16th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Times Past

, by , in Features

25 Years Ago

Mouthpiece – hello again and welcome to Shetland’s International Youth Year column.

Anyone who read last month’s Mouthpiece may have noted that the career’s officer came in for certain criticism concerning YTS schemes in Shetland. I should now state that whilst the careers officer is not responsible for the conditions on the scheme themselves, it seems that the obvious opinion of the majority of trainees in Shetland is that these schemes are unsatisfactory.

Consider, if you will, the plight of a 16-year-old school leaver in 1985. Faced with a jobs market that is tougher and more competitive than ever before, and with absolutely no chance of receiving any benefit until September, this year’s YTS will become practically the sole option for many school leavers for earning money and gaining work experience.

At the moment Shetland has one of the highest proportions of YTS trainees in the British Isles and, if opinions expressed in the last Mouthpiece are anything to go by, quite a bit of thought and work is required by the people who run the schemes before they come up to scratch.

Finally, has anyone tried to apply to Shetland Arts Trust for a grant recently? Whilst making enquiries as to how a grant can be gained from the trust in order to aid an IYY project, I was informed that although the trust was set up in January, no-one has yet gotten round to setting down the motions of how grants can be obtained, therefore no money can be given. Apparently even trustees have little idea what is happening with the trust or when money can be made available. The message to those concerned is this: please get your acts together, for everyone’s sake. The money is needed and needed now.

50 Years Ago

With Shetland’s whalers home again comes bad news from Messrs Chr. Salvesen – they are to cut down their expeditions next year by one third, which will probably mean that some of the Shetland whalers will be unable to find a berth.

The Salvesen announcement this week stated: – in view of the fall in stocks of whales and the prospect of acceleration in the rate of decline, we have decided for the coming Antarctic whaling season to reduce the number of our expeditions from three to two. In consequence, Southern Venturer expedition will not operate next season.

It is with the greatest reluctance that we have come to this decision in view particularly of the effect upon our crews.

It will, however, increase the competitive powers within the industry of our two remaining expeditions and reduce to some degree the taxation of the stock of whales if others act similarly the effect upon the prolongation of the life of the industry might be significant.

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It has been announced that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will pay a three day visit to Orkney and Shetland in August.

The Royal Party, which may include the children, will sail from Cardiff on the Britannia arriving in Shetland waters on 10th August.

At the moment no details are available of what the Royal tour will comprise in Shetland.

100 Years Ago

Lerwick Harbour Extension – From a report of the Lerwick Harbour Trust meeting held on Tuesday, it is seen that the Trustees have decided to embark upon a fresh scheme of harbour extension, at a cost approximately of £18,000. The matter was not discussed on Tuesday, but it had been thoroughly considered beforehand in a series of committee meetings of the whole Trust, and the recommendations of the committee were unanimously adopted by the Trustees present on that day.

The question of the extension has occupied the Trustees’ attention for over two years now, and the public are doubtless familiar with the general question, since the various discussions that took place have been published in these columns from time to time. It is only needful to recapitulate that there was a proposal upon which the Trust took action: namely, to run out a breakwater from Craigie Stane, turning in the direction of Victoria Pier. The cost, together with a number of smaller details, was estimated at about £40,000. The Trust approached the Government for a grant on account of the work, and only recently a reply was received that the Treasury could not give a grant for the scheme as it was considered too large for the requirements of Lerwick. The larger scheme, as it has been called, was beyond the Trust’s finances, and its adoption depended upon a grant being obtained. It was therefore dropped. With regard to the scheme which is now to be gone on with, the Trustees, having considered their financial position, have declared their opinion that it is quite possible to meet the interest on the capital expenditure necessitated by this scheme out of the ordinary income, and they therefore hold themselves justified in applying for borrowing powers for £25,000. Their present borrowing powers are slightly exceeded, which probably accounts for liberty to raise £25,000 being asked, or £7000 in excess of the estimated cost of the works.

Under the scheme which has now been adopted, Victoria Pier is to be extended by another 100 feet, making it 375 feet long in all. This is estimated to cost £5,230. Then a breakwater, 25 feet broad, is to be run out from Hay’s Pier, at right angles to the South Esplanade. About midway it will be turned so as to run in a more northerly direction, until it is in a line with the end of the addition to Victoria Pier. It will then turn inwards at an acute angle, and will be continued another hundred feet, so as to be right opposite and nearly parallel to the extension to the pier. Between this end of the breakwater and the new piece of Victoria Pier, will be left an entrance both to the pier and the harbour, varying in width from 100 feet at the mouth to 80 feet at the inner end. The breakwater is estimated to cost £10,000. A minor matter is the filling up of the present slipway at the south side of Victoria Pier, with the extension of the Albert Wharf to the pier, and the provision of a new slipway, which is calculated to leave more room on the pier. The estimated cost of this is £2150. Thus the total cost of the extension of the works, as estimated, is £17,400.