Livingstone Birthplace Refurbished

11 June 2015, 07:09 | Updated: 11 June 2015, 07:13

The birthplace of Dr David Livingstone is to be refurbished in a multi-million pound project to create the "memorial he deserves''.

Leaders of the David Livingstone Trust say he is better understood and remembered in Africa than in the land of his birth, and they hope to "reawaken'' his story and legacy.

The explorer was born in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, in 1813 and despite working 14-hour days in a cotton factory from the age of 10, he managed to complete his education and qualify as a doctor and missionary.

He spent much of his life in Africa where he became the first European to ''discover'' and name Victoria Falls, advanced the use of quinine to fight malaria and campaigned to end slavery in east Africa.

He also travelled extensively across the continent, gathering knowledge about geography, medicine and science.

The explorer died from malaria in a village south-east of Lake Bangweulu in present-day Zambia and was buried at Westminster Abbey in London in 1874.

The first part of a potential £3.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been awarded and will used to open up more historic buildings and collections at the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre.

Dr Isabel Bruce, chair of the David Livingstone Trust, said: "David Livingstone was a remarkable man who lived his life of education, exploration and missionary endeavour to the full, and is warmly known by many Africans as a visionary because of his views on their potential for self-development and his respect for their human rights.

"In spite of the recent bicentenary events to mark his birth, it is still fair to say that today he is better understood and remembered in Africa than he is in the land of his birth.

"This project gives us the opportunity to reawaken his story and provide the memorial he deserves in Scotland while enhancing his international legacy.

"Through showcasing the remarkable life and heritage of David Livingstone, we will tell a powerful story that sets Scotland in a global context and presents a compelling universal example of what each of us can achieve - and what we have to offer the world.''

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "The life of David Livingstone is both incredible and inspirational yet his pioneering work is recognised more in Africa than it is in Scotland where he was born.

"Thanks to national lottery players, we are delighted to support the development of a project which will allow us to celebrate this rich heritage.

"It will put David Livingstone's birthplace on the world's stage as a tourist destination and valuable education resource.''