David Livingstone attraction gets funding boost

Plans to transform the birthplace of Scotland’s heroic Victorian explorer David Livingstone into a leading heritage attraction have moved a step closer after winning support for a major funding bid.

Scottish missionary David Livingstone. Picture: Getty
Scottish missionary David Livingstone. Picture: Getty

If the project gets the green light, the house where the legendary missionary and African adventurer grew up will be completely refurbished and turned into a world-class tourist experience and educational resource.

The building, now the David Livingstone Centre, is a single-roomed house in the South Lanarkshire village of Blantyre.

It was once part of a complex of lodgings for workers at the local cotton factory, where Livingstone grafted 12 hours a day during boyhood to support his impoverished family.

The David Livingstone Trust (DLT), which runs the small museum, has now been awarded £334,000 to develop the proposal and compete for a £3.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The museum’s mission is to conserve and interpret the pioneering Scot’s legacy and create a dynamic new visitor destination and learning hub.

DLT chair Dr Isabel Bruce said: “David Livingstone was a remarkable man who lived his life of education, exploration and missionary endeavour to the full, and is warmly known by many Africans as a visionary because of his views on their potential for self-development and his respect for their human rights.

“This project gives us the opportunity to reawaken his story and provide the memorial he deserves in Scotland while enhancing his international legacy.”

His belief that Africa’s slave trade might be destroyed through “legitimate trade” and the spread of Christianity sent Livingstone on the travels that made him among the most famous Victorians before his death from malaria in 1873.