Times Past 18.09.09

25 Years Ago

Sumburgh Airport was put on the market by the government this week with six other airports in the Highlands and Islands, which are currently operated by Civil Aviation Authority.

The others are Benbecula, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Tiree and Wick. Stornoway is not included as it is operated by CAA on lease from the Ministry of Defence and whatever Sumburgh’s future, air traffic services there will continue to be operated by National Air Traffic Services.

Sumburgh is being advertised with freehold of 270 acres, two main runways and a helicopter runway. Traffic income last year was £2.6 million with £22,469 from lettings and £54,160 from concessions. Rates payable are £680,000.

The airports are being offered for sale either singly or as a group. The prospect of a new owner for Sumburgh Airport is worrying for the Sumburgh Airport Consultative Committee. At last week’s meeting members were concerned that a new owner may not have the interests of Shetland at heart.

After a long discussion on the prospects of privatisation the committee decided to enlist the help of Shetland Islands Council. The committee accepted a motion from Captain Gordon Mitchell of Bristow Helicopters that Shetland should be asked to monitor the privatisation exercise closely to ensure that the result is not detrimental to Shetland.

50 Years Ago

At least one, but probably three Spanish galleons were wrecked at the time of the Armada in Shetland and fowls from them flew ashore and bred with the local poultry. They were probably Araucana or South American Gamecock (which seems to be a strong strain).

In conjunction with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, I am to conduct an experiment in endeavouring to breed back this strain from Shetland fowls which continue to lay blue eggs.

The strain in Shetland is being bred out because of the difficulty in marketing blue eggs and the last of these hens are being discarded.

I appeal for fertile blue or green eggs, or even hens laying them, to try and breed back and establish a breed something like the Araucana.

I should be grateful if anyone would be prepared to co-operate.

John Hay of Hayfield.

100 Years Ago

County Valuation Appeal Court – The first appeal was made by Dr Bowie, M.B.C.M., Park Hall, Bixter, against the valuation of his house, which was entered at £14 10s. He asserted that it should be £7 10s.

Dr Bowie was represented by Mr J S Tulloch, solicitor, Lerwick, who said that he had only been instructed to appear a few minutes before. The house was one of nine rooms, a kitchen and three closets. One half of it was let by Dr Bowie to his father for a rent of £7 10s, and he considered that the valuation put upon the house by Mr Brown, the Assessor, was excessive. There was not any difference between the one half and the other, and Dr Bowie considered that £15 would be a fair valuation of the whole house; that was double what his father paid. Unfortunately, Mr Tulloch added, he was not able to compare this house with others of the same class, as he had not had time.

The Assessor said that Dr Bowie had returned himself and his father as joint-tenants. He (the Assessor) could not understand how a man could be his own tenant. Dr Bowie had not informed him that half of the house was let for £7 10s. The first indication he had received to that effect was from Mr Thomas R. Bowie, his father, after the notice had been sent out. He might explain to the Court that Dr Bowie had refused to give him any information or assistance whatever in coming to this decision. An Assessor was not under any obligation to accept any value that was sent to him. He had written and asked Dr Bowie if he would please state the number of rooms in his house and the size of each. In his description Dr Bowie simply called it a house. As they were all aware, this was a Doctor’s establishment, which presumably contained a surgery in addition. That it was of some considerable value might be thought by the name he was pleased to give it. He called it a Hall. (Laughter). There was everything in a name. Mr Brown then produced photos of the house, and said that reference had been made to the matter of comparisons. It was on account of its size that he came to the conclusion that it was of this value.

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Football – At present there is a good deal of feeling among the younger men in Lerwick about the opening, or rather the non-opening of the Gilbertson Park for football. When the park was presented to the town, was it not understood that the seasons here were to be the same as those in the south? The football season has now started (from Aug. 16), and still no football is allowed in the park. There are at present a few who play cricket there, but I think that most of these would rather play football, and at any rate, football gives a chance of amusement to a greater number than cricket. Could not the park be opened for football, and offer a chance of something to do for those who, at present, employ their Saturdays and most of their spare time in wandering about looking for something to do?


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