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THE MONUMENT, MAUCHLINE
To mark the centenary of the death of Burns, it was deemed appropriate that Mauchline should have a National Burns Memorial, for it was while a tenant at Mossgiel Farm close to Mauchline from 1784 to 1788 that Burns composed many of his best known works, and became a national figure. The prime movers in the proposal to erect a Memorial to the poet were the members of the Glasgow Mauchline Society, who organised a national appeal to raise £5,000 for the building costs. A design competition for the Memorial was won by William Fraser with his Scots Baronial tower submission. The foundation stone was laid on 23rd July 1896. The 67ft red sandstone tower was completed in 1898.
The Monument was originally a "living memorial", to which entry cost a mere 2d, or two old pence. The money raised from the entry and other fundraising within the building contributed to the building and maintenance of the Burns Cottages, which provided care and housing to the elderly in the area. Over sixty-six years, the living memorial contriuted to the construction of twenty cottages, as well as a bowling green and a community centre.
Sadly the monument fell out of use. It was breifly used as a Tourist Information point, and then available to view by appointment via the council. However, from 2011 onwards, the monument remained unused and closed.
Today, the monument has been given a second life. After feeling it was perfect to showcase her work, award winning artist Elaine Johnston leased the monument, and it reopened in October 2016. As well as featuring her own work, there are various displays from other local artist and craftsmen.