Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


David Livingstone re-discovered by volunteers

Volunteers have helped uncover his statue from beneath a coat of grime.

Oct 23, 2010

The statue in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens commemorates the famous nineteenth century missionary and explorer, with Victorian confidence, cast off lion skin at his feet, bible in hand and pistol and compass at his waist. However his magnificent was marred by an accumulation of old wax, algae and acidic bird droppings, which have now been successfully cleaned off and the statue protected for the future.

The surfaces of the bronze statue have been heated and treated with chemical patenating fluid, then an initial coat of tined wax was applied and hand buffed with soft cloths. Three coats of micro crystalline wax were applied with extensive buffing between coats. Finally the stone pedestal was dry brushed to remove surface dirt and lichen.

While this work was expertly supervised by metal conservators Powderhall Bronze, much of the painstaking labour was undertaken by Future Jobs Fund trainees Charles Slarks and Josh Steele, as well as conservation volunteer David Ross and EWH volunteer Eva Palacios. The Future Jobs Fund offers work experience to young school leavers to help them develop their employability skills.

The work was challenging but rewarding, as Eva says: “It was a privilege to work on the David Livingstone statue. In the first place it was a unique opportunity to look at it face to face but it was even more satisfying to see its evolution and discover details at the different phases of the restoration”

This clean up was undertaken as part of the Twelve Monuments Project, a joint initiative of the City Council and Edinburgh World Heritage. This particular project was also assisted by a donation from the nearby Ramada, Mount Royal Hotel.

Other Princes Street statues to be similarly conserved are those of Adam Black and Professor John Wilson.

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