Times Past 09.10.09

25 Years Ago

Shetland mutton pies could become big business. The SIC proposes to spend £8,300 looking at the potential for making meat products in Shetland.

Monday’s meeting of the development committee recommended spending the money on a survey by the Meat and Livestock Commission. The idea originated from an approach from Flaws & Burgess, owners of the Boddam Slaughterhouse, asking the council for financial assistance to start making mutton pies.

Unsure of the demand for such a project the council’s research and development department recommended a survey. They argue: The development proposed by Flaws & Burgess is likely to be costly and adequate information is required; it will cover more than mutton pies and other firms and individuals may be interested in producing other meat products; it will reveal the scope for making meat products in Shetland which are normally imported.

It is hoped that the survey will pinpoint the potential Shetland market, provide plans for possible factory units, specify equipment needed, estimate the cost involved and produce recipes for products.

50 Years Ago

Shetland not only has a human depopulation problem – it now has a sheep depopulation problem to contend with as well. The North of Scotland College of Agriculture have noticed that over the past 10 years the number of sheep has gone down, despite the fact the crofters are trying to keep more sheep and that more land is going down to sheep grazing.

Ten years ago there were roughly 250,000 sheep at the peak period in the islands. This figure dropped to as low as 190,000 two or three years back, but the position has recovered a little lately to just above 200,000.

During the same year there has been a loss in tillage acreage which confirms the theory that more land is being used for sheep grazing. There has been a decline in the number of cattle too.

The college has decided that it might be possible to establish the cause by holding a series of conferences in Shetland commencing on 19th October at Hillswick, Baltasound, Mid Yell and Lerwick.

Discussion will be sought at each point and a final summing up will be given by Mr A. E Parkinson, college regional director at Aberdeen.

100 years ago

Lerwick Burgh Finances – It is generally admitted on all hands that the winter upon which we are now entering will be a most distressing time for the poorer class of the community. There are few seasons in the recent past that have yielded a smaller return to the workers than the season now closed. Local fishermen have done very little; and however anxious they may have been to add to their earnings, even at this eleventh hour, the weather has put a complete stop to their operations. Shore workers have also suffered through the shortage of catch and consequent lessened employment.

But it is not only in fishing that there has been a shrinkage of employment and reduction of earnings. The building and kindred trades have been in a languishing state for a considerable time, and may now be said to have reached the vanishing point. Under such conditions it might be expected that our public spending departments such as the School Board and Town Council would have been considering some wise schemes of economy – not forgetting efficiency, of course – so that at least for a time, the burdens which fall so heavily on the poor, and which can be but ill borne by most people at the present time, should have been as light as possible. In fact, the present is a time when the burdening of people by an extra penny is nothing short of a scandal; yet our public bodies go on calmly incurring expenses, which must be borne by the ratepayers, with the utmost unconcern for the welfare or comfort of the people.

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Lerwick PSA Brotherhood – It is less than two years since the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Brotherhood has inaugurated in Lerwick – the anniversary will be in next January – yet during that short time it has come to the front as one of the foremost and most successful movements in the town. It boasts a large and increasing membership. It fills a want felt by the young men of the town, and the meetings are always largely attended and very much appreciated. As a progressive force in town it is to be reckoned with.

A new session of the PSA was begun on Sunday afternoon last, when the first meeting was thrown open to both men and women. It was addressed by the Rev. Joseph Gleave, of Sandwick, his subject being “The formation of character.” Solos were rendered by Mr J. W. Irvine, whose piece was entitled “Far from my heavenly home”; by Mr A. Morgan, whose solo was Honour and arms; and by the Rev. Joseph Henderson, “Oh love, thou will not let me go.” These were heartily applauded by the audience.


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