Canadian Search for Livingstone


c1920 Waterloo Row. The Dolan's lived in the end house gable facing.

c1925 Waterloo Row. The old Works Cemetery in the foreground with the tomb showing

On 15th May 2015 , I was contacted by Donald (Livingstone) Clink who has been researching the Livingston/Livingstone family from his home in Canada. Donald said, “For some time now I have been researching the family of Dr. David Livingstone who spent his early life in Blantyre and whose grandfather Neil Livingston brought his wife Mary Morrison, four sons and three daughters to Blantyre by 1792. I have not however been able to locate final resting place or a gravestone for the grandfather Neil Livingston who died presumingly in the early 1800’s. Dr. Livingstone’s father Neil Jr. is buried in nearby Hamilton and I have the info on that gravestone but none of the historians over the years seemed to have mentioned either a death date or place of burial for Neil Livingston Sr.

A few yrs ago however I came across ” Clan McQuarrie A History” by R. W. Munro and Allan Mcquarrie published by Bruce McQuarrie in 1996 but now apparently out of print. As Neil Livingston Sr. and his family resided for some years on the Isle of Ulva and the McQuarries are an old Ulva family there is some brief mention of the Dr. Livingstone’s family in this book. Most interesting to me of course was that the author or one of the authors seemed to have quite a bit of incite into where precisely Dr. Livingstone’s grandfather had been buried in the early 1800’s in Blantyre. I does give a death date but the fact he was buried in Blantyre as he claims suggests that he died and was buried in Blantrye in an old graveyard near the woolen mill prior to Neil Jr and family moving by the 1830’s to nearby Hamilton. I am pretty certain Neil the elder died before 1830.

In “Clan McQuarrie a History” the author or authors state that:
“When his time came the old man was laid to rest in the burial ground near the factory where a worn tombstone stood in a small railed enclosure below a thorn tree and later a nearby side road was named Ulva Place.The stone was in place when I visited Blantyre in 1939 but it was later removed to the memorial premises in the area of the garden. There was a burial ground adjacent to the Blantyre Works but it is long gone now and houses now stood where the graves were. I can not say how many burials but in the 1960’s there were several fallen stones overgrown and a couple of fenced graves still in existence at that time. The graves were behind the large tenement buildings called Ulva Place that stood next to the Village bar. Burial site behind site of village on older maps.”

I am hoping that someone interested and familiar with the Livingstone family history in Blantyre and with the 19th century graveyards near Dr. Livingstone’s family residence in Blantrye might be able to consult with the museum staff and others if any of this information makes sense to them and if Dr. Livingstone’s grandfather’s gravestone is still located where an old garden or rose garden was located on the Livingstone Museum grounds. I hope this information proves to be helpful to solving what seems to be something of mystery at least to me. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.”

I was able to reply to Donald with the following message,“The description in Clan McQuarrie is accurate and factual. Neil Snr was indeed buried in the small works graveyard. It was surrounded by railings as the description suggests, but the railings were all removed between 1940-1945 for the war effort (as were most railings in Blantyre). The graveyard was for the workers of the Village Mills and the land provided by Messrs Henry Monteith & Co. The cemetery was small and was triangular in shape, bordered by two paths leading up to elevated 2 storey homes called Waterloo Row. Neil’s tombstone was unusual, for given his famous grandson, he was treated with some additional respect and given a rather large headstone, which is alleged to have worn very fast. I can go better than mere description. I have a photo from 1925 showing Waterloo Row. In the foreground is the Blantyre Works Cemetery (which was full at that time). In the most northerly tip of the triangle, is Neils tombstone, which can be seen from the photo, pointing over towards his home. Shuttle Row is to the right, just out the picture.

The cemetery actually was fairly underused, until an epidemic of Cholera broke out at the works and filled it very fast! You can read about that incident here in my story:

The cemetery stopped being in use i believe after 1880 or so when High Blantyre opened a new cemetery for the town. Of note too, was a horrendous fire on Burns Night 1928 which burned down all the houses you see in this photo above the cemetery. You can read about it here.

This story may also be of interest to you.

The disused and full cemetery was left, despite the area being developed in 1929. The nearby Shuttle Row opened up as the Museum and the ruined homes demolished to make way for new homes. Ulva Place would have been out the picture to the left, but I haven’t ever found photos of it. The street doesn’t exist today.

By the 1960s, Blantyre had a housing shortage and new homes were intended to be built all over the village. This caused some controversy when the council removed the bodies, reblessed them and moved them to another cemetery (if i recall it may be Dalbeath? – This is always something i meant to check). Modern homes were built on top of all this land in the picture and today the cemetery ground is modern day “Caskie Drive” a small cul de sac, of brick built homes.

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  1. Donald (Livingstone) Clink

    Hi Paul,

    Would you happen to have an image in your research files of the old gravestone in Bent Cemetery in Hamilton of Neil Livingstone Jr. and his wife Agnes Hunter? I am updating an old article I wrote a few years ago on the family of Neil Livingstone Sr. and Mary Morrison and wondered if you had a photo I could use of Dr. Livingstone’s father’s grave.


    Donald (Livingstone) Clink

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