In recent weeks, my fellow history enthusiast colleagues and I have been trying to work out the numbering system of the homes within Shuttle Row. Trying to work out which house number David Livingstone’s Birthplace was in, rather than simply saying ‘Shuttle Row’.
There is a multitude of information available in census and valuation records, but it’s been quite difficult to pinpoint an actual address for the latter tenants of the house. The owners were easier to find, owning the whole block of homes, but the tenants who stayed there after Livingstone’s family, whilst their names are known have been more difficult to assign an address to.
Irish woman Eliza J Gilbert (was 60 at the time of the census). She lived at 9 Shuttle Row in 1911, but that address appears to be just one of 10 homes to have the address 9 Shuttle Row, so caution is needed to work out which house it was. Mrs Gilbert is indeed known to have occupied Livingstone’s house though at the time of this census. She even had a visitor book in her home, long before it became a museum room, which had over 9,000 visitors, even by WW1.
The 1911 census may have understated Eliza’s age. She died on 2nd August 1913 , aged 66 and her address at time of death is different from the census, the death cert showing 5 Shuttle Row. She had been married twice in her life and had an adopted son. By 1915, the valuation shows no Mrs Gilbert living there anymore, but instead the names Cook and Storrie are both present at number 9 Shuttle Row.
Mrs Storrie is known to have occupied Livingstone’s small birthroom, as her own home in the early and mid 1920s. She’s pictured here with her cat during 1926, a few years before relinquishing her home for it to later become a museum.
With thanks to Gordon Cook for this newspaper photo.