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Irvine Burns Club has invited persons of eminence to become honorary members since 1828 (Irvine-born authors John Galt, illustrated, and James Montgomery being the first) - there are now over 300 honorary members.
The collection spans over 180 years. Letters have arrived from all around the world. Pictured is the reply from Charles Dickens (1851). The furthest travelled is from Prof. I A Gordon (1976) of Wellington, N.Z., 11,468 miles away.
Here we document transcripts of the letters and pen-portraits of the nominees. This is a work in progress, with more transcripts and biographies being added each month.

Honorary Members listed by year

Read an entry by clicking the individual hyperlink below OR scroll through the whole series.

Entries marked (1) or (2) appear in "Honorary Members" vol.s 1 & 2 - details on our on-line support page.
 

1828 John Galt (1)
James Montgomery (1)
also see Loving Cup
1829 William Motherwell (1)
William Tennant (1)
Rev David Landsborough (1)
James Stirrat (1)
Allan Cunningham (1)
1830 Ten other nominees (1)
1833 (Not an hon. member: Charles Lockhart (1))
1836 Sir James Shaw (1)
1837 13th Earl of Eglinton & Winton (1)
also see portrait notes
1838/39/45 Six other nominees (1)
1840 Major James Glencairn Burns (1)
1846 Patrick Maxwell (1)
Alex Smart (1)
Thomas C Latto (1)
1851 William Howitt (1)
Dr Charles Mackay (1)
Charles Dickens (1)
1854 W Edmondstoune Aytoun (1)
William Makepeace Thackeray (1)
Archibald T Boyle (1)
Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay (1)
Benjamin Disraeli (1)
Alexander Smith (1)
Bulwer Lytton (1)
1863 14th Earl of Eglinton & Winton (1)
Henry Glassford Bell (1)
Thomas Carlyle (1)
Alfred Tennyson (1)
Samuel Lover (1)
1868 Theodore Martin (1)
Lord Ardmillan (1)
Sir Arthur Helps (1)
Prof. J S Blackie (1)
David Masson (1)
Lord Stanley (1)
1869 Charles Kingsley (1)
Henry Kingsley (2)
Sir Norman Macleod (2)
P Hately Waddell (2)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (2)
General Giuseppe Garibaldi (1)
1870 David Dunbar (1)
Karl Blind (1)
Robert Browning (2)
1871 William Jack (2)
1872 Edward Jenkins (2)
1874 Sir Bartle Frere (1)
1875 James McKie (2)
Rev. George Gilfillan (2)
1880 Sir James Salmon (2)
1881 John White (2)
1886 Earl of Rosebery (2)
Dr Rob. Morris (2)
1887 Sir J Henry B Irving (2)
Sir William Muir (2)
Robert William Cochran-Patrick (2)
1888 William Black (2)
David Christie Murray (2)
1889 Andrew Lang (2)
Walter Besant (2)
1890 A J Balfour (Viscount Traprain) (1)
James A Froude (2)
1892 J M Barrie (2)
Thomas Hardy (2)
Alfred Austin (2)
1893 Leslie Stephen (2)
Augustine Birrell (2)
Henry Craik (2)
John Speirs (2)
1894 Sir Donald Matheson (2)
Lord Roberts (2)
John Veitch (2)
William Morris (2)
John Nichol (2)
1895 Samuel Rutherford Crockett (2)
1896 Alexander Longmuir (2)
1897 Lord Kelvin (2)
1898 Hall Caine (2)
Lord Wolseley (2)
1899 Sir Alexander C Mackenzie (2)
Sir Archibald Hunter (2)
Rev. Alfred Ainger (1)
Lord Balfour of Burleigh (2)
1900 Francis C Burnand (2)
The Marquis of Dufferin & Ava
Rudyard Kipling
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1901 John Tenniel
7th Earl of Hopetoun
1902 Lord Milner
1904 Andrew Carnegie
1906 Henry Campbell-Bannerman
1907 Lord Young
James Bryce
Lord Loreburn
1908 Theodore Roosevelt
Earl of Cromer
George Bernard Shaw
1909 Sir Donald McAlister

[ If you click a name and nothing happens, use Ctrl-click to allow pop-ups ]

1910 Sir George B S Douglas
1911 Sir Herbert Maxwell of Monreith
1912 Lord Haldane
1913 D T Holmes (2)
1914 Robert Bridges
1918 Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig
1919 Admiral Sir David Beatty
David Lloyd George
Woodrow Wilson
Marshal Foch
1920 Andrew Fisher
Prof. Robert S Rait (2)
1921 Andrew Bonar Law (2)
Sir Andrew Duncan (2)
1922 Duncan McNaught (2)
Robert Bruce Mantell (2)
Sir David Paulin (2)
1923 Viscount Younger (1)
Dr W A Craigie (2)
Col. John Buchan (2)
1924 Sir Frederick Macmillan (2)
Dr J Pittendrigh Macgillivray (2)
1925 Sir Robert Bruce
Prof. Alexander Mair
1926 R F Longmuir
Provost R M Hogg
Lord Stonehaven
J M Bulloch
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 Lord Macmillan
1936 Prof. Adolphus A Jack
Sir Harry McGowan
1937 Prof. Robert Dewar
1938 Neville Chamberlain
Harry Lauder
1939 John White
Frederick Niven
1940 Edward Raczynski
1941 John N Hall
1946 Field Marshal Montgomery
Thomas Johnston
Winston Churchill
1947 Dwight D Eisenhower
1948 James Bridie
James Barr
1949 Ian Whyte
1950 A B McDonald
Lord John Boyd Orr
1951 Sir Hector Hetherington
1952 Prof. David Daiches
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
1953 Sir Alexander Fleming
Sir James Ferguson
Col Bernard Ferguson
1954 Sir John Hunt
1955 Dr Roger Bannister
Lord Bilsland
1956 Anthony Eden
Douglas Bader
1957 17th Earl of Eglinton
Earl Mountbatten of Burma
1958 Sir Compton Mackenzie
Lord Strathclyde
Harold Macmillan
1959 Lord Cameron
William Phillips
Lord Douglas of Kirtleside
Sir Vivian E Fuchs
Norval Murray
1960 Samuil Marshak
Margaret M Hogg
John Grierson
Albert Schweitzer (2)
1961 Commander Sir Stephen King Hall
Tom J Honeyman
1962 A Bernard Lovell
Prof J De Lancey Ferguson
1963 Christopher Murray Grieve
('Hugh MacDiarmid')
(1)
W D Cocker (1)
1964 Sir Alexander Gibson
William Ross
1965 Sir Alex Douglas-Home
Harold Wilson
1966 Duncan Macrae
Maurice Lindsay (1)
Rev James R Dow
1967 Thomas W Dalgleish (1)
F C Sillar
Clement Wilson (2)
also see extra page
Edward Odling (2)
Yehudi Menuhin
1968 Sir Francis Chichester
Sir Thomas Moore
1969 Prof. William Barclay
James Kinsley
1970 Lord Reith of Stonehaven
1971 Lord Macleod of Fuinary
James MacPhail
Rt Hon William Ross
1972 Rev. Alex Macara
Edward Heath
Lord Dalkeith
Herr Willy Brandt


1974 Winifred Ewing
Wendy Wood
1975 David Murison
Alex. MacMillan
1976 Nigel Tranter
Prof. Ian A Gordon
G Ross Roy
Dr Robert B Taylor
1977 Sir John Betjeman (2)
Jane Burgoyne
James Callaghan (2)
Maurice Roeves
Professor Toshio Namba
Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani
Henry A Kissinger
1978 Andrew Hood
1979 Prof. Christiaan N Barnard (1)
Ian Douglas Smith (1)
Don Whyte (1)
1980 Yvonne Helen Stevenson
Mohamed Anwar El Sadat
Margaret Thatcher
1981 Harald R Leslie, Lord Birsay
Jack Nicklaus
J C Stormonth Darling
1982 William Lockhart
1983 Johnny Beattie
1984 William Golding (1)
R L C Lorimer (1)
1985 John Prebble
'Manny' Shinwell
1986 George Mackay Brown (1)
1987 Jack Webster (1)
Ted Hughes (1)
1988 Naomi Mitchison (1)
1989 Hamish MacInnes (1)
James Loughran (1)
Sam K Gaw (1)
Sir Sean Connery (1)
1990 Kenneth McKellar
William McIlvanney
1991 Bill McLaren (2)
1993 John Major
Terry Waite
1994 David Smith (1)
1995 Iain Crichton Smith (1)
Douglas Fairbanks Jr
1996 Tony Harrison (1)
Prof. Tom Sutherland (1)
Sir A W ('Sandy') Macara (1)
1997 John Inglis
Earl of Elgin & Kincardine
1998 Jackie Stewart
Dr Anne Lorne Gillies (2)
Rt Hon Tony Blair
1999 Sir Jimmy Shand
John Mason (2)
2000 Donald Dewar
Andrew Motion (1)
Seamus Heaney (1)
Arnold Palmer
2001 Jim Telfer
Michael Martin
J J Caldwell
2002 Tony Benn
Henry McLeish
Craig Brown
Eric Caldow
2003 Rhona Martin & Olympic Curling Team
Adam McNaughtan
David Steel
2004 Willie Young (1)
Jack McConnell
2005 Robert Fisk (1)
2006 Ian Rankin (1)
2007 William Cowan (2)
Michael Marra (2)
George MacDonald Fraser (2)
2008 James Wilson, OBE
Phil Cunningham, MBE
Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Rt Hon Alex Salmond
2009 Andrew O'Hagan
Janet Elsie-May Coom (2)
2009 Nov.: (at the Homecoming Finale)
Giovanni Benedetti (2)
Nicola Benedetti (2)
Nicola Sturgeon (2)
Baroness Ford of Cunninghame (2)
Eddi Reader (2)
Janice Galloway (2)
Sir Tom McKillop (2)
Viscount Weir (2)
Graeme Obree (2)
2010 Tim Smit (2)
Sir Christopher Hoy (2)
Carol Ann Duffy (2)
2011 John McCormick
Jimmie Macgregor
Jim Butler
2012 Rt Hon David Cameron
Prof. Tom Devine
Bobby Lennox MBE
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
2013 Alastair McHarg
Sir Drummond Bone
2014 Prof. David Purdie
Anne Gaw
Prof. Nigel Leask
Rev. Lorna Hood
2015 Michael Murray
Prof John R Hume
2016 Alex F Gilroy
Brian Cox
Brian Taylor
2017 Prof. Gerard Carruthers
Dr Ian Green

The following nominees declined honorary membership: The Pope, Mohammed Ali, Nelson Mandela, Professor Francis Crick, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Armstrong


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