Times Past 20.06.08


After years of trying to attract new business to Shetland, the islands council is divided over a project which could bring at least 50 jobs to Scalloway.

Councillors have “worked long and hard to attract industries to Shetland” and now they have two applications for the same site. Seven meetings have been held on the problem in the past week, but Shetland Islands Council is still in the embarrassing predicament of having to choose between the two unless a suitable compromise can be reached. By yesterday it looked as though that compromise might be possible.

The popular site is the one included in the new Blacksness pier development at Scalloway. Shetland Salmon Producers Ltd, a Norwegian salmon processing company, applied for a site but then a second application came in from a group of local processors. That company, Shetland Seafoods Marketing Ltd, is still in formation.

Both companies want to use Blacksness. The Norwegian company would employ about 50 people at its factory, which it needs completed by early next year as they have already started salmon farming on the Westside.

The local processors’ proposal for a new factory is nothing like as advanced and is still in the planning stage. The processors have said they want all the available land at Blacksness for the new factory, whereas the Norwegian company has asked for about half the space.

With less than half of the football and hockey season gone, the £600,000 hockey and senior football pitches at Clickimin will probably have to be closed next month for extensive repairs.

Both pitches are worn with grassless patches. The football pitch has no grass around the centre or in the goalmouths, while the hockey pitch is bare and bumpy.

Mrs Mildred Blance, of the Shetland Hockey Association, described the hockey pitch as “dangerous in places” and generally “not in good shape”. She said she was “very glad that the inter-county isn’t being played in Shetland this year”. Mr Arthur Williamson, president of the Shetland Football Association, said this week:

“We’re all disappointed with Clickimin. Everybody was expecting an almost all-weather surface. It was given every conceivable advantage for a good start – but it hasn’t had the desired results.”


The Methodist church film unit left Shetland on Monday after filming throughout the islands for a week to complete a movie which they started last June.

As a result of last year’s visit by the Rev. Bertram Woods and cameraman Mr Morris Walker, two colour film strips are already in circulation – “Latitude 60 North” and “Flight North”.

The forty-minute movie which was shot last week will be appropriately entitled “Simmer dim”.

On arrival in Shetland last Monday Mr Woods and Mr Walker travelled north to Haroldswick, where Mr Woods was minister 30 years ago. Mr Woods was glad to be able to renew friendships in his old charge but he was quite unprepared for the chance meeting he had on Commercial Street on his return to Lerwick – who should he meet but the pastor who had served with him in the North Isles 30 years ago, Pastor Magnus Johnston, with Mrs Johnston. Mr Johnston, a native of East Yell, was spending a three-week holiday in Shetland with his Lerwick-born wife.

An opportunity for a proper get-together came last Wednesday evening at a district rally at Dunrossness following a circuit quarterly meeting. The scripture lesson was read by Mr Johnston, while Mr Woods delivered the address and Mr Walker sang a negro spiritual unaccompanied.

During the week shorts were taken all over the Mainland for “Simmer Dim”, which primarily is for circulation among Methodist congregations in the south. Said Mr Woods: “We want to give them an idea of what Shetland is like and how people earn their livelihood, and also to let them know the work and witness of the Methodist Church in Shetland since it started in the beginning of the nineteenth century.”


At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Tuesday – Sheriff Broun on the bench – six prosecutions were heard which are of considerable interest and importance to shopkeepers and knitters all over Shetland. These were under the Truck Act, and several leading merchants were summoned to answer charges of giving goods in exchange for hosiery from knitters. There was a large interested attendance in the Court-Room, when Sheriff Broun took his seat on the bench.

The first case called was that of Sinclair Johnson, merchant, managing and only known partner of the firm carrying on business under the name of the Shetland Hosiery Company in Commercial Street, Lerwick, who was charged with having (1) on 12th May within the shop in Commercial Street, of the said Shetland Hosiery Company, through the agency of a servant or counter-hand in the said premises, purchased from Janet Robertson or Herculson, 21 Burns Lane, Lerwick, two woollen spencers of the value of 3s., made at the home of Christina Jane Jamieson, Levaneep, Lunnasting, and did pay her therfor in goods, and not in the current coin of the realm, contrary to the Acts 1 and 2, William IV; whereby he is liable to a penalty not exceeding £10 or not less than £5; and (2) on 21st May the said Sinclair Johnson did purchase from Elizabeth Sutherland, residing at Murrion, Lunnasting, 13 woollen spencers of the value of 19s.6d. made at the home of the said Elizabeth Sutherland, and a woollen semmit of the value of 3s.6d., made by Agnes Robertson, residing at Wailing, Lunnasting, at her house, and did pay therefore in goods, and not in the current coin of the realm.

Asked to plead, Mr Johnson said he was guilty of the charge, with the exception of the woollen semmit made by Agnes Robertson.

Mr Johnson – My lord, I just have to say that I was aware that this Act has been on the Statute Book, but for generations it has been held in abeyance, and the custom of giving goods in exchange for hosiery has been a system by which the bulk of the customers wished to deal. I was only conforming to the universal custom of the place in giving goods in exchange for hosiery, as I did. However, I am quite aware that an effort is being made now to put a stop to it, but I think in doing so it will inflict some hardship on the knitters themselves, which is a thing time alone will prove.

I am aware that you are bound to administer the Act as it stands, but I hope you will see your way to impose a modified penalty, and I can assure you as far as my business is concerned, I will conduct it in future on strictly cash lines, and according to the law.


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