Happy Birthday David!

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Today, 19th March 2018, is the 205th anniversary of the birth of Explorer David Livingstone. Over 2 centuries ago, this entry was recorded in the Parish births register recording the birth of young David, to parent Neil Livingston, a tailor at Blantyre Works and to Agnes Hunter, the daughter of Neil’s employer.

In that top floor room, a full family welcomed the birth of young David at Shuttle Row, Blantyre Works, a relatively newish building only around 28 years old at the time of his birth.

The famous birthroom has changed much over the decades and none more so than between 1926 and 1929 when it was renovated in a style sympathetic to the pre-Victorian era when David Livingstone lived there as a boy. Indeed, it has had many makeovers throughout the 20th Century, the current decor and furnishings far removed from the time of Livingstone or the original 1930’s concepts of how the room may have looked.

Over the decades, the cluttered, busy room of the original museum, has had artefacts removed for security and tidiness. Take this picture in the 1930’s for example. Practically nothing in it exists in the room today (with exception of bed, fireplace and candlesticks!).   Of note is the ‘wag on the wa’ clock missing today, rumoured to be broken. We cannot be sure what Livingstone’s birth-room really looked like and it will be interesting to see how another generation and team depict the room in the forthcoming renovation.


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