David Livingstone (19 March 1813 - 1 May 1873)
Livingstone was a Scottish physician and pioneering Christian missionary with the London Missionary Society. From his humble beginnings in Blantyre Mill Works, he became a life-long abolitionist and well-respected explorer in Africa. His extraordinary story transformed him into one of the most celebrated British figures of the Victorian era.
Livingstone’s story presents Scottish history, culture, and learning within a truly global context.
His legacy lives on through Scotland’s lasting relationship with many African countries and Black Scottish history. It also ties in more widely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through this lens, the Birthplace Museum can discuss current and relevant issues.
This Is His Story
David Livingstone was born at Shuttle Row, Blantyre - the building which now holds our museum. At ten years old, he began work as a piecer at Blantyre Mills on the banks of the River Clyde.
He attended the company school in the evening and went on to university to study medicine in Glasgow, before completing missionary training in London. He left for South Africa in March 1841 to begin work as a medical missionary.
Livingstone spent almost 30 years in Africa, exploring vast swathes of the continent. He died in Chitambo (Modern Zambia) on 1 May 1873. While his heart was buried in Africa, his body was returned to Britain and lies in Westminster Abbey, London.