The original members were the men who first sat
round the festive board of the Dalry Burns Club, in the garret of John
Montgomerie's inn, in 1826. This garret was 18 feet from front to back,
and 15 feet wide. There were two beds in it with a passage between. This
passage was about 4 feet 6 inches wide by 4 feet long, leading to a
door at the top of the stair. Their table was 9 feet long by 3 feet wide
and, although there were 20 of them, they seemed to have sufficient
room if perhaps a little crowded. The Chairman had his back to the
fireplace, and the Croupier had his back to the passage between the two
beds leading to the door. But although they may have been a little bit
crowded, it did not dampen their enthusiasm. It did not matter in the
least. What did matter was that they were in a comfortable place. A
place where they could sing their songs, give their toasts, and tell
their anecdotes with all the pleasure that a band of intelligent cronies
This place is very aptly described by one of
the early members, Andrew Aitken, of Overton, Beith, who became a member
of Dalry Burns Club in 1833, in the following lines:
It's just theekit wi strae, an' but laigh o' the ceilin'
That we scarce, can stan'up straight within.
But there's aye something guid. baith for eatin' an' drinkin'.
To be had at Montgomerie's Inn.
The suppers were held in this garret from 1826
to 1850. In 1851 they moved downstairs to a larger room and a larger
table. Here their table was placed from the front of the house to the
back, and this table measured 14 feet long by 3 feet wide. The Chairman
had his back to a window at the back of the house, while the Croupier
had his back to a window at the Courthill Street side. In this room the
table was 4 feet from the fireplace, the fireplace being on the
Chairman's left and the Croupier's right. Here they held their suppers
until the building was made into a two-storey building in 1875.