2013 Summer (Baltic and Britain – Scotland – June 26 – Day 3)

We checked out of our hotel in Kincardine and drove to Stirling to see if we could tour Argyll’s Lodging, which we were unable to do the day before as it was closed for a private function. We arrived to find it was still closed, this time with no explanation. We wandered down the street to see the Old Town Jail, only to discover it was no longer open to the public and had been converted into offices.By the time we had toured Stirling Castle the day before, visiting hours were over at the Church of the Holy Rude.  This day, however, we were able to go inside.

Next door to the church is Cowane’s Hospital; established in the mid-1600’s by a merchant guild for its poor members. The town of Abington is located about an hour slightly southeast of Stirling.  Located at Abington is Blantyre Station and the David Livingston Center.  Blantyre Works was a cotton mill and families lived in tenement buildings on the property.   The whole family lived in this one room.  David was the second of seven children and was employed at the age of ten in the cotton mill of Henry Monteith & Co.  He and his brother John worked twelve-hour days as piecers, tying broken cotton threads on the spinning machines.  At  ten  years of  age  he  was  actually  old  to  just  be  starting  to  work  in the  mill.   Children  usually started  at 5 or 6.He was a student at the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in 1838–40, with his courses covering medical practice, midwifery, and botany.  He qualified as a doctor in 1840 and also took training as a missionary.  He hoped to go to China with the London Missionary Society, but the First Opium War had broken out in September 1839 and it was suggested he go to the West Indies instead.  As he was finishing his medical training he met a member of the London Missionary Society who had been to South Africa.  He was excited by the prospects to work for the gospel there and as an active  abolitionist, Livingstone sincerely felt that the slave trade could be halted if ‘legitimate’ trade was offered.  While on his various missionary assignments Livingstone believed that the gospel could best be spread to the people of the interior of Africa if there were adequate maps of the river systems.  He became obsessed with finding the mouth of the Nile.

The Livingstone Center had carvings and plaques telling the story of his missionary travels and life up to his death in Africa in 1873. There were many pictures, drawings and articles on display that vividly demonstrated the horrors of the slave trade.   His loyal attendants Chuma and Susi removed his heart and buried it under a tree near the spot where he died. The rest of his remains were carried, together with his journal, over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) by Chuma and Susi to the coastal town of Bagamoyo, where they were returned by ship to Britain for burial. In London, his body lay in repose at No.1 Savile Row, then the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, prior to interment at Westminster Abbey.

We spent the night in Abington and the next day continued south to the Borders and Gretna Green.

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