A small piece of town history meets its end in the shape of digger

Click on image to enlarge.

Built in the early 20th century, it has had various incarnations and one flit in its century-long existence. But this week the hut located opposite the Bressay ferry terminal finally met its maker in the form of an ultra-efficient JCB.

However, there is a twist in the tale, and, yes, it does involve the poor old planning department. While permission had been granted for its demolition on Monday, conservation consent was not, meaning an inevitable inquiry will have to be undertaken.

SIC planner John Holden said: “It’s news to us as planners that there was intentions in the short term to demolish it. It has received a building warrant for demolition, as it has been proposed for use as an open area, but conservation consent should have been in place.”

He said planning would be taking the issue up with Lerwick Port Authority, which owns the site.

The authority’s chief executive Sandra Laurenson said the hut was removed simply because it was in a bad state of disrepair.

Ms Laurenson said: “It was absolutely done. We couldn’t even paint it as the brush was going through the sheeting and the foundations were also not very strong, so the safest and most sensible thing to do was to take it down.”

The hut, affectionately known as Lizzie’s Lodestar, was built in 1905, and throughout its lifetime has been a workshop, police hut and, perhaps most memorably, a cafe.

It was made of three parts, the oldest of which was originally situated at what is now Harbour House. It was built by the Lerwick Town Council as an office for police and sanitary departments.

However it was soon moved due to that site being required for new harbour offices to a new location further along the Esplanade, where it remained until Monday.

After the move it became the site for Messrs Malcomson & Co as a cafe, which it remained until 1994, although under different tenants. It was in 1953 when Elizabeth Wilson became the occupier that the name Lizzie’s Lodestar Cafe came into existence.

Most recently it was used by Bill MacGregor, who ran the Computer Clinic repair shop from the hut.

While the shack was looking the worse for wear, it has come as a shock to some that it has been demolished.

Brian Priest ran electrical repair shop Last Ditchology from the hut from 1995 until he moved the business to its present location at the Lerwick Scrapstore at Gremista 10 years later.

He said he was sad to see the old building go: “It should have been listed, it shouldn’t have been torn down. It was a great tourist attraction, I’d often get folk coming along and taking photos of it.”


Add Your Comment
  • Bruce Smith

    • June 11th, 2010 12:49

    Ah the memories that building could tell a tale or two, the cafe was the best place for an early morning hangover cure of bacon and egg buttie with Lucozade. Nothing compared or worked as well, just what the doc ordered after one too many in Maryfield the night before. Another icon bites the dust.

  • mrs.C. Donald

    • June 12th, 2010 17:53

    I wish someone would slap a building order of demolition on an old brick butchers shop which is a wreck along with usual adjacent car wreck situated at a junction leading to Park Wynd and new housing. The building also creates a blind spot on two approaching roads and is visually not a great welcome to the area. Officially nobody seems to care until it falls and someone gets hurt. Residents would appreciate the owner of property found.

    Old buildings are good memories but regulations don’t keep unattended wrecks.

    C. Donald


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