Times Past 27.02.09


The experimental traffic ban for Commercial Street was approved by Wednesday’s meeting of the full council. Only one change to the plan was made for making Commercial Street into a pedestrian precinct – cars will continue to park at an angle below Fort Charlotte instead of parking parallel with the road as had been agreed.

The traffic ban will be advertised and could come into force in June. It is for a trial six months and the transport committee will review it halfway through the experiment.

Emergency vehicles, delivery vans and the disabled will be exempt from the ban, but pushbikes will not be allowed on the street.

The ban on traffic would be for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Cars parking below Fort Charlotte will no longer enter from Burns Walk (beside the Clydesdale Bank), instead they will come in from the Harbour Street end where there will be two way traffic. It had been thought that Burns Walk would be blocked off, but now the plans is to have one way traffic in the opposite direction from at present.

Most of the discussion at the meeting was centred on the problems of the proposals below Fort Charlotte. Several councillors were worried about not being able to park their cars. Chairman Jim Irvine said that one way to solve the problem would be to ban parking all together. The council had spent £50,000 on a new car park between Commercial Street and the swimming pool and it was not used much.

It was high time motorists realised they were not the only people to be considered, said Mr Mortimer Manson. Mr Edward Thomason said that whatever the hassle to drivers parking beneath the Fort it was nothing to the hassle to people walking on the street now.


The Celtic art treasures unearthed by an Aberdeen University [expert] on St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland, last summer, are now on exhibition in Aberdeen – but it now seems evident that the Museum of National Antiquities in Edinburgh has cast covetous eyes on the treasure, and may demand that the relics should be removed to the capital. Aberdeen University have made it plain they will resist any such attempt.

Provost W. K. Conochie and several other people from Shetland attended the exhibition opening ceremony on Tuesday – in the Marischal College.

The exhibition was opened by Mr Thomas Johnston, chancellor of the university.

Speaking at the ceremony, Principal Sir Thomas M. Taylor referred to those in the south who seemed to forget the cardinal fact that, but for the long and sustained efforts over three summer seasons by members of Aberdeen University, these remarkable objects would never have seen the light of day.

Said Principal Taylor: “Let me say we shall not allow anyone to forget the cardinal fact, and, to prevent misunderstanding, it may be appropriate to add that this university is in lawful possession of these objects, and that it can only be deprived of that possession by its own consent, or by the decree of a competent court.

“You may take it that we shall be resolute to maintain our rights in this matter, in the knowledge that, if need be, there are a number of very formidable defences available to us.”

Nevertheless, Principal Taylor emphasised, the university did not wish to take up an unreasonable or dog-in-the-manger attitude about these things.

Under proper safeguards, the university was willing to consider making the treasure available for public exhibition elsewhere in Scotland, including, if it proved to be feasible, the Shetland Isles themselves.

“We recognise that the public interest is involved. It is not to be assumed that the public interest must necessarily be identified with the interests of a particular institution in Edinburgh.”


In the Parish Church on Sunday evening last, Rev. A. J. Campbell, B.A., delivered a lecture on Darwin.

Darwinism was the parent of agnosticism, whose good quality was reverenced, and which by insisting on the limitations of human knowledge, was a wholesome corrective to the cocksure orthodoxy of the time. But the real religious fruit of Darwinism was seen in an unexpected direction. While some men thought that religion had been mortally wounded, the voice of the period found utterance in the works of two religious poets, Tennyson and Browning. The latter in particular, by his frank acceptance in its entirety of Evolutionism, and his sturdy championship of Faith, formed a rallying point.

Even the most dogmatic of the scientists began to see that religion must be reckoned among the facts of the universe. A new school of thinkers studied religion scientifically, though it is yet too soon to expect definite conclusions from their works. A great religious scientist and philosopher arose in the person of James Martineau, who routed the hostile forces.

And at the present time the whole trend of thought seems to predict a not far distant period when Christianity shall win greater triumphs than ever. This she will do, not by driving Evolutionism from the field, but by absorbing it, as she has absorbed many other movements in the long course of her history.

Some facts are becoming increasingly clearer, – e.g., the remarkable similarity not in words, but in ideas, between modern Evolutionism and the Calvinistic theology, the essential spirituality of human nature, the infinite future opened for man by evolution, and the omnipresence of God.

Most notable of all is the concentration of interest upon the person of Jesus, who becomes more and more the object of hope and faith as men emancipate themselves from the conventions of Evangelical Pharisaism. The ultimate result cannot be foretold; but the religion of Jesus can always afford to wait.


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