Times Past

25 Years Ago

A new mast recently installed on Bressay should provide stereo radio in the autumn. It will also improve VHF radio reception on portable and car radios.

The old mast at Bressay, which is 22 years old, is to continue relaying television. VHF radio transmission will be taken over by the new mast. The new mast will come into service in the autumn when it is hoped that stereo radio will be available.

The stereo service will rely on the new mast in Orkney and it is not certain that the Orkney mast will be ready by the time the Bressay one is switched on.

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Re-opening, 1st July
New Owner: Brenda Hunter
Open Monday-Saturday 8am to 5pm
Sundays 11am to 4pm

50 Years Ago

Shetland Charivari: HOPE – “What’s wrong with our football?” was the triumphant question on a banner displayed by the victorious juniors as they came down the gangway on Saturday night. Nothing, boys, nothing at all! And if there’s nothing wrong with hockey that may be put right soon – an Orkney girl is coming here as a P.E. Teacher.

SABBATH – the inter-county results show that there is no likelihood of our teenagers becoming “dead-end” kids – even if one Education Committee member thinks they should spend Sunday visiting the cemetery.

ENTERTAINMENTS – Yell had two entertainments last week – the arrival by helicopter of a top-brass survey team and the showing on the local cinema circuit of “Operation Bullshine”.

BLACK BIRD – A Scalloway Tory tells us that a talking blackbird has been frequently seen in her garden and it does not say “who’s a pretty boy” – according to her it keeps repeating “Poor old Jo”. Sue has encouraged it to go into the garden of her liberal neighbours to carry the message.

ROCKY ROAD – Fetlar is going the wrong way about this road repairing business, it’s no use sending sharp letter or sharp stones to the county clerk. Now that there are no other vehicles on the island road an effort should be made to supplant Bressay as a centre for exiles wishing to pass their driving tests.

100 Years Ago

Lerwick’s Laughable Circus By William Le Kew The preliminary announcement appeared suddenly one morning on the new bill-posting station on Commercial Road. It was in the form of a huge bill, resplendent with big type and multi-coloured inks, and it attracted instant attention, besides raising the most intense curiosity in all the townspeople. Not the least inkling that such a performance was to take place had been divulged, even through the “Shetland Times,” and speculation was rife as to its object. The circus duly appeared and was a most humorous production, but even yet by the general public its aim has still to be guessed at. Unless, indeed, it was purely meant as a circus.

During the day on which it appeared, huge crowds of men and women, as well as an organ-grinder and his monkey and a few trawlers’-men, gathered to read the bill, which was couched somewhat in the following terms:– “LERWICK’S LUDICROUS CIRCUS Absolutely the Funniest Show on Earth.

It will Banish dull care; It will make you laugh; It will make you Sore with laughing.

Come and See. Come and See. Come and See.

The Talented Local Amateurs Give their Screechingly Funny Turns.

You Can’t Afford to Miss This.

See them in their Exquisitely Laughable Production.”

Upon such a pressing invitation as this, needless to say, the Lerwigians turned out in their thousands, all agog with curiosity as to who the “Talented Local Amateurs” could be. By the time the curtain was raised, the audience was in a state of intense excitement, and a little inclined to be boisterous.

They passed the time in shouting jokes at one another, and counting the number of peppermints a small body of Dutchmen in the centre of the area could eat in the smallest possible time. The winning Dutchman, who disposed of 117 in 14 minutes, was presented with a yellow porcelain dog that shut its eyes and squealed “maw,” when laid on its back.

The opening piece was one of the most laughable that has been seen in Lerwick for a very considerable time. It was named “The Great Funny Tight-Rope Walking,” by Seignors Grave and Gay and others. I am informed that the inclusion of this comical turn came near to causing the production of the circus to fall through, since so very large numbers wished to take part in it. Finally, it was confined to members of the Harbour Trust. A tight-rope was stretched from one side of the stage to the other, and beneath it, one on either side, were two enormous tanks. One of these was filled with ink, to represent the fish trade, and the other contained mud, representing Lerwick harbour in the summer time. The game was to walk across the rope without falling into either tank. Appropriately attired in bathing costumes the members made the attempt. Some few managed safely to reach the winning platform, or “Common Good,” as it was called, but others gave the audience much more sport.


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