Times Past

25 Years Ago

Shetland has continued to enjoy relatively mild, dry and calm weather this week while the rest of Britain, according to press reports, is slowly grinding to a halt under snow and freezing conditions.

On Tuesday Shetland was the warmest place in Britain with 5ºC (41ºF) while Brighton was the coldest with -4ºC (25ºF). The islands were also among the warmest places in the country on several other days over the past week.

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A ban on the shooting of wildfowl has been brought into effect today. The ban was issued by the Secretary of State under Section 26 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act because of recent cold weather in the south.

All wildfowl, including ducks, geese and some wading birds covered by the Act – some 20 to 25 species – will be protected until the ban runs out at the end of the month.

Birds which could normally be shot at this time of year are now protected because the weather in the rest of the country has put them under pressure. If the cold spell continues the ban could be extended. The last time such a ban was introduced was in 1982.

50 Years Ago

A Sunday air service to the islands may become a reality in the future. This was evident from the tone of an after-lunch talk given to members of Shetland Chamber of Commerce by Mr Robert McKean, B.E.A.’s Scottish manager, on Tuesday, when he was assured local people would not have the same objections as those in the Western Isles had towards such a service.

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So far 38 squads (three more than last year) have been entered for the Lerwick Up-Helly-A’, representing nearly six hundred guizers.

There was a very poor attendance of guizers at a mass meeting in the Planets Ballroom on Tuesday night, when the Guizer Jarl, Mr William L. Tait, announced that the route and burning site would be exactly the same as last year – in the area of the playing fields, with the turning movement in King Harald Street.

Halls open will be the same as last year – eleven in number. They are Sound, Marts, Institute Gym, Queen’s Hotel, Masonic, Planets, Grand, T.A., Town Hall, Islesburgh, Central School.

100 Years Ago

Roller Skating Football Match – A new attraction was offered at the Skating Rink on Wednesday evening, when a five-a-side football match was arranged to come off at half-past nine. By the time for the “kick off” a large number of spectators was present, who greatly enjoyed the novelty. The game consisted of a species of half-Rugby and half-Association game, and was played with vigour. It resulted in a win for the South team by three goals to nil. It will be observed from the advertisement in another column that the management have made an alteration in the hours of the evening sessions, which now, with the exception of Wednesdays and Saturdays, will extend from seven o’clock till ten, thus allowing skaters an additional hour on the rink. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the old arrangement will be adhered to, the idea being to have a session beginning at nine o’clock for the benefit of shopkeepers. As evidence of the popularity of the rink, it may be mentioned that since its opening a month ago, over 1600 visits have been paid to it.

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The Guizers Sir, – Will you allow me a little space to say how delighted I was with the guizing on Xmas and New Year mornings, and how nice it was to learn from the various squads who made a call that so many houses were kept open on these mornings to receive the visits of the guizers. Personally, I like these seasons in which to receive a visit from friends; and since this foolish plan of holding “Uphelly A’” on a Tuesday with the following day as a holiday has been adopted, I have had to “close” a house for “Uphelly A’” which I formerly took a pleasure in keeping open. Now the indications are that householders would prefer Xmas morning and New Year’s morning for the guizers to pay their visits, and why not for another year drop “Uphelly A’” altogether, and have the torchlight procession say, on New Year’s morning? If houses will keep open on these occasions, and will not keep open on “Uphelly A’” then the guizers have their answer, and the coming festival will give a good indication as to what the householders want. The recently-adopted whole holiday following the festival is in my opinion a prime factor in helping to make “Uphelly A’” unpopular amongst householders, even despite the fact that it was reported at the Town Council meeting that over sixty merchants had signed the petition for a holiday. But I would ask my friends, the guizing committee, to take special note at “Uphelly A’” as to how many merchants kept “open” house for their entertainment.

I write in no carping spirit, but rather to suggest that “Uphelly A’” being on the wane through houses refusing to “open,” why not change the festivities to Xmas and New Year? The suggestion is worth consideration, I think – Yours, etc. G.H.

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Children’s Hot Dinners Sir, – I was glad to notice that Mr Miller, of Sandwick, is thinking of supplying hot dinners to his pupils. Fifty of my scholars each day get a large bowl of soup for one farthing each. The scheme has been very beneficial in every way. The children attend better; they are healthier, and, therefore, make greater progress in their studies. The School Board takes nothing to do with the soup kitchen. We have a concert every winter, the proceeds of which, and a donation or two, pay all the expenses.

Hoping that the movement will spread all over dear old Shetland. – I am, etc. John Lee (formerly of Whalsay).


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