Popularity of Livingstone Centre


1940s guidebook

A 1940s 4th Edition of the David Livingstone Guidebook

A report from the Arbroath Herald in 1932 demonstrated the sheer popularity of the David Livingstone Memorial in the immediate years after it opened. What unfolds is a report showing how it was one of Scotland’s top tourist destinations. I quote,

“There must be many almost envious eyes cast upon the little western town, Blantyre over the remarkable place it has attained in the interest of Scotland and of the world since the opening of the Livingstone National Memorial.

It has become quite a place of pilgrimage, and the problem to be solved now is how to regulate the streams of visitors who come from all parts every weekend. The rush to Blantyre this summer already (1932) is unprecedented in comparison with anything experienced in the west.

On Saturday last over people visited the Memorial, and it is extraordinary to learn that over 100,000 people have had to be refused permission to visit the Memorial during this summer. This is regrettable, of course. From a missionary point of view, in the teaching of the young who are visiting the Memorial in conducted parties from all over Scotland, it must have a far-reaching effect. We have several notable Memorials in Scotland which draw the pilgrim from all parts of the world, as instance in the wonderful National Memorial in Edinburgh, and that to Scotland’s bard in Ayr. These attract their thousands, but Blantyre has drawn its tens of thousands with an appeal greater than them all in the short period since Livingstone’s birthplace was formally opened as memorial to the great missionary explorer some three years ago (1929) by H.R.H, the Duchess of York. “

Pictured is my original tour guide dating back to that era.

On social media:

Ian Anderson A portrait of my Ggggrand father Arthur Anderson was part of the original exhibition and is still part of the collection. He was a friend of David Livingstone and helped raise funds for his missionary work in Africa.

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