Mrs Gilbert’s Room, 1913

This is the inside of a Blantyre house in 1913. A very special room for its the birthplace of David Livingstone at Shuttle Row. Now, what is remarkable though, is that this was NOT the museum dressed up to show life in Victorian times, but was the actual home of a resident there at the time.

Mrs Gilbert had the pleasure of living in the very house that David Livingstone was born in. She clearly took great pride in that fact, even putting up portraits of Livingstone on the wall and inviting people into her home to visit, for a modest fee of course! She even had a visitor book in 1913, showing over 9,000 people from lots of different countries had visited. The private endeavour surely supplemented her income and ironically meant she could likely afford to live somewhere larger or in better condition. But she chose not to.

This remarkable rare photo, though not the best shows what the room looked like, before the curators got to set out their vision for the museum in the late 1920’s.

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