The David Livingstone Centre

David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre

Created within a group of buildings on a bend in the River Clyde at Low Blantyre (South Lanarkshire) in the 1927 and opened by the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother), the National Memorial to David Livingstone celebrates the life and work of the African missionary-explorer David Livingstone (1813-73). The A-listed buildings include the remaining parts of former cotton mill and a 'row' of associated mill-workers houses, one of which was Livingstone's birthplace. The Centre describes Livingstone's life from his early childhood working in the mill to his time in Africa, together with an important collection of artefacts and an archive. The collection extends to more than 3500 internationally-significant artefacts and includes bronze sculptures that depict key events in Livingstone's life by Pilkington Jackson (1887 - 1973).

The buildings of Shuttle Row were constructed c.1780 and converted to their current use by architect and Sir Frank Mears (1880 - 1953). The centre was closed while a £6.3-million refurbishment was undertaken 2015-20. For many years in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, the centre is now operated by the locally-based David Livingstone Trust.

The grounds include a World Fountain by Pilkington Jackson and a startling sculpture Livingstone and the Lion by Ray Harryhausen (1920 - 2013) and Gareth Knowles (b.1965).

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