1879 (possibly February 18th)




Yesterday morning two boys named David Anderson (13) and Edward Livingstone (13), applied to bailie Maxwell, the residing Magistrate at the Dundee Police Court, to be sent to the Mars. Both applications were granted.


1879 Monday, 26th May

Courier & Argus




In the Police Court on Saturday – before Bailie Adamson – a lad, 13 years of age, named Lauchlin McPherson, applied for a berth on board the Mars. The applicant presented a similar petition before the Police Court on the 26th April last, when he stated that his mother had left him in the north of Scotland, and that he had travelled on foot to Dundee in search of her; that he was a perfect stranger in the town, and was utterly destitute and friendless. The Magistrate then ordered him to be sent to the poorhouse for a week till inquiries could be made, but, as probably the youngster had a horror of being “pauperised,” he confessed before he left the Police Office that his story was a fabrication, and that his mother lived in Dundee. His mother was accordingly sent for, and she gladly took the young rogue home again. This time, however, he was accompanied by his mother, who expressed herself anxious to get the boy sent to the Mars, as he could neither read nor write, and led a restless wandering life. It seemed that till lately she had followed the occupation of a hawker, and had travelled the country accompanied by her children, but a few months ago her license ran out, and not being able to take out another she had settled down in Dundee, and got work at a mill. The boy, however, had got naturalised to a roving life, and he would not settle down, though his twin brother went to school, and seemed inclined to do well. Lauchlin got work at 8/- a week about a fortnight ago, but in one week he got tired of the monotonous drudgery, and refused to go back. He was in the habit of tramping round the country, and visiting other towns, and paid regular visits to Brechin, Forfar, and Montrose, where he lived in common lodging houses. Last week he had been on a visit to Montrose, when he contrived to get a passage to Dundee on board a steamer which made an excursion trip from Montrose on the occasion of the Queen’s birthday. When he arrived in Dundee he, instead of going home to his mother, took up his quarters in a common lodging house in Overgate. After hearing the above statement the Magistrate sent the boy to the Mars, to be kept on board till he was sixteen years of age.


1879 Saturday, 21st June.

Courier & Argus


….About ten minutes past six o’clock the train came slowly out of the station, and entered the viaduct leading to the Bridge. Loud and enthusiastic cheers broke from the assembled thousands as the train came in sight. At the signalhouse at the Dundee end of the Bridge the engine drew up for a second, and her Majesty and other Royal personages were distinctly seen and recognised by the spectators. The train proceeded slowly along the bridge, so as to allow Her Majesty to obtain a good view of the magnificent structure. As the train approached the high girders the guns on board the Mars opened fire from both broadsides, and delivered a Royal salute of 21 guns during the passing of the train across the Bridge. The Mars presented a magnificent spectacle. The tall masts were outlined by flags the yards were manned by the boys, and the band played the National Anthem. A number of boys in boats were in proximity to the bridge, and when the train passed they saluted with their oars, while a detachment stationed at the south end of the structure presented arms as the train glided from the Bridge to the Fife shore.


1879 Monday July 21st.

(Dundee Advertiser)




…An old Mars boy John Boyle, had come from Edinburgh for the occasion, on shore he has been doing well by following an honourable occupation, and at the same time diligently cultivating the useful accomplishment of swimming. It was gratifying to the Mars boys to have an old comrade with them, especially one whose breast was covered in medals awarded in swimming competitions. Boyle’s exercises in the water on this occasion were evidently the long result of long and hard practise…

Best swimmer J. Duggan, best diver J. Murphy…

Captain Scott announced that Colin Campbell, who had recently left them for the Royal Navy, had been appointed instructor in swimming on board H.M.S. Impregnable, the result of the training on the Mars…


1879 Thursday, 18th September

Courier & Argus





    The Directors of the Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum have for a considerable number of years backfelt the necessity of providing additional accommodation, and as the present asylum at the top of Albert Street was being rapidly surrounded by dwelling houses and other erections they saw it would be impossible to further extend their present building…The report stated that they had acquired the farm of Westgreen on the Invergowrie Estate, belonging to Mr Clayhills Henderson, and which extends to 78 acres, for the site of the new asylum.




of laying the foundation stone was performed yesterday afternoon by Lord Ramsay, the Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire, and was therefore, accompanied with Masonic honours. The Masonic bodies, some of whom were from considerable distances, mustered in Rankine’s Court at one o’clock, at which hour the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire was opened in the hall of the Lodge Ancient. A detachment of the Mars boys, with their band, and numbering 160 in all, arrived a little before one, and were assigned the first place in the procession, which was marshalled by Mr J.M. Beatts…

    The total number of Masons present were about 400. about twenty minutes past one the procession moved off in the following order:- The Mars band, the Mars boys, Junior Masonic Lodges, 1st Forfarshire Rifle Volunteers band, Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire.

     Procession marched by way of Murraygate and Panmure Street to the front of the High School, each lodge was distinguished by its own banner and regalia, and in addition the members carried the usual wands, while the Deacons carried spears… To witness the procession many hundreds of persons had assembled in the vicinity of the Albert Institute and the Post Office and along the route to the West Station, but they looked in vain for the public bodies. In consequence of the absence of the latter little or no detention took place when the head of the procession appeared in front of the Post Office and the journey was thereafter continued to the railway station. Here a train of about 20 carriages with two engines was in waiting to take the procession to Liff.


1879 December 1st.

(Dundee Advertiser)


Drowning of a Mars boy


   On Friday night about 7 o’clock, while the crew of one of the Mars boats after returning from Woodhaven pier, was boarding the ship,  William Young aged 13 years missed the hold of the ‘man-ropes’ (?) at the bottom of the gangway that leads to the deck, and falling into the river, was drowned. Every exertion was made to save the poor lad, but a strong ebbtide was running at the time.