• STV
  • MySTV

Tribute to wife of Scots explorer David Livingstone in the works

Author Julie Davidson outlines plans to create African visitor centre in memory of David Livingstone's wife, Mary.

Livingstone's grave: Author Julie Davidson at Mary Livingstone's grave in Mozambique.

A Motherwell-born travel writer has outlined plans to build a memorial and visitor centre in tribute to the wife of one of Scotland's most famous explorers.

Journalist Julie Davidson wants to honour Mary Livingstone, the wife of 19th century missionary David Livingstone, near her grave on the banks of the Zambezi river in Mozambique.

Mary travelled with her husband across Africa, but while Mr Livingstone's body rests in Westminster Abbey, she rests in a neglected and forgotten space.

Now, after a 3000 mile trek following in the footsteps of the couple, she wants her life to be properly remembered.

“There is not much written about Mary Livingstone, or her maiden name Mary Moffat,” said Julie, who has just penned a new book, Looking for Mrs Livingstone.

“I decided to do a biography on her on the back of my travel writing, by visiting the key landmarks of her life - where she was born, where she grew up and where she died.

“I was very moved when I saw her grave. I had been reading about it and trying to get there for several years.

“Livingstone has a tomb in Westminster Abbey and his courageous and stoical wife has a grave in what was, for a long time, a war-torn area.

“It is one of my ambitions to establish a very modest visitor centre in the church at Chupanga, where she died, with the cooperation of the mission.”

Born in southern Africa to a celebrated missionary couple, Mary Livingstone played an important role in the life of Blantyre's most famous son, and her own achievements as a traveller and teacher were notable.

She was the first white woman to cross the Kalahari desert. She did this feat twice, and was pregnant during the treks.

Throughout her life, she travelled around Africa and the UK and spent some time in Glasgow and at the home of David Livingstone’s parents in Hamilton.

The mother of six died in 1862 of acute malaria, aged 41.

Looking for Mrs Livingstone is not only a book about Mary Livingstone, her relationship with the famous explorer and missionary, life in Victorian Africa, and Mary’s own reservations about missionary work and her loss of faith.

It is a travel companion of a continent Julie has travelled around and loved for over 20 years.

Julie said: “The mission that was around the grave was destroyed during a civil war.

“There were land mines all around, the graves and the bush around them became overgrown very quickly.

“It has not been restored, but the Catholic priests at the mission do their best to maintain the grave and the cemetery is still used.

“It needs a bit of money spent on it to protect and preserve it.

“There would be display boards with information about Mary Livingstone and her grave would be properly maintained.”

The book argues Livingstone was devoted to his wife but his work as an explorer and missionary took precedence with the couple only spending seven of their 18 years of marriage in each other’s company.

Julie added: “I think it is obvious she was ill-treated. He adored his wife, but he was obsessed and she was neglected.

“She doesn’t have a voice, and it was my ambition to give Mary Livingstone a bit of a voice.”

  • Looking for Mrs Livingstone by Julie Davidson, published by Saint Andrew Press, is now available to buy.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.