Times Past 22.05.09

25 Years Ago

A museum could be set up in Unst – eventually in an old house in Hamar, Baltasound. At a meeting on the island last week it was agreed to lease Mouat’s shop in Haroldswick as a temporary exhibition space until a permanent museum could be set up. The meeting was attended by islanders and representatives of the Shetland Islands Council.

The Museum should include displays on fine lace knitting, the herring industry, agriculture, minerals and quarrying and Shetland boats. There should also be a study area/meeting place, toilets and a tourist information office.

The proposals are to be submitted to the next meeting of the Amenity Trust so that it can give financial support.

50 Years Ago

Should the Diana Fountain at Lerwick’s pierhead – already shifted once from its original site so that it would not be a nuisance to traffic – be shifted again to make way for the erection of a plaque commemorating the opening of the new pier by HM the Queen on 10th August?

Lerwick Harbour Trust are thinking along these lines. Not all trustees agree, and neither do some members of Lerwick Town Council. But small committees from both bodies are to get together to consider the best way of dealing with the problem.

The matter arose at the Council meeting on Tuesday night, when a letter on the subject was read from the Harbour Trust. It pointed out a suggestion had been made that the fountain should be re-sited and incorporated elsewhere in the works. The observations of the Council were sought; similarly alternative suggestions.

Mr G H Burgess, Trust chairman, said the Trustees realised there was no building actually on the harbour works suitable for the erection of a bronze plaque of the type that should be used to commemorate the Queen’s visit. The proposal was to put it on a pedestal in a central position.

That came to be difficult if it was in the immediate vicinity of the Diana fountain, for which the Trust provided a site, although the memorial was the responsibility of the Town Council.

The Trust would be prepared to provide a site, within reason, that would be suitable to the Town Council. It had been suggested moving it across almost on the same line to the south side of Victoria Pier, near the Bressay slipway.

Alternatively it could be incorporated in some of the new walls further to the north. But the Trust were prepared to consider any proposal submitted by the Council.

Mr W K Conochie proposed appointing a committee consisting of the magistrates to meet the Harbour Trust and discuss the proposal.

Mr R A Anderson said the Council should express an opinion, so that the committee could go knowing what the councillors thought. Personally he would regret seeing the fountain moved from its present position.

In the first instance he did not see why they should shed the old to such an extent to take on the new. It seemed quite unnecessary. Surely somewhere in the new works a pedestal suitable for a memorial plaque could be incorporated.

The fountain had been familiar to Shetlanders, and it should not be set at the end of the works, but maintain its position in a central place. The commemoration plaque to Her Majesty could get a very prominent place in the new works at some point adjacent to the walls, as suggested for the fountain.

Mr Conochie said he did not intend the sub-committee should have powers to deal finally with this matter – they would report back to the Council.

Provost Blance said he hoped the Council would agree to clean up the fountain itself. It was nine years since the lettering was done.

Mr J A Daniel seconded the motion to appoint a committee. But Mr Burgess said that if the Council were opposed to any question of moving the fountain the necessity for a meeting did not arise. Mr Alex Morrison backed up Mr Anderson. He would not like to see the fountain moved. The works were big enough to accommodate a new plaque.

Mr Burgess reminded the councillors that the fountain was not in its original position. Previously it was in the middle of the Harbour Trust highway, and to facilitate traffic arrangements on the enlarged county highway the Trust agreed to erect it on its present site.

Bailie Ollason agreed that if Mr Anderson’s opinion was the opinion of the Council there was no need for a committee. But Mr Anderson had not made a motion. Let him do so and see how it was received.

Mr Anderson said it was senseless making a motion to the effect that the fountain should remain exactly where it was. The Council could express that as their opinion and desire, but if the Trust, as custodians and as the people who had to agree finally, found it was impossible then it was senseless for the Council to pass such a motion. The only motion he could make was that in the opinion of the Council the fountain should not be moved – but even then there would be reservations on that.

Mr Arthur Johnson felt as Mr Anderson did. Another removal would tend to suggest it had become an unwelcome guest.

Provost: I think we should agree to the committee meeting representatives of the Trust in the first place and discuss the whole question.

The Council did agree, and Mr Anderson was added to the members of the sub-committee.

100 Years Ago

About five years ago a young man named James Morrison, son of Simon Morrison, crofter, Laxfirth, Nesting, left Shetland and joined the sailing ship Milverton, at Leith, as an ordinary seaman.

After he reached America he seems to have thought he had had enough of the sailing ship, as he deserted her at New York. Subsequently, he joined a steamer trading on the American coast, and was cook onboard her for some time. Then he entered a New York restaurant as an assistant, and, shortly after opened a small shop on this own account.

Being steady and persevering, he succeeded in business, and sold out of the smaller shop to go into larger premises. Soon he found that he would require an assistant, and, in answer to an advertisement a young lady named Athelia Bost applied and got the appointment. Shortly afterwards, Morrison married the girl.

Not long after the marriage she became heiress to some money, from a distant relative. The amount is not known locally, but it was sufficient for her to suggest that he should give up business, and, as a matter of fact, he did sell the business, and proceeded to New Jersey, where they settled near her family.

Morrison, however, secured a situation in a rubber works, with good wages and steady employment, when quite recently Mrs Morrison received a letter from a legal firm stating that her uncle, a distinguished lawyer there, had died very suddenly while entering his office in New York. The letter ainstructed her to come to New York as her uncle had left her sole heir of all his property. The estate consists almost exclusively of house property; and is valued at £100,000.


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