Times Past 08.08.08


Secondary school pupils from the Skerries will not be forced to go to school in Lerwick – the secondary department at the island’s school is to remain open.

This was announced on Monday by the SIC education committee chairman Mr Bill Smith following his review of the school’s future.

The present head teacher and secondary teacher, Mr Tom Bogle, is leaving next month and Mr Smith said he thought this was an appropriate time to review the future of the school.

On Friday Mr Smith, together with the local councillor Henry Stewart and deputy director of education George Burgess, visited the Skerries to meet the parents.

Thirteen parents attended the meeting and they presented Mr Smith with a petition signed by all the parents on the island calling for the secondary department of the school to remain open. They feared the islands would become depopulated if the children had to go to school in Lerwick and that the community would suffer from the lack of young people. The parents told Mr Smith they and their children should have a choice of the Skerries school or the Anderson High School. They should not be forced to go to Lerwick.

Several parents said they would consider leaving Skerries if their children had to go to Lerwick.

On Monday Mr Smith stressed that he had initiated the review of the school and after meeting the parents and considering the matter over the weekend he had decided to take the matter no further. The primary and secondary departments would remain open.


“Lerwick Log” columnist. – How many religious sects can Shetland support? The latest arrivals seem to have won support from members of other bodies as well as from the hitherto “unconverted”. And if a large and curious crowd can further this cause at all, the public baptisms at Bigton beach were a great success.

Shetland seems to be a magnet drawing evangelists and missionaries of every shade and hue. We have had everything from Mormons to Jehovah’s Witnesses and from “Tell Scotland” to Billy Graham. We have been appealed to in ragtime, serenaded by accordions (loathsome instruments at best) and guitars, bawled at from Bigton beach to the Market Cross, deafened by loudspeakers and accosted by pamphleteers. Some local people must have been “converted” half a dozen times but the majority are repelled by such methods.

I do not deny the sincerity of most of those who come with new messages, but is it not a most unhealthy sign that a community should find satisfaction in the singing of banal choruses in preference to the beautiful music and the devout worship of the churches of their fathers? What does the Church think of it? Do not some ministers acquiesce in this when they join “missions” and are they not themselves repelled by ragtime choruses and Hellfire sermons?

In making these enquiries I am hopeful of a more charitable response than was accorded to me on the last occasion on which I ventured to comment on religious manners. Then I was assailed by kirk members with a “holier than thou” attitude who regarded it as a frightful impertinence that I, a poor benighted heathen, should comment on such a subject at all. At the same time, I must make it plain that I have no intention of accepting invitations to revival meetings. My contribution for the time being will be confined to the purchase of that admirable newspaper published by the Salvation Army and distributed with charm and humility in the pub on Saturday nights.


At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday – Sheriff Broun on the bench – a public enquiry was held into the circumstances attending the death of James Goodlad, fisherman, Church Lane, who was drowned on 20th July, opposite Ham, Bressay, while skipper of the boat Maggie Jane, LK.1026.

Mr J. K. Galloway, the procurator fiscal, conducted the case, and the following jurors were empanelled: Messrs James Mitchell, T. Manson, A. Murray, Henry Mouat, R. B. Odie, W. Murray, and T. Nicolson, jun.
The first witness was Thomas Henderson, 19, Westsandwick, a hand on board the Maggie Jane. He deponed that on Friday, 17th July, they put their nets ashore at Ham to spread them, and after doing so they came to anchor opposite Leog, Lerwick. On Monday they went back to Ham to get their nets. The wind was fair, and they ran down under their foresail to Ham. When entering the bight of Ham they dropped their kedge anchor, intending to bring the boat down to the landing stage on their kedge warp.

Witness was paying out the warp, and James Goodlad, the skipper, was at the wheel. The rest of the crew were forward getting the mooring ropes ready. When they were running down to the stage the kedge warp fouled in the locker, and witness went aft to the skipper and told him so. Goodlad left the wheel to come and assist witness to put the rope right. While they were thus engaged, the rope came out of the locker in a lump, and the boat had a good deal of way on her, and carried the deceased and witness over the rail. Witness managed to keep hold of the sail, but Goodlad fell overboard entangled in the rope. He was too far astern to throw a rope or lifebuoy to, and they could not get the boat checked. Witness saw deceased two or three minutes in the water, and some boats put off from the shore, but they were too late, as Goodlad had disappeared. The body was recovered between 7 and 8 o’clock.


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