City (pop., 2008: 661,444), southern Malawi. It is one of the largest cities in Malawi and is the seat of the country's judiciary. Blantyre was founded in 1876 as a Church of Scotland mission station and named after explorer David Livingstone's Scottish birthplace. It became a British consular post in 1883 and attained municipal status in 1895; it is Malawi's oldest municipality. Its colonial trade laid the foundation for its present importance as Malawi's chief commercial centre. In 1956 Blantyre was united with nearby Limbe.
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Blantyre has a number of small Hamlets. High Blantyre is the area to the west and north of Burnbrae Road and continues to High Blantyre cross at the north. It is thought to be the area of earliest settlement, with a Bronze Age village near Auchintibber south of Blantyre Parish Church (High Blantyre). Also to the west is Greenhall Park, where the Calder flows to eventually join the Clyde near Flemington.
Blantyre is loosely divided in half by Main Street, High Blantyre. At the west-end is Priory Bridge - named after the former Priory to the north which was home to monks from around 1235. There is also Coatshill and the village, the oldest industrially developed part of Blantyre. Glasgow Road continues south via Springwell and eventually joins to Burnbank. Next to the David Livingstone museum, at the end of Station Road, is an iron suspension footbridge which crosses the River Clyde giving pedestrian access to Bothwell.
On October 22 1877 Blantyre was the site of the infamous Blantyre mining disaster, where 207 miners (men and boys) were killed when a coal mine exploded due to methane gas. There is little doubt that safety regulations were not adhered to. Christy Moore recorded a well-known version of the traditional song about this disaster. A monument to the disaster of which the youngest victim was a boy of 11 is at High Blantyre cross. The site of the mine now lies under the East Kilbride expressway. .
Blantyre presently has a football club competing in Scottish Junior Football Association competitions, Blantyre Victoria F.C.. Known as the Vics, they won the Scottish Junior Cup (the highest achievement in junior football) in 1950, 1970 and 1982; their home ground is called Castle Park. There was previously another junior club in the town, Blantyre Celtic F.C., but they went out of existence in the early 1990s.
Blantyre contains many amenities for such a small burgh, including:
In 1986 Blantyre's young people developed an organisation called Blantyre Youth Development Team, or BYDT. This organisation gained charity status in 1997, and created the Terminal One youth centre. Terminal One (www.terminalone.org) provides services to the young people of Blantyre and North Hamilton including music tuition, multimedia artistic tuition, recording studios, youth clubs, excursions, and self-development programmes. It is funded by South Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish Arts Council and the Blantyre/North Hamilton SIP.
Blantyre's most famous son is the 19th century missionary and explorer David Livingstone; there is a museum, the David Livingstone Centre at the bottom of Station Road. This centre includes a museum, a playpark, a cafe, a shop, an African Garden and several workshop studios. An adventure assault course also existed here until a young man died in 1995.