Times Past

25 Years Ago

A value of nearly £50 million was put on Shetland Island’s Council’s charitable trust at last Thursday’s meeting of trustees. Trust investments are managed by merchant bankers, Rothschilds, and representatives attended the meeting to report on the performance of the investments.

Since the last report the market value of the trust had gone up by £13 million to £46 million said Mr David Costelloe, deputy director of finance. He reported the current book value of the trust was £36 million.

Managing the investments of the trust was a challenge, said the Rothschild representative. He reported that the trust’s rate of income was healthy with £3,230,000 in the year up to the end of September. The trust’s application for shares in British Telecom had been successful, he commented.

Also at the meeting was a representative of W. M. Computer Services who said his company would be monitoring Rothschilds’ work and reporting regularly to the councillors. He said he would be comparing the trust’s results with those of other funds and reported that the trust was doing well against the market at present.

50 Years Ago

A County councillor, Mr J. L. Matches, left the council chamber on Tuesday during a heated discussion, at protest against the lack of fair play during the final debate on the Whalsay harbour. He and Rev. H.A.S Brydone were pressing for more financial facts and an assurance that a harbour at South Voe would be satisfactory. Mr A. D. Bennet said this was sheer obstructionism and refused to withdraw his remarks.

Despite this, however, the council finally decided, by fourteen votes to two, that the provisional order for the harbour to be built at Symbister should be promoted Lt-Col. M. Shearer thought that for technical reasons, he should leave the meeting before discussion began.

The convener, Mr P. Smith, said that everyone knew the history of the matter. The point was whether the council should confirm the action taken by the Scottish Office in promoting this provisional order.

Sit Basil Neven-Spence said that he was going to move that they now proceed to promote a provisional order for the construction of a harbour in Symbister Voe. What they were discussing was a harbour and not an anchorage. Had the choices been between the two voes as an anchorage only, Sir Basil would have favoured North voe with an additional arm coming out from the east side of the voe and overlapping. But an anchorage in either voe was out of the question because of the expense.

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The fifty islanders on Foula received their Christmas supplies this week, after being cut off from the outside world for 48 days – thanks to what has been described as “a great bit of seamanship” by Skipper J. Fullerton, of the fishing boat Golden Harvest.

The weather on Tuesday was still not calm enough to let the Island Lass make the double trip to the mainland, and skipper Fullerton volunteered to take five tons of goods and mail across to the island.

Supplies of many commodities had been exhausted, or were running very low.

Among the six passengers were three schoolchildren, to spend their holidays in the island.

Ironically, Foula’s outgoing Christmas mail – six bags – is still on the island. The crew of the fishing boat had barely got their cargo unloaded when a squall blew up, and the mooring ropes broke, so they had to make a quick getaway without waiting for the outgoing mail.

An eyewitness paid tribute to the great skill with which Skipper Fullerton handled his boat at Foula pier. At one time it looked as if they would not manage to get alongside, but they eventually did.

On Wednesday Chief Constable Bruce received the following telegram from Mr Alistair Holbourn: “Many thanks to all concerned, from the people of Foula.”

100 years ago

The Christmas Season – With the advent of the Christmas season, trade in Lerwick, which the poor fishing season had left in a dull state, has begun to brighten up, and shopkeepers are hoping that the returns will be as good as in former years. The shop windows have taken on the festive appearance that is universally looked for at this time of the year, being decorated with holly and flowers, and displaying in great quantities all manner of pretty and useful articles for gifts. In fact, Commercial Street is transformed at present, and with the snow lying the other day, had all the appearance that is associated with “a right merry Christmas season,” but which is too seldom seen in these days when even the weather seems to have degenerated. The leading drapers in town are displaying pretty exhibitions of toys and other Christmas goods and every shop and shop window is replete with bright and attractive articles. Despite the snow on the ground, a large number of visitors from the country have come to town, and a general “Christmassy” feeling pervades, which even recent bad trade and weather, and the excitements of a political contest, cannot overcome. Guizers are merrily making preparations for Christmas Eve frolics, and though the public functions announced are few, there is plenty of life and fun in the town.


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