It is with utmost pleasure and pride, I can exclusively reveal online an astonishing massive announcement for Blantyre! Strictly with permission from funders, and ahead of all Scottish media sources, comes the exciting news that Blantyre’s David Livingstone Centre has at last secured many millions of pounds of funding to renovate the centre and grounds.
The project to renovate the local museum dedicated to Scots explorer David Livingstone has been awarded….wait for it…..more than £6 million in funding!
I was thrilled to be invited amongst 50 distinguished guests earlier today for the huge public announcement, which has been a closely guarded secret for some time and one which is set to put Blantyre back on the map with this world class tourist destination. Following coffee and introductions, staff, volunteers, funders and Blantyre Community Committee including myself there in capacity to record the historic moment, met in the lower floor in the Livingstone Shrine room and heard the announcement.
It is confirmed that the Scottish Government will invest £1.375 million with £4.1 million coming from the National Lottery and £575,000 from Historic Environment Scotland. The £6m will completely transform the centre, cafe, shop and grounds.
The interpretation of around 3,000 internationally significant artefacts will be modernised and visitor facilities such as the café and shop upgraded.
Born in 1813 in Blantyre, David Livingstone spent 30 years exploring southern, central, and eastern Africa, often in places where no European had previously ventured.
International Development Minister Alasdair Allan said:
“David Livingstone remains to this day a deeply inspirational and iconic figure to many people here in Scotland, in Africa and across the world. Principles of global humanitarianism and solidarity lay behind much of his work.
“The reinvigoration of these historic buildings and surrounding grounds, aided by the Scottish Government’s £1.375 million funding, will create new spaces and opportunities for people to learn about the important legacy of one of Scotland’s national heroes. It is appropriate that the project gets underway during this, our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
“The other partners, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, the Scotland Malawi Partnership and South Lanarkshire Council are to be congratulated for working with the David Livingstone Trust to support this exciting project.”
The announcement took place at 10am this morning, Tuesday 4th July 2017 as various speakers commented on the funding, heritage and what this means for Blantyre and surrounding communities. Speeches were heard from Tom McCallum (Provost), Dr Isabel Bruce the Chairperson of David Livingstone Trust, Neil Wilson the great grandson of David Livingstone himself, Rev Murdo C Macdonald the new David Livingstone Church minister, Lucy Gannon of Historic Environment Scotland and Dr Alistair Allan, Scottish Minister.
Refreshments were served up in the cafe afterwards by the volunteers and Hazel’s Butterfly Bakery and the news was warmly received by all. As we left, a meeting was taking place with Architects, the centre staff keen on progressing the plans as soon as possible.
Scottish National Media attended also and as such more may appear on the Scottish News later tonight. I recorded the speeches as a little recorded piece of history of this important moment, which are uploaded exclusively here:
I have also uploaded some exclusive images of the proposed plans and more of our photos covering the event.
Photos: Blantyre Telegraph