The Golden Bridge Child Migration from Scotland to Canada 1869–1939


There was growing excitement as the eventual day drew near. The boys and the girls spent the last Sabbath in the Govan Foundry Boy’s Meeting, in St. Mary Free Church.

At the close of the service the teachers gathered round the children while prayer was offered, committing them to the Good Shepard’s care. Each little emigrant received a Bible, a copy of the Pilgrim’s Progress, a purse, and — last but not least in any boy’s estimation — a good pocket-knife.


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The ‘outward bound’ numbered over three-score. It was difficult to believe that those fresh intelligent–looking children were the waifs and strays picked up from the gutters a few months ago. Rows of beaming faces, fresh with new life and radiant with hope, the little emigrants fell into line.

A crowd of friends were waiting to say goodbye, but there was no time for loitering, and at a brisk pace we proceeded to the Broomielaw where the Manitoba awaited. A large company had gathered on the quayside and, as the sailors were making ready to clear away, sang a parting hymn:

“Whither pilgrims are going, going each with staff in hand?”

Taking up the strain, the emigrants joined in:

“We are going on a journey to a better land!
The lights of Greenock were twinkling across the water as we said ‘goodbye’ to the little emigrants.”

The children set sail on July 2nd 1872 on board the St David. Captain Edward Scott took the kindest interest in his little passengers. Careful arrangements were made for their comfort and a portion of the deck set apart for their exclusive use.


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From the log of the SS Buenos Ayrean

March 25 1892

Daily routine as follows: Boys up 6.30am, wash and dress, then, weather permitting, a run on deck; breakfast 7.30am; prayers 10.00am; lunch 12 noon; dinner 5.30pm; Prayers 7.15pm. Hot gruel at 8pm and bed 8.15 o’ clock; interspersed with a romp on deck, tug of war, watching for whales, ships, icebergs.

March 31 1892

Now in the midst of a terrific storm; boys ordered to their bunks, everyone holding on by anything he could get hold of. Saloon tables at dinner gave way, precipitating the passengers underneath, covering them with food, broken dishes etc. Heavy seas caused water to run up the ventilator and down into the second deck to the discomfort and fun of the boys.

April 5 1892

Beautiful morning. Passed Lambro Head, having logged 2,597 miles from Greenock. Now landed at Halifax at 8.30am, am well and happy, and thankful to God for His goodness in keeping our little company from accident of any kind.