On Friday 29th September 1899, a memorial was unveiled at the new No5 public house in Alva to commemorate Robert Burns.

When news reached people that the old No5 pub was to be demolished and a new one erected, members of the ‘Clear Winding Devon’ Burns Club decided it would be fitting to erect a memorial tablet on the gable wall of the new building to mark the spot where Burns took refreshments during his visit to Alva in 1787.

At the time he was staying with friends at the Harviestoun Estate but had visited his old friend Betty Black in Alva.

The sculptors Robertson and Mitchell of Alloa undertook the work and set it in its final position on the pub.

It was formally handed over to the proprietor Joseph Armishaw, by the President of the Burns Club William McKenzie.

At the time of its unveiling, there was a large crowd of onlookers and several members from the local Burns Clubs in attendance. Robert Ritchie, the Vice-President of the Oak Burns Club in Dumfries, stood on the temporary platform that had been specially erected and handed the tablet over to Armishaw.

McKenzie thanked everyone for coming and said it was an ‘undeniable fact that the old building which once occupied the site on which they stood was not only a resting place’ for Burns but was also the home of Elizabeth Black, his friend, who was immortalised in one of his songs, ‘From thee, Eliza, I must go.’

The plaque reads ‘Where Burns rested for refreshment 1787 – Erected by the Alva Burns Club 1899’ and it was hoped it would inspire locals to take more of an interest in his work.

Invited guests and members of the Burns Clubs present were invited by the chairman of the Burns Club into the new building for refreshments following the dedication.

Among those attending the event was the former Provost Thomas Donaldson, who told the assembled company how pleased he was to be there and enthused about the plaque being there for posterity for visitors to Alva to see.

He then proposed a toast on behalf of himself and the invited guests to the health of the ‘Clear and Winding Devon’ Burns Club, with the secretary of the Club replying.

Robert Ritchie of the Dumfries Burns Club then proceeded to sing ‘Mary Morrison,’ and the event came to a close.

The plaque remains on the No5 but had been moved to the front of the building.