 21st January 1930:

Notes:

My dear Sir,
     I am honoured by the nomination of the Irvine Burns Club as an Honorary Member, and provided it entails no responsibility (which I assume is the case,) I can have no hesitation in accepting the nomination, and expressing gratitude for the friendly feeling which has initiated the idea.
     Yours sincerely,
     Oliver Lodge

The letter is, apart from his signature, typed.

The letter is to James Hogg - when his brother Robert died in 1930, James succeeded him as Hon Secy. from 1930 to 1935; he died in 1936.

Jan Smuts (1870-1950) Honorary member 1930

His life & work:

< biography to follow >

His letter, written from 102, Banbury Road, Oxford, on 28 Jan 1930:

Notes:

Dear Mr Hogg
     I am deeply honoured by the resolution of the Irvine Burns Club, and wish you to convey to the Directors my sincere appreciation of the distinction conferred on me.
     Yours faithfully
     J. C. Smuts

 

John Masefield (1878-1967) Honorary member 1931

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from Boars Hill, Oxford, in 1931:

Notes:

Sir,
     I thank you for your letter of the 17th of this month.
     I thank the Officers & Members of the Irvine Burns Club for the honour they have done me, in admitting me as an Honorary Member of their Society.
     Yours sincerely
     J. Masefield

 

James Brown (1862-1939) Honorary member 1931

His life & work:

<biography to follow

the first Labour MP for South Ayrshire, elected in 1918, holding the seat until 1931, regaining it in 1935, and MP until his death

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brown_(Scottish_politician).>

His letter, written from the House of Commons, on 21st January, 1931:

Notes:

My Dear Mr Hogg,
     I thank you most heartily for your letter, to me, of the 17th inst. in which you inform me, that Irvine Burns Club Members have elected me, unanimously, an Honorary Member of the Club.
     Anything I can say is inadequate to express the pride and the pleasure the members of the Club have given me, in admittring me to Honorary Membership of such an old, and such a famous Club. Believe me, I appreciate the goodwill and friendship which prompted the Members to honour me, and I shall strive to be worthy of their confidence in me.
     Kindly accept my warmest thanks, and convey my thanks and good wishes to the Members.
     With every good wish,
     I am,
     Yours sincerely,
     James Brown

The handwritten letter is on House of Commons embossed notepaper.

The addressee is James Hogg, Hon. Secy..

Rev Henry Ranken (1852-1937) Honorary member 1932

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from 1 Sackville Avenue, Glasgow W.3, on 28th January, 1932:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     I realize, with much gladness that, in a way, it is not necessary for me to express my thanks for the great distinction of Honorary Membership, conferred on me by the Members of Irvine Burns Club. My fellow-members of the Club, sometime my parishioners, and fellow townsmen, of the Royal Burgh of Irvine, know well how keenly the honour affects me. Yet, in spite of their already knowledge, I declare, with all my heart, my deep sense of the very high Honour that has come to me through the exceeding kindness of our Club. The Club has a long list of Honorary Members, most highly distinguished in every city in the Realm of Fame - Literature, Art, Science, Military and Naval Service and Statesmanship. But to none of them does there come so inly a pleasure as comes to a few of us - the pleasure of receiving our Honour from Brother-Hands. It has been, and it is, the privilege of that few to look back on past Burns meetings - business meetings and Commemoration Dinners. And what a fine, jovial, hearty, brotherly back-look it is! I was Chairman on one of the coldest nights I ever remember, in the long-lasting snow of the early Nineties, when the Hall, now so comfortable, was then like an ice-house; but, though we were cold without, we were warm - glowing, if you like - within, physically, mentally, and morally. It is with pride I recall and here commemorate, the fact, that, though the Irvine Burns Club was not the first founded in Scotland, it is the Club that can show, in its Records, the longest unbroken life. And it is my earnest wish that, as the years go on, and as long as the world lasts, Burns, who has got to the hearts of all the world, with Ayrshire as his Cradle, will be remembered, as we remember him, by our children and our children's children, unto all generations.
     With high respect and deep gratitude,
     I remain, Sir,
     Yours faithfully
     Henry Ranken

The word 'inly' is a poetic version of 'intimately'.

Rev Ranken refers to the Celebration Dinner of 1895.

Harry Lumsden (1866-1939) Honorary member 1932

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from the Trades House of Glasgow, on 8th Feb. 1932:

Notes:

Dear Mr Hogg,
     I feel much honored indeed by the receipt of your letter of 23rd ulto.
     But conscientiously I do not feel that my name is worthy of being placed among such great names as already appear on your remarkable list of honorary members. Anything I have done of a literary nature and anything in particular in the way of Galt literature falls far short of earning me a place on your honor roll.
     Still I am very happy to think that I have at least done something for Galt which has not been done before, and that all he wrote (so far as at present known) is enumerated in my Galt Bibliography.
     What gives me the greatest pleasure of all is that I have thereby gained such a high expression of esteem from my fellow townsmen in Irvine.
     Will you kindly convey my most cordial thanks to my fellow members of the Club for the special honor they have done me.
     I am
     Yours very sincerely
     Harry Lumsden

The acceptance is on the official notepaper of The Trades House of Glasgow and bears the text "Clerk: Harry Lumsden, M.A. LL.B., writer" (i.e. solicitor).

It is written to James Hogg, Hon. Secy.

Lord Macmillan (1873-1952) Honorary member 1935

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from 44, Millbank, Westminster, S.W.1., on 30th January, 1935:

Notes:

Dear Mr Hogg,
     I have received with much gratification the intimation which you have conveyed to me of my admission as an Honorary Member of the Irvine Burns Club. I appreciate very highly the honour of having my name added to the illustrious roll of those who have enjoyed the distinction of Honorary Membership of so famous an institution.
     I am,
     Yours sincerely,
     Macmillan

The letter is to James Hogg, Hon. Secy.

Prof. Adolphus A Jack (1868-1946) Honorary member 1936

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

Brought up at Irvine Academy, he began life as a government Inspector of Schools in the Irvine area.

His letter, written from Bohally, by Pitlochry, Perthshire, on April 8, 1936:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     Your letter followed me here where I have been in bed with a troublesome cough. Otherwise I should have acknowledged sooner the very welcome honour you have done me. It is a great pleasure to me to be associated in any way with Irvine, my father's and my grandfather's town, though I doubt if either was actually from there. I myself spent many happy holidays in Irvine when I was a small boy.
     Faithfully and gratefully yours
     A. A. Jack.
The engraving at the head of your Club paper of the statue is astonishingly neat. I did not know that steel engraving could be done so well in modern days.

 

Sir Harry McGowan (1874-1961) Honorary member 1936

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

His letter, written from 40, Park Street, London, W.1., on 5th April 1936:

Notes:

Dear Mr Hall,
     I am deeply grateful for the great honour conferred on me by the Irvine Burns Club in electing me as one of the their Honorary Members. I am particularly pleased when I note the qualifications of such membership. I am not infrequently in the vicinity of Irvine, and will be delighted to call on you and inspect the possessions of the Club. It is somewhat extraordinary the hold that our National Poet still has on the world, but a moment's reflection shews the reason of this, namely that he in his works stands for Humanity, and that is common to every race.
     With renewed appreciation,
     Yours sincerely, H McGowan

('shews' is an older spelling of 'shows')

Prof Robert Dewar (....-....) Honorary member 1937

His life & work:

< biography to follow > Editor of "Robert Burns, Poetry and Prose" 1929

His letter, written from 9 Maitland Road, Reading, on 23 Jan., 1937:

Notes:

Dear Mr Stewart,
     I have been prevented till now from answering your letter of the 12th; but it would be cruel if I didn't try to get something sent in time for the 25th and the Club meeting that day. I hope this does reach you by Monday morning at latest.
    It is difficult to say what I felt on reading the the Club wished to do me the honour of electing me as Honorary Member. I am still not able to see why they should do this thing; for I am sure I have not deserved the honour. It can only be another piece of that kindness, which I sampled just over a year ago, when Mr Hogg allowed me to see the Burns MSS. belonging to the Club. I have been to more places than one of late years on a similar errand; but nowhere, I can say honestly, have I felt myself so welcome and so immediately (as it were) among friends, as I found myself in Irvine. I promised myself, on leaving, that I'd see more of Mr Hogg someday; and it was a shock I still remember, when I heard he had died not many weeks after I spoke with him & found him a man well worth knowing. If only for the sake of the kindness Mr Hogg showed me in the Club's name, I should wish - whatever my unfitness - to accept the honour offered me. And I do so with very great pleasure indeed; and ask you to thank the Club, on my behalf, for thinking me worthy of joining their ranks. I can only hope that I shall prove worthy with time.
     Yours sincerely,
     Robert Dewar

This letter contains a warm recollection of the hospitality shown by the Club, in the person of Hon Secy James Hogg, who had died in 1936 aged 59..

Neville Chamberlain (1869-1950) Honorary member 1938

His life & work:

< biography to follow >

His letter, written from 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, on Feb. 8, 1938:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     I have your letter of the 31st ult. informing me that I have been elected an Honorary Member of the Irvine Burns Club; and I should be glad if you will convey to the members my appreciation of this compliment.
     If I should at any time be visiting Irvine I shall look forward with pleasure to seeing your interesting relics of the poet.
     I am
     Yours sincerely
     Neville Chamberlain

The letter is handwritten, on official notepaper, to Hon. Secy Robert Stewart.

Sir Harry Lauder (1871-1950) Honorary member 1938

His life & work:

<biography to follow>

In our display case is a pen given to Ian Whyte by Sir Harry, inscribed "Ian Whyte, from Sir Harry Lauder, for Service Rendered".

His letter written from Lauder Ha', Strathaven, on Feb 7, 1938:

Notes:

Dear Mr Stewart,
     Please let me thank you for your letter of Jan 31st and how much I appreciate your Club electing me an Honorary Member, and when the bonny days come roon again you may expect me to gie ye a ca'.
     Please convey my thanks to the "Irvine Burns Club".
     Yours sincerely
     Harry Lauder

The addressee is Hon. Secy Robert Stewart.

John White (1867-1951) Honorary member 1939

His life & work:

< biography to follow > Born in Kilwinning, one of the most influential figures in the Church of Scotland during the early decades of the 20th Century

His letter, written from The Barony, 61 Partickhill Road, Glasgow W1, on 23rd January 1939:

Notes:

Dear Mr Stewart,
     To be elected an Honorary Member of the Irvine Burns Club is something which I deeply appreciate. I am proud of my Ayrshire connection, and have many happy memories of my years spent in Kilwinning and Irvine. I am therefore grateful to you for admitting me to a club which has such a long and interesting history, and has done much to conserve the precious writings of Scotia's famous son. I look forward to examine these when I visit Irvine. On Wednesday I shall join with you in 'The Immortal Memory' - "Long life to thy fame and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns", said Sir Walter Scott: so say all.
     Yours very sincerely;
     John White

The addressee is Hon. Secy Robert Stewart

Frederick J Niven (1878-1944) Honorary member 1939

His life & work:

< biography to be shortened/edited> see mentions of Maxwell Dick and of Irvine in (1938):
http://www.gutenberg.ca/ebooks/nivenf-colouredspectacles/nivenf-colouredspectacles-00-h.html

Born to Scottish parents in Valparaiso, Chile, Frederick John Niven was taken to Glasgow at age five and educated in Hutcheson's Grammar School and the Glasgow School of Art. In his late teens he was sent to visit friends in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, as a treatment for a lung ailment. He spent what he described as ‘a year or two’ travelling in Canada and taking odd jobs, an experience that drew him into journalism on his return to Scotland. In 1908 he began his career as a novelist with the publication of The lost cabin mine, one of many adventure stories he set in the Canadian West. Married in 1911, he spent several months in 1912 and 1913 travelling as a freelance writer in Canada. In 1920 he and his wife immigrated to Canada, living near Nelson, B.C., and in Vancouver until Niven's death.

Before emigrating, Niven had established himself as a minor but promising novelist in Britain. His writing was stimulated by his Canadian travel, and more than half of his early publications include New World settings, some Canadian, some in an indeterminate ‘West’: two volumes of short stories, Above your heads (1911) and Sage-brush stories (1917); a book of poems, Maple-leaf songs (1917); a fictionalized personal experience, The S.S. Glory (1915); and four novels: The lost cabin mine (1908), Hands up! (1913), Cinderella of Skookum Creek (1916), and Penny Scot's treasure (1919). Some of these books were adventure romances written ‘to keep the wolf from the wife’, to use Niven's phrase. His more realistic novels had Old World settings and, like A wilderness of monkeys (1911), treated themes of isolation, especially that of the artist championing spiritual values in a materialistic society.

After settling in Canada, Niven used Old World settings for eleven of seventeen remaining novels. He used the New World for one volume of poetry, A lover of the land and other poems (1925); one fictionalized personal experience, Wild honey (1927); and six novels: The wolfer (1923), Treasure trail (1923), The flying years (1935), Mine inheritance (1940), Brothers-in-arms (1942), and The transplanted (1944). These later novels include Niven's chief contribution to Canadian literature: a trilogy spanning the settlement of the West and incorporating his most serious themes. Mine inheritance is a historical romance of the struggle to establish the Selkirk Settlement amid the fur-trade wars on the Red River. Wholly sympathetic to the colonizers, it dramatizes their need to adapt mentally and spiritually, as well as physically, in order to overcome the isolation of the new land. The flying years is a panoramic narrative extending from the 1850s to the 1920s. Its protagonist, though not strongly characterized, becomes a representative immigrant, subject to the trials of adaptation through all stages of settlement, and of his life. He makes the Prairies his home without altogether relinquishing Scotland as that ‘country of the mind’ from which the Highland Clearances had driven him. The transplanted, which depicts the development of a settlement in the lumbering, mining, and ranching area of central British Columbia, completes the pattern by concentrating its thematic emphasis on the need for community to combat the destructive isolation that comes from seeking the freedom of the natural environment.

Niven also published a good deal of non-fiction, including Canada West (1930); Colour in the Canadian Rockies (1937), with illustrations by Walter J. Phillips; Coloured spectacles (1938), autobiographical reflections; Go North, where the world is young (n.p., n.d.); and A lady in the wilderness (n.p., n.d.). Niven remains important to Canadian literature because he brought to bear on Western experience a developed writing talent influenced by British literary and cultural traditions. He became an immigrant, as distinct from a colonial writer—recreating the West in a Canadian perspective

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/frederick-niven#ixzz2KWH9jz6Y

 

His letter, written from Willow Point, Nelson, British Columbia, on February 8th 1939:

Notes:

Dear Mr Stewart,
     Your letter of January fourteenth has just arrived here. I am deeply touched by the honour done me by the Irvine Burns Club in electing me an honorary member. I am often, in spirit, in Irvine. Some of my earliest memories are of the Royal Burgh. I can still recall my first visit. When I was very small indeed I was taken there by my mother who was on a sentimental visit after some years in South America, where I was born. We went to see my great-aunts, Janet and Margaret Barclay. They are mentioned, by the way, in Thomas Hughes' "Memoir of Daniel Macmillan", published in 1883, page 23. My last visit to Irvine was in 1911, shortly after my marriage, in Glasgow. My wife and I tramped over from Stewarton where we were staying a night with an old friend. I hope to come back with her again some day and on that occasion would like to see - if still it is there, of course! - my grandfather Barclay's name on the wall of the Academy.
     I have had touch, during the years, with the loved old place, because of communications from the late Provost R M Hogg and Mr James Hogg, John N Hall, Mr and Mrs Lumsden, whose Christmas cards let me know I am remembered, and Mrs Dickie also, in a charming letter, told me that she possessed a pair of stockings of thread and lacework and coloured silks given to her by one of my great-aunts.
     I know you have a copy of my "A Tale that is Told" in the Club library. Because of references to Irvine in it I sent a copy to Provost Hogg, unaware that he had gone, and his brother - Mr James Hogg - passed it on to the Irvine Burns Club. In case you have not a copy of my latest book - "Coloured Spectacles" - I am sending you one now because of a memory of Irvine in it. See pages 65 to 69.
     Please convey my thanks to the members of the Irvine Burns Club. To be remembered in Irvine, the old home of my mother's people, and that I often remember, means much to me.
     Yours very sincerely,
     Frederick Niven

The addressee is Hon. Secy Robert Stewart.

Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) was the author of "Tom Brown's Schooldays". His "Memoir of Daniel Macmillan" (grandfather of PM Harold Macmillan), who lived in Irvine as a boy, may have appeared in 1882.

For his fond yet vibrant description of Irvine ("a certain little seaport on the Clyde") in the 1890s (published 1938), go to the link given above for "Coloured Spectacles" and the page numbers in his letter - it is available on the web, since 2012, courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

Edward Bernard Raczynski (1891-1993) Honorary member 1940

His life & work:

< biography to follow >

His letter, written from the Polish Embassy, London, on Febr. 9th, 1940:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated Jan. 26th which however reached me only today. I should be very grateful to you for kindly conveying to the members of the Irvine Burns Club the expression of my profound gratification for the honour which they have deemed fit to extend to me by electing me Hon. Member of the Club - and which I am accepting with the greatest pleasure.
     Yours faithfully
     Edward Raczynski
     (Polish Ambassador)

 

John N Hall (....-....) Honorary member 1941

His life & work:

< biography to follow >

His letter, written from Eastwood, Irvine, on 17 February 1941:

Notes:

Dear Sir,
     I am favoured with your esteemed letter of 29th January.
     I greatly appreciate the honour conferred upon me by the Directors of the Irvine Burns Club in enrolling my name amongst the distinguished Company of Honorary Members of the Club.
     I would tender to them my thanks for the kindly manner in which they have given expression to any services I have rendered, whereby the name & fame of Burns have been enhanced, and the splendid traditions of the Club extended, in the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Irvine, where Poesy and Song found in Burns an ardent Lover and ennobling friend.
     I remain,
     Yours very sincerely,
     John N Hall

 

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