It has been widely assumed that academic education layat the heart of nineteenth century Scottish missions in Africa. This article will argue that a particular form of education that included artisan skills-based, commercial and industrial training was the basis of the Livingstonia expedition led by Robert Laws in Nyasaland from 1875. Inspired by Dr James Stewart of Lovedale, ﬁnanced by Free Church businessmen from Glasgow and led by teams of tradesmen, the aim of this mission was to establish small settlements that would create a network of trading centres from which commerce, civilisation and Christianity would spread across Africa. The ambitions and character of these ﬁrst missionaries, not least Laws, exercised a fundamental inﬂuence upon the nature and purpose of this enterprise. Livingstonia was the most industrial mission of the modern era in Africa. A practical skills-based education was central to the gospel according to Robert Laws.
- Robert Laws