David Livingstone's diary to go on show in Blantyre

Elspeth Murdoch looks at David Livingstone's diary Elspeth Murdoch's great-grandfather's diary is to go on show for the first time

Related Stories

A diary written by the Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone is to go on public show for the first time.

The journal had been unreadable for over a century due to fading ink.

The pages are known as the Nyangwe Diary, as they detail the massacre of more than 400 Nyangwe villagers in the Congo by slave traders in 1871.

The 200th anniversary of his birth, 19 March, will be celebrated with events around the country.

Livingstone is thought to be the first European to visit the Congo. The diary pages were written on old sheets of newspaper, using make-shift ink Livingstone created from plants and berries, as the explorer had run short of supplies.

Although electronic versions of the diary, made legible by spectral imaging, have been available to read online since 2011 this is the first time the original pages have been on display.

'Important son'

The diary will go on show at the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, as part of the commemorations of the bicentenary of his birth.

Livingstone's great-granddaughter, Elspeth Murdoch, from Buchlyvie in Stirlingshire, said: "I think it's amazing that this is his writing on a newspaper that we would never have thought we could read, but thanks to modern technology we can. I think it's wonderful and very impressive.

"I hope everyone else is equally impressed when they look at it and read it. I always want people to keep him in mind because he will always remain as one of our most important sons."

Karen Carruthers, property manager at the David Livingstone Centre said the account of the Nyangwe massacre was significant. She said: "It really affected Livingstone quite profoundly. He was horrified by what he'd seen.

"In later letters and diaries that he wrote he sent information about this massacre and it really helped transform British public opinion and helped bring about an end of the east African slave trade."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Glasgow & West



Min. Night 4 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?

  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?

  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?

  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit


  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.