Times Past

25 Years Ago

The issue of 26th April 1985 is not included in our archive binder for the year. If anyone has in their possession a copy of that week’s paper, or knows of the whereabouts of one, we would be delighted to hear from them.

50 Years Ago

Part of the area where the Shetland Bookshop used to stand in Commercial Street has been gifted by the National Commercial Bank of Scotland to the County Council, so that it can be incorporated into the highway. And Lerwick Town Council are being asked for their comments on a suggestion that the remainder of the building site might be used as a car park.

At Tuesday’s Roads Committee meeting a letter from Mr Peter Goodlad, solicitor, indicated that the Bank wished to gift part of the site, the 22 square yard area, to the front of the building.

Also before the committee was a letter from Mr A. D. Bennet, in which he stated it was obvious that a large piece of vacant ground was going to be left vacant as a result of the demolition.

He would like to suggest that the ground has been made available for parking cars, which at the moment were being parked outside the bank and not infrequently caused obstruction. The airways bus might be given a suitable stance there, because it would make things easier for everyone. The bus would run to the airport, this unloading mails and newspapers off the main street. At the moment this caused a slight block for traffic.

It would facilitate turning the bus on Commercial Street, and Mr Bennet felt that this use of space could mean an added amenity to the town.

The county surveyor reported that the area of ground left behind the building was 44 x 15 feet. One side would have to be left unobstructed as it led to a private garage. Some rock cutting would be necessary and some surface water drainage presented difficulties. He also pointed out that the bank held a title to the area. The Bank, as indicated, were prepared to transfer the area in front of the building line of their premises, which would give additional space for parking purposes.

The further area suggested for the airways bus would have to be cleared. As it would virtually be a private parking place it would probably require policing and it might be necessary to obtain the views of the Scottish Home Department.

100 Years ago

Foula – Mr L. J. Garriock’s motor boat Venture arrived here on Thursday morning, 7th instant, with Mr Downie, pension officer, Lerwick, on board. She sailed the same day with salt fish, Mr Downie returning with her.

Mr Peter Georgeson, Walls, also a good friend to Foula, came in by the mailboat, and stayed several days, selling off the goods in the shop, which is to be closed. Foula folk are somewhat sad over the event, which is one of no ordinary importance to them at any season, but chiefly in the light (or darkness) of the fierce, cold winter, which must be faced in the isle, when a boll of oatmeal, a few bottles of paraffin, and half a pound of tea, etc., in the home means much in a community of non-millionaires.

What will become o’ Foula men?

Ye aiblins micht, I dinna ken; Wives an’ lasses all deplore Foula’s closed shop door.

What shall we do without the shop?

Most of all when fails the crop – The shop is our earthly prop To Foula’s wants to minister.

The shop! the shop! ‘tis Foula’s hope That some kind soul will keep it ope’, Lest Foula folk be left to grope In winter dark and sinister.

Couples (elsewhere) have been known to pop The important question in the shop And gaily away to top To stand before the minister.

A little songster of the air Whispers in our ear, That Foula folk may fare Better than they fear.

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The Dundee Whaling Fleet – The Dundee Advertiser of Saturday last has the following reference to the departure of the whaling fleet: – Today inaugurates the departure of the Dundee whaling fleet to the arctic.

The first off-go is the Scotia. This ship, with an exploration and a whaling history, under the command of Captain Thomas Robertson, sailed for Old Greenland, that is to say, the whale fishery which is conducted to the east of the Greenland Peninsula, in the waters that intervene between it and Spitzbergen and Franz Joseph’s Land. On Monday the Diana, under the command of Captain Wm. Milne, sails for Davis Strait. On Tuesday the Morning (Capt. Wm. Adams) sets out on the same voyage. On Wednesday it is intended that the Balæna should proceed to “Old Greenland,” and about the same time, when arrangements have been completed, the smart schooner Leduisante (Captain Jas. Brown) for Frobisher Strait and the West Land.

On Tuesday forenoon the whaler Scotia arrived at Lerwick, where through her local agents, Messrs Leisk and Sandison, ten Shetlanders were shipped as part of the crew. It was expected that the vessel would sail on Wednesday, but she did not sail that day, and was only to start on her voyage this (Saturday) morning.


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