2011, Copper Beech Tree Felled

During Spring 2011, staff and volunteers at the National Trust for Scotland’s David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre said farewell to a much-loved local landmark as the Queen Mother’s Copper Beech Tree was felled. The tree, which was planted when the museum opened in 1929 by the late Queen Mother, had become infected with Meripilus giganteus, a virulent and fast-acting plant disease which made the tree unsafe. Over the years, the plaque commemorating the planting became embedded in the trunk of the tree, making it an unusual living monument to the museum’s opening.

Local artist Richard Price used wood from the felled tree to create a unique, commemorative artwork in memoriam to the proud tree and its famous planter. At the time of the tree being felled, acting Property Manager Frances McChlery said:

“We are all very sad to say goodbye to this tree which has been onsite since the museum opened all those years ago. However, we will ensure that the tree and the significance of its planting are not forgotten. Richard Price will help us to create a fitting tribute, one which will endure for all time. And we already have plans to plant a suitable replacement tree to mark the commemoration of the bi-centennial anniversary of David Livingstone’s birth. It will be a fitting way to begin our anniversary celebrations in 2013.”

As can be seen from the photo of the grounds, the magnificent tree did enhance the beauty of the place. Today, a few decades on from this photo, the conifers are much larger and of course the tree is no longer there. The recently reprofiled grounds now have a team of volunteer gardeners looking after them with plans to enhance the landscaped areas continuing.

With thanks to Alex Rochead.

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