Fundraising for Livingstone Memorial


There are many, many stories of fundraising between 1926 and 1929 for raising money to renovate and build the museum at David Livingstone Centre. I thought I’d give a brief insight into that time period and what people were doing to raise the money needed.

Commenced in February 1926 following an initial meeting in January of that year. Everybody rallied round. Collections were gathered by the Treasurer, Mr. J. MacGregor Hart, Chartered Accountant at 142 St Vincent Street, Glasgow but it was also possible to donate at any Clydesdale Bank. By October that year, many major and minor subscriptions had been receieved amounting to £2,655, a noticeable goal towards the target of £12,000. Fundraising didn’t get off to a great start.

In October 1927, in connection with the Livingstone National Memorial Fund the Rev. Jas. Campbell, Blantyre, said the response by congregations to the appeals had been somewhat unsatisfactory. There were 64 congregations in the Presbytery, and these only 15 had contributed. The amount received was £81, 14s, and this was disappointing. The Rev. J. Hutchison, Cambuslang, asked where the money collected by a flag day in Cambuslang had gone. The Clerk pointed out that congregational and other conirbutions may have been sent to the headquarters of the fund and it was agreed that the local treasurer make inquiries.

Appeals went out in National Press. The largest single donation from any individual was £135 from M Livingstone Gillanders Esq, followed by £105 from Alexander Park Lyle. The St Andrews Society of the State of New York sent £102. Over £800 had been received from collections made by Scottish Sunday schools in connection with Livingstone Day.

A band concert was given in the Blantyre Victoria football field on the afternoon of Sunday 4th September 1927. The Scottish Co-Operative prize band was responsible for the major part of the programme, and Blantyre Silver Band, St Joseph’s Silver Band, and High Blantyre Pipe Band supported them. On Saturday 27th April 1929, a flag day was held in Falkirk and one in Edinburgh.

On Sunday 19th May 1929, an appeal went out on all BBC Scottish radio stations to help raise the last few thousand pounds needed for the renovation. The previous day, a huge flag day took place in Dundee and it was noted at that time £10,000 of the £12,000 needed had by then been raised. Fundraising was still continuing right up until the museum opened on October 1929, with the large sum of £60 on a flag day raised in Motherwell streets the previous week. Public support was very good, but the individual’s small donations made the fundraising protracted and took 2 years longer, well over the planned target of acquiring the £12,000 by spring 1927.

Attached is a list from October 1926, showing where the first £2,655 had come from. Pictured also is Shuttle Row, when the museum opened.


From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017

Leave a Reply