18th August 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Times Past

, by , in Features

25 Years Ago

The outcry over the Crown Estate Commissioner’s decision to introduce a £50 a tonne “commercial rent” on salmon farmers continued this week, with the SIC condemning both the decision and the way it was reached, and MP Jim Wallace saying the rents could stunt the growth of a new industry.

SIC convener Mr Edward Thomason this week sent a telex to the Crown Estate office in Edinburgh saying how the SIC is “most concerned” by the increase. “Shetland together with Orkney and the Western Isles are peripheral areas where the potential for economic development is severely limited compared to more central areas.

“Salmon fishing is one of the few new areas to come forward which have the potential for permanent development in the islands. Such opportunities are rare and cannot be wasted.

“The industry is in the early, delicate stages of development. The imposition of a substantially increased seabed rental will hinder the industry at this sensitive time. I ask you to reconsider the proposed increase so that the industry can have more time to gain strength.”

Before setting the £50 a tonne rent, the Crown Estate Commissioners held discussions with the salmon farming committee of the National Farmers’ Union, and Mr Thomason had some scathing comments to make on this.

“I have to say that this council regards the Shetland Salmon Farmers’ Association as representing the views of the industry in Shetland, and not the NFU. It is disturbing that the association were not involved in the negotiations.”

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Shetland Field Studies Trust believe they have found a new pre-historic site on the island of Vaila. The discovery was made this weekend of what may be a neolithic house of a type found elsewhere in Shetland. Jill Blackadder speaking for the trust said: “This was our third visit to Vaila and I am surprised we did not notice the large earth mound and stone dyke before. We must have walked right across it before. Some of it has gone over a cliff.”

The trust has already notified the Shetland museum and are now sending details of the find to authorities on the mainland.

50 Years Ago

When Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, officially declared open the new Gilbert Bain Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, many people in the audience looked back over the years of effort that had gone into making a dream become a wonderful reality.

It is 34 years since an attempt was made to have the old Gilbert Bain Hospital enlarged, and since then many efforts have been made to have a new hospital built. Shortly before the outbreak of the second world war local contributions were raised, and plans were actually approved – and a grant promised by the Department of Health.

Then came the second world war, and the project had to be cancelled after tenders had been received.

Discussions started again in 1947, but financial difficulties were too great and the project was again shelved. But no doubt the many who were privileged to to see through the magnificent new building, erected in a commanding position, will agree that although it has been a long wait it has in the end been a worthwhile one.

In construction the hospital is of modern design, partly four-storey, contrasting with the small dwelling houses in the vicinity and situated as it is overlooking Breiwick Bay, it provides a striking new feature to the Lerwick landscape. The main frame of the building is of reinforced concrete with hollow tile floors and the outer walls are clad in pre-cast synthetic granite blocks, much use also being made of local stone. Because of the high winds and the general temperatures in the island, all windows are double glazed.

Accommodation is provided for some 48 medical and surgical patients in nursing units of 24 beds set out in wards of six, four, two and single-bedded rooms so laid out as to be easily supervised from a central nursing point. There is a comprehensive out-patients’ department, a twin operating theatre suite with X-ray facilities, along with physio-therapy and rehabilitation departments grouped around a large reception hall. Because of its particular geographical situation, the hospital and its equipment is designed to provide all modern medical facilities for the resident surgeon and the various consultants who regularly visit the islands from the mainland hospitals.

The building incorporates also a memorial to Shetlanders who lost their lives in the war. This takes the form of a Hall of Remembrance containing an altar on which lies an illuminated register of the names of the fallen. Funds to provide this building were collected throughout the island by a War Services Commemorative Committee.

100 Years Ago

Shetland Agricultural Society – Annual Show – Interesting and Successful Day at Lerwick – The twentieth annual Show of the Shetland Agricultural Society was held in the Gilbertson Park at Lerwick on Wednesday under most favourable weather conditions. The day was bright and warm, and a merciful haze over the sky tempered the heat of the sun, so that people could move about with some degree of comfort. During the early part of the day, while the judging was taking place, comparatively few people visited the Show, but in the afternoon the Park was crowded by a gay throng of holiday-makers, at one time there being not less than between 3000 and 4000 spectators who visited the pens of stock and spent a large portion of their time round the Show ring where driving and riding competitions were carried out during the afternoon. Taken all over, the Show was a great success in every department. If there was a falling-off in any of the classes, the smaller number of exhibits was more than compensated for by the improved quality of the animals shown, and in the poultry and dairy produce classes, not only was there an increase in exhibits, but a most distinct advance all round has been made in the quality of birds and produce shown, which must have been gratifying to those ladies and gentlemen who are taking so deep an interest in the question of poultry breeding, as it was gratifying to those who have the interests of the agricultural community at heart. Representatives from the Congested District Boards and from the North of Scotland College of Agriculture, Aberdeen, who were present at the Show, had erected on the field a model henhouse and a large marquee, in which eggs, methods of packing for market, weighing machines, an incubator, foster-mother, and other accessories of a successful poultry farm were on view. Needless to say, these proved an attraction for a large number of visitors, and it will be surprising if poultry breeding and egg producing in Shetland do not make rapid advances following upon such an elaborate exhibition. In the afternoon, lectures were given on the question of poultry breeding, and were attended by a large and interested crowd. Altogether the show held on Wednesday was one of the best organised and most utilitarian which has yet been held under the auspices of the Shetland Agricultural Society.

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Japanese Airship – New Dirigible Secretly Building – A wonderful new dirigible airship, a record for the world, is reported by the Standard to be now in course of secret construction in Japan.

Among its “points” are the following: Speed – 70 miles an hour; Staying Power – Can remain a week in the air; Lifting Power – 42 tons; Driving Power – 720 h.p.; Length – 600ft; Diameter – 50ft; Crew – Ten men; Armament – Pneumatic cylinder bombs.

Most of the material that is being used is of Japanese manufacture, but one English firm – a well-known sewing machine house – has received orders from the Japanese Government for a number of specially durable machines for use in sewing together the sections.

The airship is the result of the sending out of a band of official experts who travelled through the great countries of the world during June, July, and August of 1910, investigating the developments of aviation. This is Japan’s second dirigible, the first, known as the Yabada Isaburo dirigible, having been finished about four months ago. That one was 400ft long (half as long as the liner Olympic). The new dirigible is expected to be attached to the Japanese Navy at Yokosuka – the Japanese Portsmouth.