Times Past 26.09.08


The Civil Aviation Authority is to halve the oil-related passenger load supplement at Sumburgh airport from the middle of October for six months. The reduction is from £26 to £13.

The announcement was made four days before a motion by Councillor Jim Irvine was to be debated by the full council. The motion, which was seconded by Councillor Davy Johnston, stated that the SIC deplored the CAA’s lack of initiative in failing to market the airport for the oil industry and demanded a reduction of charges in Sumburgh to the same level as other airports in the Highlands and Islands. It also called for a public enquiry into the planning and running of the airport and discussions with interested parties with “the clear objective being the removal of the CAA as operators of Sumburgh”. If these conditions were not met by the end of October, the motion called for the development of Unst and Scatsta airport as there would be no future for Sumburgh.

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The new Red Cross holiday home at Springfield, Scousburgh, was officially opened on Saturday by local branch president Mrs Norma Cumming. Nearly 200 people from all parts of Shetland from many organisations were at the ceremony.

Mrs Cumming welcomed everyone to the home, the first project of its kind in Shetland and explained how it had all come about. She said the organisation of fund raising activities had been placed in the hands of a steering committee chaired by Mr Stuart Hay. Mrs Cumming continued: “Mr Peter Malcolmson, director of social work, informed the committee that Shetland Islands Council were prepared to make available to the local branch of the Red Cross a sum of £20,000 from the Charitable Trust to provide a holiday chalet for the disabled, and the committee agreed that money raised throughout the year should be used to provide furnishings. The total subscribed by the people of Shetland was £16,000 and it is only right that I should mention especially Mr Hays’s personal efforts.”


Two years ago, the County Council accepted the offer of the existing pier at Easterdale [Burra] as a free gift, and as they do at other piers they proposed to charge dues. But now some people are objecting to the levy, because, they say, the pier belongs to the people of Hamnavoe, and the Council have no right to do so!

The Convener’s Committee had before them at a recent meeting quite a lot of correspondence regarding their proposal to charge dues.

A few months ago the Council advertised their intention to apply for permission to levy dues on the pier, and a period for objection was given. Several did object to the Scottish Home Dept., and it was these letters which were before the committee.

The objectors included Mr Hance Smith, Barry Road, Scalloway, who runs the ferry service to Burra Isle; Mr Andrew Halcrow, who has a shop in Hamnavoe; Mr W. Goodlad, Brake, Hamnavoe; Mr Alex Tait, butcher, Hamnavoe.

The general terms of these letters were that the pier belonged to the people of Hamnavoe and that the Council had no right to levy dues. The writers’ contention was that the pier was built as a result of public subscription and by voluntary labour, and that therefore those who offered the pier to the Council were not legal owners.

The pier was first offered to the Council at the end of 1953 by Messrs Thomas G. Fraser, James Tait and Robert Sinclair, who then declared: “We the undersigned, being the legal owners of the pier at Easterdale, Burra Isle, hereby offer the pier to Zetland County Council in a free gift, and we authorised Mr James Pottinger to convey our offer to the Council.” At that time Mr Pottinger was Burra’s representative on the Council.

The offer was finally accepted by the Council in October, 1956, when application was made to the Scottish Home Department to have the pier declared as a marine work.

Subsequently the Council acquired a title to the pier.

The committee agreed that a copy of Mr Pottinger’s comments should be forwarded to the Scottish Home Department, with copies of the reports which appeared in the local papers.


Yet another serious fire has to be added to the already long list of fires that have taken place in Shetland this year. This latest conflagration took place at Scalloway on Tuesday, where only a few months ago the large hotel belonging to Mr Lennie was completely destroyed.

The scene of Tuesday’s fire was the kippering premises occupied by Mr Robert Christie, Aberdeen, and as the result of the total destruction of this kiln a number of people will be thrown out of employment. The kiln had been in operation until Friday last, and on Saturday all the kippers were cleared out of the premises. One or two men had been engaged in making boxes, but otherwise the kippering of herrings had been stopped for the season.

The kiln was a two-storey building, 60 feet by 40 feet, and was mainly constructed of corrugated iron with concrete foundations. A few years ago the kiln was enlarged, a packing department being added at the back. It is believed that the kiln was one of the finest fitted kilns in Shetland.

On Tuesday afternoon the debris of the fire was still smouldering. There were about 100 bags of chips used for smoking in the premises at the time, and also a large quantity of box wood.

The fire will have serious results to many people in Scalloway. During the summer Mr Christie’s kiln kippered large supplies of herrings and thus gave employment to a good many people, and during the winter Mr Christie purchased most of the haddocks landed at Scalloway and smoked them in the kiln.

We understand that the loss is covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is unknown.


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