Times Past 27.03.09


Shetland should have stereo radio by 1986. The BBC announced this week that transmitter changes in Wick had brought stereo radio to north-east Scotland and parts of Orkney. The BBC moved their national VHF transmissions from Thrumster to Rumster Forest mast and while they did this they put in stereo transmitters.

A spokesman for the BBC said this week that stereo radio should be coming to Shetland in 1986 if there is sufficient finance.

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Government statistics can predict a 10½ per cent drop in Shetland’s population by 1996. The Government Statistical Service says that the 16 per cent rise on the population of the islands (including Orkney and the Western Isles) between 1971 and 1981 reflects North Sea Oil development.

Population is just one topic covered in this year’s edition of Regional Trends. The document compares life in Scotland with regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is also a regional profile of Scotland, although Shetland is lumped in with Orkney and the Western Isles.

Women in the Scottish Islands are better educated than anywhere else in Britain. Sixteen per cent of island women have a higher education qualification – above SCE higher grades. Men in the islands are not so well educated with only 9.6 per cent having a higher education qualification.

Shetland had fewer pupils to each teacher in primary schools. On average there were 14.4 pupils to each primary school in September last year compared with 14.3 in 1982. In secondary schools there were, on average, 11.5 pupils to each teacher, the same as the previous year.

While primary school rolls went, the numbers in secondary schools was up 4.8 per cent. There were 1800 secondary pupils last September.

There are less single parent families in the Scottish islands than anywhere else in the UK, only 3.4 per cent of island children live with only one parent.


The death occurred in hospital in South Africa last Wednesday or Mr John Erik Manson, eldest son of the late Mr and Mrs Thomas Manson, Hillhead, Lerwick, and brother of Dr T. M. Y. Manson, editor of our contemporary.

Born on 26th January, 1893, Erik, as he was familiarly known, left Lerwick Central School at the age of fourteen to become an apprentice printer in his father’s office, but after two years he went to sea. When he was eighteen, however, he decided that printing was the career for him, and returned to Lerwick.

Shortly after the outbreak of the first war he re-joined the Merchant Navy, eventually getting a second mate’s ticket. He was then commissioned a Sub. Lieut. R.N.V.R., and was appointed to H.M.S. Totnes, the flagship of a mine-sweeping flotilla commanded by Lt.-Cdr. (later Vice-Admiral) Baillie-Groman. He became that officer’s First Lieutenant, and remained on mine-sweeping service until a year after the war ended.

In 1918 he married Miss Jane Harriet (Hatty) Jamieson, 7 Brown’s Buildings. After his demob, he returned to Lerwick, and worked in the News office for nine years. During that time he enjoyed sailing, and was extremely well-known in musical circles, as he was a talented violinist.

In 1929 he emigrated to South Africa with his wife and three children, and eventually settled in Port Elizabeth, where a fourth child was born, and where he entered the printing trade. He also joined the Port Elizabeth Municipal Orchestra.

When the second war started, he again volunteered for service afloat – this time with the South African Navy. He was accepted into the service, but was turned down for active sea duty. He served partly in command of port examination vessels and partly ashore as base officer.

Five years ago he returned to Lerwick for a fifteen-month visit, but it was no holiday for him, for he went to work in the News office, and again took part in local musical circles. It was with some regret that he went out to South Africa again.

Mr Manson was regarded as an outstanding craft worker in the printing industry. After the first war the British Printer awarded the Hood Medal for the best work produced in a small office for Shetland’s Roll of Honour and Roll of Service, produced by Mr Manson, his father, and the late Mr John Williamson.


North Yell correspondent – Last week the subject before our Debating Society was, “Is it better to have loved and lost, or never to have never loved at all”. The essayists were Mr Robert S. Henderson, Gloup, who was “Love and loss”, and Mr Magnus Anderson, Cullivoe, who said “Never love”. The subject was handled in a most efficient manner by both essayists, who were accorded a most hearty vote of thanks for their excellent papers. Mr Henderson won by a good majority over his opponent.

Some time ago our secretary was instructed to write Dr Taylor, Mid Yell, and ask him to give us a lecture on “First Aid”. The doctor being such a busy man was unable to fix any date when he could come. Unfortunately he had to be at Cullivoe on Monday, but fortunately for the Debating Society, he decided to deliver his lecture in the hall the same evening at 8 o’clock.

The night was anything but conducive to a good atten­dance; still an average number turned up. The doctor began by describing the blood, blood vessels, heart, etc., and pointed out their various functions. He then went on to the treatment of cuts, wounds, bruises, etc. Every point was clearly and forcibly stated, and where possible illustrated by black-board diagrams.

The lecture lasted for over two hours, but the time flew all too quickly. Although the doctor had a difficult task in front of him to turn his lecture into common language, so to speak, he mastered it exceedingly well, and presented the matter to his audience in such a manner, that even a man of only ordinary intelligence could not have failed to grasp the ideas and see the methods.


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