On 5th October 1929, the Royal Highness the Duchess of York (Queen mum to you and I) officially opened the David Livingstone Memorial. More commonly known today as “The David Livingstone Centre”.
Following the opening ceremony outside, where large crowds attended, the Duchess was given a tour of Shuttle Row, which for the first time had newly been converted from derelict homes into a new renovation museum. Standing in the upper storey room, where the famous Explorer had been born, the Duchess was given a most detailed tour. It is a tiny place that room. Only 10 feet by 14, with two deep bed recesses and a window that looks out on to a beautiful sweep of the Clyde. This room had been affectionately restored. The people of Blantyre and the neighbourhood gave gladly of their precious heirlooms for the purpose. It is now very much what it must have been 200 years ago near the time of Livingstone’s birth.
The display changes from time to time, as does the decor, but on her visit, there were several pieces of the original furniture in the room, and, perhaps the most interesting of all, the old clock—the Wag at the Wa’—that has ticked steadily all the intervening years . The Duchess remarked, “How Homely It Sounds” although I’m not quite sure it was the type of home she was accustomed to! She went on to say, “And the room, small as it is, has a very cosy feeling. It seems to speak of Livingstone’s homely little mother.”
Pictured that day, is the rather fashionable Duchess, meeting the crowds at the Memorial.