19th April 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Past Times: proposed new county buildings

From The Shetland Times, Friday 6th March, 1959

[An] artist’s impression, reproduced by permission of the county architect, Mr T. J. N. Conway, shows the proposed new county buildings on the site of the present library. The County Council have approved the building in principle, but that, of course, doesn’t mean that the building will materialise in even the near future.

The main part of the building facing the Town Hall Brae is four-storeys high, with side part, facing St Olaf Street, two-storeys high.

As shown in the sketch, the main entrance is from the Town Hall Brae. There will be large swing doors leading on to a large entrance hall. On the immediate left of the main doors is a passenger lift for eight persons. Immediately to the left of the lift is the inquiry office and telephone switchboard room, and the remainder of that wing is given over to offices for the county assessor and the rates collection staff.

Still carrying on left towards the rear of the building are offices for the motor taxation and welfare departments. In the middle of the hall will be the staircase, and to the rear of it are stores and records rooms, and heating chambers. Right at the rear of the building is a vehicular access to the heating chamber and stores.

On the immediate right of the main entrance there is a public telephone box, and the remainder of the wing is devoted to four offices for the county treasurer and his staff.

Now take an imaginary ride in the lift up to the first floor, step out, and turn left. Facing the Town Hall Brae will be the sanitary inspector’s department with four offices and a store. Still bearing left, one comes to a roomy L-shaped room for the typists’ pool, with accommodation for nine typists and a supervisor.

At the rear, left (i.e. overlooking the children’s playing field) is a large committee room, with a smaller room off for the use of the county convener.

In the rear, centre, behind the staircase, is the county hall, in which the County Council will meet. At the moment the plan shows the seating designed in horseshoe style, with councillors facing the chairman, who will be on a dais. The present plan shows Press accommodation behind the councillors, but no doubt that will be amended in due course, as it would be a most difficult position for reporters. It is hoped, too, that room might be found for provision of a small public gallery.

On the right, front, of the building (overlooking Town Hall Brae again) is the county clerk’s department, with three offices and an interview room.

On the right, rear, are toilets, spare rooms, and branching off from the new building is a covered access-way to link up with the existing county buildings.

Going up again – to the second floor. To the left and rear is the education department, with eleven offices at its disposal, including four for further education and two for school meals. To the right of the lift is the medical department, with rooms for the Medical Officer of Health, the nursing superintendent, and clerks. There are also toilets and an emergency exit in this wing.

On the third floor, accommodation is provided for the roads and architect’s department – each department is given five offices facing the front of the building, and at the rear are drawing offices, etc., and accommodation for the water engineer.