Times Past

25 Years Ago

Weekend discos and dances in rural halls providing entertainment for young people have been hit by withdrawal of buses from Lerwick.

Drivers have refused to operate coaches to discos after a driver was punched. The drivers have said that only in special circumstances will they consider providing runs to and from discos outside Lerwick. The ban has already meant the cancellation of the International Youth Year beach party this weekend.

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Whalsay is to get a new school. Faced with the choice of extending the present junior high school in Symbister or building a new one, the SIC education committee has taken heed of cost and pressure within the island and come down in favour of a brand new school, which will also serve as a recreation centre for the island.

There was no opposition to Mr Henry Stewart’s motion that work should begin on the new £2.7 million school as soon as possible, although it will be at least three years before work is finished.

50 Years Ago

This year in Shetland saw the smallest number of births ever recorded in the islands in one year – 245. The number of deaths, 242, is the lowest ever recorded in one year and is 47 fewer than the average number for the past five years.

These figures were quoted by Dr. S.A.B. Black, county medical officer of health. He gives the estimated population of Shetland in 1959 as 18,205, 168 fewer than the previous year.

Dr Black quotes the main causes of death last year – heart disease accounted for one third. Only twenty years ago the figures had a different appearance. Then, for instance, tuberculosis accounted for seven per cent of the deaths, last year, for the fourth year running, there was only one death from tuberculosis.

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“The whole economy of Shetland is in a very unhealthy state. The population is going down fast – in Unst it is over 52 per cent down in the last 30 years. To save Shetland from further depopulation we must buckle to and develop our fishing industry as the Faroese have done.” So said Col. L. D. Edmonston at the annual prizegiving ceremony at Baltasound J.S. School.

“I think we have to admit Shetland is in a bad way,” said the Colonel, “the population is going down fast, individual young men and women, sometimes whole families, are drifting away from the islands to the south, to the Dominions and to Lerwick, which is growing out of all proportion to the rest of the county.”

The three bright spots in Shetland, he said, were Burra, Whalsay and Skerries, where the population was either increasing or stable. “Although these populations are small it is surely very significant that the bulk of the fishing fleet is based in these islands.”

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Almost half of Shetland’s 4,634 houses now have a piped water supply inside the buildings, says Mr W. L. Hastings, county sanitary inspector, in his annual report.

His tabular statement provides ample evidence of considerable progress being made in raising the standard of sanitation in the landward area.

In 1948 the number of houses was 4,321, of which 653, or 15.1 per cent, had an inside supply, 378, or 8.8 per cent, had an outdoor supply leaving 3,290, or 76.1 per cent, with no supply.

Every year since then there has been a distinct improvement.

100 Years Ago

The Evils of the Romish Faith – Sir,- Allow me through the medium of your valuable paper, to express how bitterly I feel towards the Romish faith. We can truly say that it is merely a system of rules got up for certain purposes. One purpose is to delude people, to keep them in entire ignorance of God’s feeling towards this world. Another purpose is to twist the word of God into such a shape as to impress upon the minds of people that such rotten rules are consistent with the Almighty.

Now, I ask, does God give power to sinful priests to forgive sins? Does God wish that people should worship the Virgin Mary, a creature? The answer is, No. Again, the Romish priests have power (?) to change the bread and wine into the blood and body of Christ. Now, suppose I were to put poison into the bread and wine, what would the priests say? Would they partake of it? I don’t suppose they would. And why? Just because they know perfectly well that they do not have the power to change it into the blood and body of Christ.

I am utterly sorry that the Romanists have got a footing in Lerwick. Surely no Shetlander will be ignorant enough to join such a band of anti-Christs. And I do hope that every Protestant minister in Shetland will do all in his power to expose the evils of Rome, so as to induce people to be on the watch lest this “mystery of iniquity” overtakes them. We must remember the last time that Roman Catholics came to Shetland some people were foolish and blinded enough to join them. They may do so now. And surely no minister would be true to his Master if he allowed such a thing to happen without making every effort to show the people how foolish a step they were taking.

Then, look at the methods which the Romish Church adopts in order to convert Protestants to her faith. When they have the power they try to convert with faggot and fire. History tells us of the Inquisition of Spain.  Of course, I will not deal with particulars, for history can speak for itself. Then look at the reign of “Bloody Mary”. In those bygone days, Rome tried to convert by fright, by burning Protestants for their religion: and if Rome got power now, she would carry on the same devilish tricks. Their motto would be, “Either a Catholic or be burned”. Yet the Romish Church claims to be founded by Christ, when she does not carry out his law! Such a claim is false.

In conclusion, I would say that I bitterly hate and denounce the Romish faith. The faith is merely dust which is thrown into the eyes of people to blind them, and to make them ignorant, superstitious, and idolatrous.  Hoping I have not encroached on your space, I am, etc., Strong Protestant


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