Continuing a look at how fundraising was pursued in the 1920’s for the transformation of Shuttle Row from dilapidated slum into a beautiful museum. Transcribed from a 1940’s account:
“Thus, despite these early disappointments, the committee had enough of the Livingstone spirit to go forward with the purchase of Shuttle Row, determined to cast the collecting net further and wider. The turn of the year , however found us in much better hope. An appeal to the Sunday Schools of Scotland brought a most remarkable response. In all something like a thousand Schools and Bible Classes contributed. From city and from glen cam streams, often driblets of pennies, that together swelled into a spate so great that it carried us over the bar of our difficulties. Later we threw an ever wider net, and by means of flag days held in all the main the towns of Scotland, we reached a still larger public, until, in the end, the monies that have flowed to us have exceeded the aim with which we started.
The response from over the border and overseas was gratifying enough, but it had its surprises. Considerable gifts reached us from England, from Canada, from South Africa, and in a lesser degree from Australia; but from the United States, in spite of a variety of effort on our part, there was, save for some donations from members of the Livingstone family settled there, hardly any response. This was more disappointing since among the very earliest of the gifts that reached us, through the kindness of Captain Sir David Bone, then in command of the Anchor Line steamship, ‘Transylvania’ was a remittance of five hundred dollars fro the Caledonian Society of New York. This meeting in these early days at which we seriously considered what was to happen in case of our receiving more money than we could properly use. But practically nothing further followed except for one munificent gift that will be mentioned later.
The reason for the lack of response, which surprised us at the time, seems now clear. We know that Americans are not behind others in their admiration of Livingstone, and we believe that the reasons for their apparent indifference was to be found in the peculiar atmosphere of the time. The USA was then on the top of the wave of artificial prosperity that broke in the Depression, that was so soon to follow. And they had the suspicion that the less fortunate peoples of the world were out to sponge them on any pretext. Further they considered that Scots people were able to look after their own heroes.”
“Looking back, we rejoice without qualification that we had to face these disappointments. It is obviously right that the privilege of honouring their great countryman should belong to the ordinary folk of Scotland, and in the end nearly nine tenths of the cost was raised north of the Border.”
The Livingstone Memorial is pictured in 1929. Continued tomorrow.