Governors Room

Andrew Gibson (1841-1931) was born in New Cumnock in Ayrshire and came to Belfast with his family in the 1880s.

Gibson was the only person outwith Scotland on the Executive Committee of the Burns Centenary Exhibition in Glasgow in 1896, an event to which he loaned hundreds of items from his own vast Burnsiana collection.  In 1901, the 2,000 volume collection was acquired by the Linen Hall Library – and is now the largest Burns collection anywhere in the world, outside Scotland.  This privately collected material relates to the life and work of Robert Burns: it consists mainly of books and other papers, but also some portraits, prints and ephemera.

The collection was paid for by public subscription with patrons raising £1,000 – the equivalent of almost £86,000 today. Other items, including ceramic, pewter and glass artefacts, have been added across the years to the library’s store of Burns material.