Times Past

25 Years Ago

Two fires in Sandveien in the past three months have been caused by faulty street light cable which runs through the lofts of some of the houses.

The SIC construction department began changing the dangerous cable shortly after the first fire when the loft was badly burned and adjoining houses were smoke damaged.

But there was another fire on Saturday morning.

It was reported by a neighbour at 1.15am when the street lights went off and there was a smell of smoke. The fire damage was confined to the loft and roof beams.

Mr John Graham, councillor for the area, regarded the issue as “very serious indeed. We can’t afford to have this sort of thing happening.”

The problem dates back to when the Sandveien houses were built in the 1970s and there was a shortage of copper which is normally uses as a conductor for this type of cable.

Aluminum was used instead, but only now is it being discovered that it is dangerous if covered up. The street lights are on the outside walls of the houses and the cable runs through the lofts. The danger arises if tenants store items on top of the cable and the aluminum becomes over heated, burning through the plastic outer coating.

Mr Peter Grant of SIC design and technical services said people in Sandveien were not warned about the cable because there is no problem with it in normal circumstances and he did not want to panic people. “We were just unfortunate there was another fire before we could change the cable.”

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A tree to be planted in Lerwick to commemorate 40 years of world peace caused a fight in the council chambers.

Mr Leonard Groat asked the council to plant the tree in line with other local authorities on the steering committee of Scottish Nuclear Free Zones. He suggested the plaque should read “40 years of peace since Hiroshima”. But Mr Henry Stewart did not think there should be any reference to the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the second world war.

“If we get down to statistics more British people would have been tortured by the Japanese than were killed by those bombs,” he said. The council agreed the plaque should not mention Hiroshima.

50 Years Ago

Although the royal visit to Shetland starts OFFICIALLY on Wednesday morning, it starts UNOFFICIALLY on Tuesday. It is understood that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are to visit Fair Isle on Tuesday evening – weather permitting – on their way to Lerwick.

Naturally the Fair Islanders are delighted at the prospect of a visit, and although there are no Rolls Royces on the island they will offer Her Majesty transport through the island on the back of a lorry which has a suitable superstructure made which can accommodate a small party.

Prince Charles and Princess Anne WILL be on the Britannia next week, but the public will not see them.

It was stated by Buckingham Palace this week that the children will not take part in any of the official events but that they will enjoy a picnic in some away-from-it-all spot.

100 Years Ago

Illegal Possession of a Skua – Yell Man Fined – In the Lerwick Sheriff Court on Saturday afternoon, Magnus Tulloch, merchant, Burravoe, Yell, was charged with having in his possession on 11th July a wild bird named the “Skua,” recently taken, contrary to the Wild Birds Protection Act, 1880, section 3, as amended by the Wild Birds Protection Act, 1881, section 1, such offence being a first offence.

Mr G.W. Hoggan, solicitor, appeared for accused, who, he stated, was unable to appear personally. He admitted the offence, and said there seemed to be some misunderstanding on the part of the accused. An Order had been published by the County Council referring to certain birds. In the two first sections the public were warned against taking or destroying certain wild birds, and the third sub-division referred only to the eggs of wild birds. It was only in the third sub-division that either the great Skua or Richardson’s Skua was mentioned. He admitted that in the schedule to the Act of 1880, the Skua came under the category of protected birds, but in the Order, which was an Order published for the benefit of the public, it did not state that the Skua was a bird that one could be convicted of killing.

The Sheriff said that an Order just altered or amplified the Act in different ways.

Mr Hoggan admitted the amplifying, but contended that the Order misapplied the Act. His second point was that the object of the Act was to protect the life of certain birds which were becoming rare. When the Act in question was passed the Skua was certainly a rare bird but now he understood there was a considerable number of them. He had seen the smaller one himself and it was not rare in Shetland at all. Tulloch did not kill the bird. He had had it for two months and during that time he was giving it the greatest attention, and was keeping it as a pet. He suggested that the ends of justice would be well met by a modified penalty.

From further discussion it appeared that the bird had been sent by accused to a clergyman in Buckinghamshire. Mr Galloway said Tulloch intimated to the police that he was dealing with birds, and said he had got other birds for this man. The bird was in accused’s possession on 11th July.

The Sheriff – Did he send away the bird after you told him?

Mr Galloway – Yes.

Subsequently, the Sheriff said that Tulloch had no right to give away the bird after he had got notice that he would be sued in this way. In passing sentence, he said he thought every man of sense knew that an Act was only modified or amplified by an Order, and that an Act of Parliament was in force until amended. As regarded the Skua getting common, he did not think it was the case at all. Mr Hoggan had talked of “falling over” the birds; well, he had seen young birds but he had never fallen over them – they were up in the air. It was undoubtedly rare, and if people were allowed to get the birds they would soon get very scarce.  Seeing that accused parted with the bird after the police had given notice he would be charged with this offence, he must fine him £1 and declare the bird forfeited.


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