The Boys who went to Mars
Part of our exhibition explores poverty in East Lothian and aims to tell the stories of the people affected. The Archivists were inspired after reading the North Berwick Parochial Board minutes which show that in 1875 two young boys, William Dishington and John Black, were sent to the Mars training ship at Dundee. What was the Mars we wondered? And what happened to the boys?
We discovered that The Mars was built in 1840 as a warship, then anchored in the Tay in 1869 when it was used as a home/school for young boys until 1929. During this time, 6,500 boys from around Scotland or “Sons of the Mars” were sent here to escape poverty, neglect and a life of petty crime. With 400 boys living, eating and sleeping aboard the ship at any one time, stories abound!
What was life like for these children aged between 12 and 16? What type of education and skills did they learn? And what later became of them?
Join us on Tuesday 1st April 2014 at 7pm in the Star Room of the John Gray Centre for this free talk (with songs!)which will answer these questions and many more! No booking required.