Livingstone’s Shawl & Case



Another important relic or exhibit in the David Livingstone Centre is the coloured shawl in which great explorer is said to have been christened in. It had become the property of an Uddingston family, who had handed it down from generation to generation. The shawl, which (in 1930) was still in excellent condition, was ultimately gifted to the memorial by Mrs Rowatt of Uddingston. Another of the relics was a tin box in which Livingstone kept the records of his travels. The box was badly dented in one corner, and in connection with this a good story is told as noted below from the Motherwell Times Archives of 1930:

‘‘A case was handed to Stanley by Livingstone when the two parted, with the instructions that it was to taken to Britain.” During the long, difficult trek through the African jungle, Stanley an altogether different type of man from Livingstone turned round ono day to notice one of the native carriers staggering under the weight of a trunk. Drawing his pistol, Stanley pointed it at the hapless native, saving, “If you drop that trunk I’ll shoot you!’ So frightened was the native by this threat that he dropped the trunk. The dent in the box is said have been then.

Most of the Livingstone relics were only been secured after great difficulty during which searches were made up and down the country for articles which were believed to be in existence, and further relics continued throughout the 1930’s to come to light, with the result that the memorial at Blantyre now- boasts a fairly formidable and always growing collection of Livingstone finds.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

On social media:

Wendy Wilson My family in Hamilton had wooden cooking utensils which were supposed to have been made by Livingstones father. They donated them to Hamilton museum.

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