Times Past

25 Years Ago

“Shetland – opportunities for practical, youngish persons with some capital and lots of initiative to become part of island community.”

If readers of The Observer, Scotsman, Exchange & Mart or Home Farm have seen this advert recently and wondered what it’s all about, all can now be revealed.

The advert was drawn up by Fetlar Community Council and is the first of several positive moves being made by the community to try and solve the problem of depopulation, which is beginning to become critical to the future of the island.

For many years Fetlar, which is dependent on agriculture and has no fishing industry, has had a decline in population. The official figure in December 1983 was 94, but since then people have moved away and others have died. Now there are only 64 adults and 17 young people.

Clerk to the Community Council, Mrs Laura Baisley, explained that they are now looking for people to move to the island. The reason that “some capital” is mentioned in the advert is not so much in the fact that money is necessary, but it implies a level of commitment to a particular project.

Although all the adverts have not yet appeared there has already been a response from over a dozen people. Out of these there were two which seemed promising, one from a man who wanted to start making carbon fibre fishing rods and another from a potter who has Shetland connections and is thinking of moving back to the islands.

50 Years Ago

Many Shetlanders have welcomed the announcement by the Postmaster-General that he has, in principle, approved the second stage of the BBC’s plans for extending and improving the coverage of the TV and VHF service by building additional low-power satellite stations in various parts of the country – Shetland included.

There is no indication when the Shetland station might be provided as the programme will cover the period until March 1964. Local people have expressed the hope that there will be some degree of priority given to Shetland this time.

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Scalloway Notes – Scalloway’s first jukebox was installed in Smith’s tearoom last week.

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Top Five

1. He’ll have to Stay by Jeannie Black at 6/4
2. Cradle of Love by Johnny Preston 6/4
3. Football Crazy by Joe Gordon Folk Four at 6/-
4. Heart of a Teenage Girl by Craig Douglas at 6/4
5. Handy Man by Jimmy Jones at 6/-

100 Years Ago

Lerwick Children’s Court – In the Lerwick Children’s Court on Saturday, four small boys, of ages varying from 10 to 13, were before Provost Porteous on a charge of stealing money from the session room of the Lerwick Parish Church, on several dates between 27th March and 8th May. The boys, some of whom were accompanied by their fathers, pled guilty.

Addressing the bench, the Burgh Procurator (Mr Emslie), said the boys were in the way of going to a class in the parish church on Sundays. This money had been left in a paper bag in a press in the session room, and these boys and others in the class kept the hymnbooks in this press. They had got the key in order to put the hymnbooks away, and saw the money lying there, and had taken the money out of the bag from time to time, with the result that it was always getting less. There was nothing he knew of against their characters, and their parents had paid back all the money.

The boys were asked to give their statements, but they declined. One of the parents said it was a thing they felt terribly about. When they sent the boys to Sunday School they did not expect them to go into harm, and there must have been temptation in the way. His boy was a good boy at home.

Addressing the boys, the Provost said this was a rather serious matter, because they were sent to the Sunday School with the object of getting good, and it did not seem to have had very much effect upon them, and what made the matter worse was that it was not giving way to a single temptation, but they came again and again and repeated the offence. They saw how their parents felt about it, and how much they were annoyed, and had had to pay up for their depredations. The only excuse that he could think was, he thought the church authorities had been very careless in placing temptation of that kind in their way. The money should have been put in some lockfast place, where they had no access to it. It was difficult to know how to deal with them, and if the sentence he would impose was a lenient one, he hoped they would not run away with the idea that the offence had been trifling. He would put them all on probation for six months. That was to say, they were to come up here in six months, and if their conduct had not been good during that time, then they might be punished. He hoped they would try and be good boys in future.

Three more small boys, of the ages of 11, 12 and 13 respectively, were charged with writing indecent words on the newly-whitened walls of a public convenience. They pled guilty, and two of them, the oldest and the youngest, were described by the Burgh-Procurator as being not well-behaved boys. These two were put on probation for six months, and the other was given the benefit of the First Offenders Act. Another boy of eleven was brought up also charged with writing on the walls of the same place, but it was stated in his case that the words were not obscene. He also pled guilty, and the Burgh-Prosecutor informed the bench that this was the boy’s second appearance, he having been up some little time before on a charge of throwing stones. He was dismissed with an admonition.


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