Straw and Grazing, 1960’s

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I recently posted about the little straw African Hut which was built in the grounds of David Livingstone Centre in the 1930s, which was a replica of the hut David Livingstone lived in whilst in Africa. Now, i always thought it was removed due to weather, but have recently learned that burned down. It wasn’t the end though. Sandy Wilkie told me in recent weeks that it was replaced in the early 1960’s by his dad, Peter Wilkie when he and an old farming pal, Lance Twaddle from Gilbertfield Farm, made and thatched a new one for them.

Here’s a relatively rare view of the hut.

1929 African Hut Dlc

1929 African Hut at David Livingstone Centre

Whilst on the subject of Peter Wilkie’s association with the Livingstone Centre, Sandy also forward these documents from 1962 and 1963 showing that the Wilkie’s sheep grazed on the Livingstone Grounds, presumably to the far west, for a rented annual sum.

Who can remember sheep grazing near the centre?


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  1. Hi Paul, George Green who signed the letter was a great personal family friend. He “got us in” when he had a “spare” ticket for a visit by Royalty to the Livingstone Memorial. Very shy retiring man. He was heavily involved with Congregational Church. Especially its insurance business,.

    1. Thanks Eric. I have a few notes on George too:

      Green, Mr. George – was a predecessor of Bill Cunningham and Fred McDermid, in his position as warden of David Livingstone Centre during the third quarter of the 20th Century. By his own description he was “chief cook and bottle washer.” He helped raise funds in the 1950s and 1960s to keep the centre going and oversaw a Royal Visit to the centre. One of the problems he faced in that visit was organising cucumber sandwiches for the Queen Mother, her favourite. George had held a position at the David Livingstone Centre Trust for 25 years before his retirement in June 1978, seven years of which had been held as Chairperson. Mr Green was from Glasgow and had worked as an accountant. He was a past Chairman and President of the Congregational Union of Scotland. Mr Green remained as a trust member after his retirement keeping an eye on Blantyre. In November 1978, Mr George Green the chairman of David Livingstone Centre Trust finally retired. Upon leaving, he was handed a record of his service, which not only congratulated him on retiring, but also celebrated an astonishing 25 years on the Trust committee. (1953-1978) New chairman Fred McDermid handed over the plaque at a retirement dinner. Fred had a busy year ahead of him with the Memorial’s Golden Jubilee year ahead in 1979. Around this same time in November 1978, the Trust welcomed a new member of staff, Mr. Jim Dick, a qualified teacher from Rutherglen who was appointed Education Officer for the Social History Museum. It was his job to provide information to parties of youngsters visiting the centre.

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