Times Past 25.09.09

25 Years Ago

Scalloway Notes: Work has started on the redevelopment of the paddling pool as part of Scalloway’s face life scheme and already the old protective wall has been completely removed. The wall was built in the early part of this century to prevent the sea flooding the street. In those days there was just the old “T” pier between the street and the sea with a shingly beach on either side of the pier. The wall was carefully designed with a slope on the seaward side to lessen the impact of the sea waves and prevent the spray from driving across the street in southerly gales. It was only in the late 50s that the swimming pool was constructed on the east side of the pier and the paddling pool on the west side whereby the old sea wall became redundant.

It is unlikely that any more work will be undertaken along the shore at Scalloway since the fishing industry is now concentrated at Blacksness and future housing schemes and an industrial estate are planned at Blydoit. In many ways the Blacksness harbour scheme, with its vast area of reclaimed land, is more remarkable than any of the other developments although a generation will have to pass before it gets that aura of mystery that all old developments require.

50 Years Ago

Lerwick will soon have what it has lacked for a long time – a modern Entertainment Centre.

A new company is being formed by people who had the bright idea of buying the Rechabite Hall. Now they are looking for others with bright ideas for a new name.

A prize of £5 is offered to the person who submits the name finally chosen for the hall. In the event of two or more people submitting the same winning name the prize will be awarded to the individual whose entry was received first. Entries should be sent to the Secretary, Rechabite Hall, Mounthooly Street not later than the 10th October 1959.

100 Years Ago

The Suffragists Farthest North – Last week Shetland had its first official visit from a Suffragist. Rumour, indeed, at the time of Mr Wason’s annual address to the electors, said that they intended to resent his action in moving the rejection of their Bill, but Mr Wason came and went, and was not troubled. At length, however, one of them has found her way to the islands, and on Wednesday night at Scalloway and on Thursday at Lerwick, she expounded the principles which govern the movement.

Miss Chrystal McMillan, B.Sc., of Edinburgh, is certainly one of the leaders of the movement at the present day, and has probably more titles to fame than most of the other prominent members of it. As the Rev. A.J. Campbell, who acted as chairman of her meeting in Lerwick, pointed out, she was chosen to conduct the case for the Women University students at the bar of the House of Lords, and if she did lose her case – it must have been a forlorn hope at any time – she won distinction for herself, and her utterances must, therefore, command more respect than would be paid to the hysterical screams of the “shrieking sisterhood.” For one of the “shrieking sisterhood” Miss McMillan is not, and it is to be suspected that some of the most uncomfortable experiences she passes through are when she tries to “explain” their actions.

In person Miss McMillan is tall and well-built, with a full face, and light-coloured hair. She seems ridiculously young to have risen so high in council, were it not that she strikes the beholder with a certain sense of power, hidden behind a trifling awkwardness of manner. She has all the more popular “tricks of the trade,” from chalking announcements of meetings on the street pavements to selling pamphlets and brooches in the hall. Nothing, however small, is to be neglected that will help the cause. Somehow such tinsel embroidery comes to be associated with certain causes. It may help at the time when people are excited and enthusiastic, but it does seem rather ridiculous to imagine that selling penny brooches or pamphlets can help a movement of this kind forward. Nevertheless the brooches and pamphlets found many purchasers, and quite a little business was done before the meeting commenced. Miss McMillan is singularly free from mannerisms. She has the habit of the practised speaker of standing in one place, and she makes very little use of gesture. An inflection of the voice is almost the only thing. Occasionally a distant look came into the eyes, at which time the voice took on more stress, but this mannerism was practically the only one. The address itself was spoiled by the evident straining after simplicity and clearness. Miss McMillan is evidently one of the class of speakers, who while they have all the necessary knowledge, tact, and enthusiasm, distrust themselves, and are afraid to let themselves go. In a speaker of less experience it would be put down to nervousness, but in Miss McMillan’s case it must be habit. Such speakers prefer the form and sequence to the actual words; but mere orderliness cannot hold an audience in the way that the introduction of the speaker’s personality and imagination into the words would do. But a cool, clear logic speech such as this, is something strange and welcome in the Suffragist cause.


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