This statue of David Livingstone is in Glasgow, which I always thought was a shame, rather than being in Blantyre. It was erected in 1879 in George Square, but moved to Cathedral Square in 1959. Admittedly, it’s a fine statue, well made and with good resemblance to Blantyre’s most well known son.
In August 1897, long before Shuttle Row was a museum to Livingstone and only 24 years after his death, it was proposed that a similar colossal statue of the famous Explorer should be placed in Blantyre, near the place of his birth. Can you imagine if this had happened?
That year, a tablet plaque was placed on the gable end of Shuttle Row with dual purpose. One, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and to mark David’s birthplace. Now, a grander monument was being planned for Blantyre, a National Memorial Statue to Livingstone, which would tower over the village and allow visitors to gaze upon. It was to be a true landmark.
Skip forward to 2023. We know this statue never happened, the idea going “off the boil” and never placed in Blantyre. However, despite the lack of a huge Livingstone statue in this town, a smaller statue was eventually erected within a recess on the front of the Livingstone Memorial Church and of course the talk of an National memorial planted the seeds of what was to become the David Livingstone Centre (now David Livingstone Birthplace) a few decades later.
The statue in Glasgow is pictured.