1935 Broadcast Back for Africa

1933 Blantyre Weir

1933 Blantyre Weir

In the early autumn of 1934, on the occasion of the unveiling of the South African Scots’ statue to David Livingstone at the Victoria Falls, listeners in Scotland heard the thunders of the Zambesi and the Great African falls.

In early May 1935, Scotland gave back to South Africa the opportunity of listening to the sound of the waters of the Clyde as they fell over the weir at Blantyre above the ” lade ” that drove the mill in which, in his youth the explorer worked. The occasion was a broadcast titled The Man Livingstone,” and was given by the Scottish and Empire programmes.  The part of Livingstone was taken by Mr Harold Wigntman and that of Stanley by Mr Tom Smith. The narrative parts were transmitted from the little birth room in Shuttle Row, Blantyre, Lanarkshire, where March, 1813, the missionary was born, and the other sections were from the weir and one of the Glasgow studios. The producer was Mr Gordon Gildard.  When the men were approached with the request of taking part and being “Livingstone and Stanley”  they initially refused, being shy, no doubt, of the microphone. As soon, however, as they understood that they were being asked to take part in Livingstone celebration they not only gladly agreed, but declined to take the customary fee, and it was only when it was explained that the B.B.C. rule was rigid on the matter forcing them to accept a payment for their efforts.

I smiled when I was writing the above paragraph. I can only imagine the comparative sounds to the mighty Victoria Falls, compared to the Weir at Blantyre, but I’m glad in a way, that the African Nation also got to hear that sound.

Pictured a year or two before the broadcast, in 1933, is Blantyre Weir. The level area once accommodated Waterloo Row, which had been subject to a fire 5 years earlier. Only part of the Cross Row and the old School /chapel remain in this picture.

On Social Media:

Jim McSorley Nice story In fact Victoria falls sits between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia ( Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia) prior to Independence. The bronze statue of Livingstone is still there to day on the Zimbabwean side of the falls at the bank of Devils cataract which is located at the far left of the falls. Embossed at the base of the statue ( four corners) are the words Livingstone, Explorer, missionary , Liberator.

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