The David Livingstone Centre has just been awarded a major Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF Funding) Grant of £334k to start the transformation of the museum and grounds into a leading heritage attraction to celebrate the life of one of Scotland’s most influential but unsung men.
This is the most recent of a series of grants that we have helped deliver at DLC and we are proud to be the landscape architects for the present design team. This stage of the project builds on all the work we have done to date – a landscape led project that has consistently resulted in major investment.
How can an outdated museum make better use of outdoor space to enliven the visitor experience and surrounding area? This was the challenge we were originally set when commissioned to develop a Landscape Masterplan for the David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre, in 2010.
We discovered a landscape rich in history; David Livingstone grew up on the site of the Centre in what was an Industrial Works Village in the early 19th Century where he developed a keen interest in exploration throughout the grounds and surrounding woodlands. Elements of this landscape remain today, with a dramatic riverside setting surrounded by ancient woodlands, which are home to a wide range of wildlife.
Unpacking the Museum
Our aim was to ‘unpack’ the fascinating story of David Livingstone into the landscape whilst encouraging visitors to explore the rich outdoor environment at the Centre. The ‘Zambezi Trail’ was conceived to improve paths and access across the site and extend beyond – pulling elements of Livingstone’s story into the wider plantation woodland through a series of loop walks.
These routes would contain a suite of bespoke signs decorated with lasercut drawings of museum treasures. A set of focal points or rest stops was then designed at strategic points along the route to celebrate dramatic views and landscape spaces, encouraging the visitors to embark on an exploration of their own. We have overseen incremental implementation of the works over the past few years, via an apprentice scheme funded by CSGN with the client benefitting from the structure of a strong Landscape Master Plan.
The museum dates from 1928 and is in the tenement in which Livingstone was born and raised. It houses original artifacts such as his doctors’ bag and his exploring hat, and a series of carved reliefs depicting his expeditions in Africa by arts and crafts sculptor Pilkington Jackson. The building needs restoration and the museum will have new exhibitions and an extension that will spill out into a series of courtyards and gardens designed by erz, working in partnership with Hoskins Architects.
Client: The David Livingstone Trust
Timing: 2010 – present
Click HERE to visit the erz project page.
Article By Felicity Steers