Times Past

25 Years Ago

Fears that British Airways may pull out of Sumburgh Airport if “cowboy” operators are allowed to move in and cream off BA’s prof­itable routes have been expressed at Dunrossness Community Council.

The concern is a result of govern­ment plans to end the licensing system for all internal air routes through Gatwick and Heathrow. Airlines would not then have to apply for a licence if they wanted to start a new service.

The SIC is to ask for Shetland to remain within the licensing system at a Civil Aviation Authority hearing in London on 28th May. Shetland was to be excluded as a “lifeline” route but at short notice it was announced that Shetland, along with Orkney and the Western Isles, was not to be exempted.

Mr Bob Hepburn, the SIC trans­port officer, attended the meeting of Dunrossness Community Council to explain the position. He said that the CAA would only accept represen­tation from the SIC at the hearing but the Community Council and other bodies could submit written support.

Chairman of Sumburgh Airport Consultative Committee, Mr Jim Burgess, warned that “if one or two airlines are allowed in British Airways will be out in six months”. He said “cowboy operators” would only want to operate on the profit-making Sumburgh to Aberdeen route and steer clear of the Sumburgh to Kirkwall service which BA provides on the back of the Aberdeen service.

Community council members reflected these fears and decided to write to CAA asking that new air services in Shetland should continue to be licensed. Then local groups can protest if they think the new service will not be beneficial to the islands.

50 Years Ago

A committee has been formed in Lerwick to try and provide club facilities for local boys who do not participate in normal organised youth activities and on Monday night the Shetland Education Com­mittee sympathetically considered a letter from the committee asking if they could secure premises.

The letter was written by Father J Ridland Whittaker, secretary to the committee, who said they wondered if it was possible to secure the Sea­men’s Mission. They wondered if the committee could, if possible, give an annual grant towards its running so that boys could be kept off the streets.

Mr Whittaker said there was an urgent need for such a club to cater for boys who did not join in the more organised groups. Such boys had no meeting place and sometimes got into trouble. The club would be run by the boys themselves under suitable leadership.

Mr R Strachan said he took exception to some of the sentences in the letter. As a member of Isles­burgh House he thought many of the statements were false – they already provided facilities for the youth of Lerwick, were these gentlemen aware of these facilities?

Mr A I Tulloch thought Mr Strachan had misunderstood. As he understood it this club would be for a different type of boy – one who did not go in for organised entertain­ment.

Mr Strachan: “There is no segre­gation of classes or types of indi­vidual at Islesburgh House. It is open to all types of youths.”

Mr R A Anderson thought it would do more harm than good to delve deeply into these differences. Certain facilities were available in Lerwick, but despite that it was known that there were certain youths who did not go there.

In these circumstances it was perfectly legitimate for these gentle­men, or any others interested, to ask if there was an avenue whereby they could provide something of a service to those lads who, for one reason or another, did not conform to the pattern which would bring them within the scope of Islesburgh.

The real difficulty was whether or not it was possible for the Education Committee to accept the additional commitment of purchasing another building. They had purchased Isles­burgh and since then had to subsidise it at fairly frequent intervals.

Perhaps the committee should meet with the sponsors to see if they had any funds in mind other than from the Education Committee.

It was agreed to appoint a small committee to meet with the Boys Club Committee to explore the possibilities.

100 Years Ago

Extending the Burgh Boundaries – There are few small communities that do not have their own particular fads. Lerwick suffers from three, and they seem to come round in cycles, causing no small amount of talk, and sometimes a display of temper; and yet after all the discus­sion engaged in, each of the subjects generally goes to sleep, and men wonder what all the bother has been about; until, indeed, someone again raises the question, and then we have it all over again with a similar result.

Lerwick suffers from three special crazes – lighting of the town by electricity, the municipalising of the gas supply, and the extension of the burgh boundary. Each takes its turn, and it seems that at the present moment the burgh boundary is the question of first importance. As we have said, this is no new question, nor is it at all likely that any new light will be shed upon it. But it would ill become us to belittle any effort that was seriously taken in hand for the good of the community. On the other hand, considering the long period of adversity through which Lerwick has been passing, and is still entangled, it would be wise to consider carefully any step that was likely to add to the burdens of the ratepayers. This is not a time when men, who are elected to office for guidance, can go on and light-heartedly increase the load that has to be borne by the already heavily rated taxpayers of the burgh of Lerwick.

Leaving all these considerations out of view, we cannot, by any stretch of imagination, conceive why this matter of the extension of the burgh boundaries should be brought up at this particular time. It is not so long ago since this matter was a great deal more urgent than it is to-day. That remark is not a matter of opinion, but an absolute statement of fact.

In another column, in to-day’s issue, we publish the annual report of Dr Yule, the Medical Officer of Health for the County: and there is much contained therein that should prove beneficial to all classes of readers.

Dr Yule is not the kind of man who writes haphazard. What he says he means, and has ample evid­ence in his possession to substantiate his assertions to the most sceptical. His language is guarded but of such a nature “that he who runs may read.” In his report he refers to the district immediately outside the present Lerwick Burgh boundary. And no one need be startled at the reading. Perfection has not been reached in the district; but very natural improvements have been carried out, and there seems less to fear from lack of sanitation than there was a very short time ago. If the County Council allowed a crop of unhealthy, insanitary dwellings to grow up on the borders of the burgh, they have been doing something in recent years to mitigate that evil. And Dr Yule gives the Council full credit for what they have done. In these circumstances, it seems strange that the question of extending the burgh boundary should have been sprung on the community at this moment.


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