Times Past 24.12.08
25 YEARS AGO
While most of us are looking back over the year and pondering what 1984 may hold for us the Shetland Hamefarin Committee is looking further ahead to May 1985.
The first Hamefarin was held in 1960 and plans for the second Hamefarin are well under way and a provisional list of events has been drawn up. The programme will cover as many areas of Shetland as possible and local community councils are among those hard at work planning their contributions to the week.
This week the committee are asking Shetlanders at home and abroad to help compile a register of prospective Hamefarers. An advertisement has been placed in this week’s Shetland Times and posters and registration cards have been distributed throughout Shetland. The message this week from tourist officer, Mr Maurice Mullay, is that you should fill in the cards so that your friends and relations overseas can be registered as prospective Hamefarers.
“Once registration cards have been received the committee will ensure your nominees receive an official invitation to the Hamefarin and further details of events and travel arrangements will be sent as they become available,” said Mr Mullay.
The symbol chosen for the Hamefarin is of an Arctic tern. If it needs explanation it is provided in the opening lines of the introductory leaflet on the Hamefarin: “Each year the tirricks fly across the world to be in Shetland in the month of May.”
50 YEARS AGO
Public and private meetings of the Town Council were mentioned again at a recent meeting.
The agenda contained several items marked “The following will be considered in committee,” and when that point was reached Provost W.K. Conochie remarked: “Well, what do I say now? That’s all the public business – or you you may smoke? It amounts to the same thing.”
Mr R. A. Anderson said that it would be quite enlightening to some people who may have followed the argument between the editors of the local papers and the Council on what matters were considered in committee, if the reporters would take notes of the next four items and report them to the public.
The subject matter of them was such that anyone with any knowledge of local government would know perfectly well that every single one was the type of item that was considered in committee by any local authority. They comprised the type of item that, if the press was allowed to attend out of courtesy to the local body, and with the normal sense which they exercised in these matters, would not be reported.
That was the situation the Council were in now that they had finished with the public business. They were going into committee and work which was committee work, recognised as such by every local authority, and recognised by the press as such. he thought that was a fitting comment on both the editors of the local papers.
Provost Conochie pointed out that item 14 on the agenda listed seventeen items of housing matters, purely of interest to the individuals concerned.
The town clerk said he had intended to make some comment at the end of the public business. He had abstained from making any comments previously because he thought it was making a mountain out of a molehill, and not worth paying attention to. The reason he had classified certain items was a very simple and sensible one, both in the interests of the Council and the press. He could put all the items down without any distinction, but there might be a dozen items which he might say should be discussed in committee.
Instead of the reporters “coming in and out like rabbits” – because sometimes it was so confidential that the press should not be in the room – and out of courtesy to them he had listed what he thought (“and I ought to know better than any editor”) were items of a confidential nature.
But although he listed them, it was entirely open to the Council members to say “I think we should discuss this in public”. In fact, on odd occasions members had done so. As far as he was concerned it was a simplified procedure, “and I consider this a fuss about nothing”.
100 YEARS AGO
Christmas 1908 has been favoured with exceptionally fine weather for the season. Of late, unsettled weather has prevailed, and doubts were entertained as to the conditions which would prevail on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Although dull, it was calm and mild, and may be said to have been perfect.
With the coming of Christmas, a week ago the shop windows in town underwent a transformation. The display in the Lerwick shops this year has been exceptionally fine and without doubt beats that of past years. Decorations were carried out on an extensive scale, and the choicest goods in every department were brought into public view. Each shopkeeper seemed determined to put his “best foot foremost” and catch the public eye.
The grocers’, confectioners’ and bakers’ windows were rich with dainties of every description, while the jewellers, drapers and stationers had forward everything in shape of Christmas presents. Toys were a speciality with many of the merchants. The streets presented a much more animated appearance than they had done for some time. Large numbers of county people visited the town, bent on Christmas shopping, and throughout the whole week the shopkeepers experienced a briskening up of trade.