22nd August 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Times Past

25 Years Ago

Lilley Construction has been awarded a £2.8 million contract from Lerwick Harbour Trust for building the next phase of the oil rig base at Dales Voe. The work should be completed by February 1986 and will involve providing a working area by excavating and infilling, building a jetty with fendering, anchor pits, and drainage and sewerage.

Mr Arthur Laurenson, the trust’s general manager, said he hoped work would start in the next few weeks and the bulk of it should be completed by the end of the year.

Mr Sandy Weir, a director of Lilley Construction, said that he was very pleased about the contract. His company has a long association with Shetland – as the ‘L’ part of LJK – and work done on the Lerwick power station. He said that between 20 and 30 people will be working on the project, although at the peak of construction this could rise to 50. It was a high technology job, he said, needing a specialist crew on the marine side. There was a good pool of knowledge among local tradesmen and while some of the key people will be brought up from south the majority of the workforce will be locals.

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The SIC has reversed its official policy of publicising its charitable trust investments in local industry and instead will keep all details of investments secret.

At a trust meeting last week councillors accepted a recommendation from officials that the public should only be given the general total of investments made at each meeting. This reverses the trust policy on informing the public made last year. Then Mr Henry Stewart successfully proposed that all trust investments should be released to the public, although a letter to last week’s meeting from the editor of The Shetland Times pointed out that this policy had never been implemented.

Mr Edward Thomson said there was anxiety on the council’s part that all information should be made known providing it did not militate against the success of a venture.

Mr Jack Burgess, director of research and development, said it was terribly important that the trust did not release details of cases which were recommended for refusal. In these instances the applicant could be in a difficult position which would be worsened by the release of information. He said that detailed financial information about applicants should not be published and stressed that the overriding consideration had to be to avoid any damage to the applicant.

Mr Thomason moved that no information at all should be released where the application might be refused and where the infomration might damage the applicant. This was agreed and the recommendations in the report were agreed, so that the names of the borrower and the amount of the investment will only be available in the annual report. The report for 1983/84 is to be published in the next week or so, and the report for 1984/85 will not be available until August.

Trustees then went into committee to discuss various investments and later a press release was issued. This stated that trustees had approved two loans totalling £490,000 for fishing vessels; one loan of £16,000 under the high risk unsecured loan scheme for salmon farming; two loans totalling £39,707 under the agircultural loans scheme, and one loan of £566 under the agricultural bridging loan scheme.

The trustees are also asking their legal advisers to consider reducing their fees for the safety net scheme for fishing vessels.

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Mr John Graham, author of The Shetland Dictionary, has been asked to join the United Kingdom committee of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages.

The bureau’s aim is to preserve and promote lesser-used languages in EEC countries. The SIC will pay Mr Graham’s expenses to attend meetings of the UK committee.

50 Years Ago

Third time lucky was the experience of the Southern Football Association when a third and final meeting was advertised for last Saturday night and on which the future of the Association depended.

Fortunately, however, there was a good attendance of players and officials present and the Association is to function as usual this year. Mr George Gocke, who has been chairman for the past five years, resigned this post in the hope that some new blood might bring added enthusiasm into the Association. Mr George Flaws was elected to fill the vacancy and other appointments were as follows: Vice-chairman, Mr G Gocke; secretary and treasurer, Mr George Smith; captain (Ness United) and representative to Shetland F.A., Mr Lol. Aitken; manager (Ness United), Mr Ronnie Burgess.

The financial statement was quite healthy and last year the season closed with £90 balance.

The three teams, Quendale, Sandwick and Queen of the South will take part in a Southern League and will combine as Ness United to compete in Shetland F.A. leagues. All senior games will be played at Lerwick. The junior team will again be functioning this year and in addition to entering the junior league, matches will be organised amongst the younger schoolboys.

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The Polish herring fishing fleet will NOT operate from Lerwick this spring – because of Customs’ difficulties.

On Wednesday, the London agents for the Polish Fishing Company informed their Lerwick agent that, contrary to their expectations, the Poles had decided not to use Lerwick as a base.

The trouble is that there is no bonded warehouse in Lerwick, and the Customs’ authorities will not allow the Poles to trans-ship dutiable goods in Lerwick harbour – such transfers must take place outisde the three-mile limit.

It was estimated that the Poles’ short stay in Lerwick last spring – which was an experiment – cost them £5000 in goods and services.

100 Years Ago

British Cruisers at Lerwick – Last week it was rumoured that four second-class cruisers – the Venus, Dido, Isis, and Doris – were to pay a visit to Lerwick at the end of the week, and the arrival of the vessels was eagerly looked forward to. The four cruisers had been engaged in survey work in the North Sea, and it was persistently stated that the four vessels would put into port on Saturday. Early in the afternoon the Venus steamed in and dropped anchor, but she only remained a few hours, leaving again at six o’clock in the evening. None of the other vessels put in an appearance. However, on Monday evening, the Venus again put into the harbour, but there was no leave given, and she left again about nine o’clock on Tuesday morning; by that time, however, official word had been received that all the vessels would be in during the afternoon. Shortly after four o’clock the first of them arrived, and before five the Dido, Doris, and Venus were at anchor. It was some time later before the Isis arrived. The landing stages were soon crowded with boats from the ships, and a large number of leave men were soon ashore parading the streets and brightening the town with their banter and good natured merriment. All leave men had to be aboard by nine o’clock, and the scene at the Esplanade shortly before that hour was quite lively. It was not until 9.30 o’clock that the last contingent left the wharf, and as the boats were pulled off in the darkness the tars gave hearty cheers and sang a verse of “Auld Lang Syne.”

On Wednesday morning, the Venus, Dido, and Doris left direct for Portsmouth, but the Isis remained behind, only leaving Lerwick on Thursday  morning. General regret was expressed that the visit had been so short, and it was also wished that the powers that be could find it possible to make Lerwick harbour a more frequent port of call for ships of the British Navy.

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The Recent Disaster at West Side – A communication has been received from Germany regarding the loss of the trawler Castor. The second engineer was a young man of 24 years of age, and a widowed mother sends a description of him, in the hope that if his body is recovered, it may be brought to Lerwick, and arrangements will be made to get a German trawler to call at that port and take it home, as it is the dearest wish of her heart to have the remains buried in German soil. He had a scar in the form of a triangle in his forehead between his eyebrows, caused by a fall, and was of good medium height and strongly built. His body would likely be clad in blue underclothing, and his stockings marked O.B. Although it is scarcely likely that any of the bodies will be found after this lapse of time, the vessel having gone down in such a wild spot, still if any trace of this young man’s remains are found, we would deem it a favour if the finders would communicate with us.