19th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Times Past

, by , in Features

25 Years Ago

A new landmark has appeared at the Scord – an 80 foot high electricity producing windmill – the first of its kind in Britain.

The windmill, erected by Mr and Mrs Arthur Williamson at Leagarth, Scalloway, has created a lot of interest and has inevitably attracted some criticism since it was erected last weekend. It is now the first thing you notice as you approach Scalloway above the Scord.

The Vestas windmill, or “wind energy conversion system”, is large enough to provide power for the Williamsons’ house and their eleven self-catering chalets. On calm days they will still have to depend on the Hydro Board but when the wind reaches a certain speed they will be in the fortunate position of supplying their surplus electricity to the Hydro Board – and getting paid for it.

The windmill consists of three blades made from white glass fibre reinforced polyester, each of them over 25 feet long, mounted on a 77-foot high lattice type tower. Vestas Energy AS, the makers of the machine, are based in Denmark which, because the country has few natural energy sources, is the leading nation in the development and production of aerogenerators. Vestas has already sold several thousand of their machines in Denmark, Germany and the USA but this is the first to be erected in the UK.

The machine has two generators, one of 11Kw and the main one of 55Kw. It starts to produce electricity from its smaller generator at a wind speed of only 9mph. As the wind speed increases it automatically switches to the main generator until at a speed of 28mph it is producing its maximum output of 55Kw. There are three meters which show electricity bought from the grid, that sold back to the grid and the total production from the windmill.

All the switching is fully automatic. The blades are kept into the wind by an electric motor which responds to signals from the weather vane at the top of the tower. There are 10 safety systems build in so that it can never “run wild” during a gale.

If all of these fail the ultimate safety device is a system of automatic air brakes whereby the top of the blades come out at an angle of 90 degrees and slow the machine down. In very severe conditions the slewing machine turns the mill out of the wind.

The aerogenerator has cost £31,000 plus installation costs. Shetland Island Council has given a grant of 20 per cent of the cost and the EEC has also promised either loan or grant assistance. Its expected life is between 20 and 30 yeas and if all goes well it should pay for itself within five to eight years.

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Faroese rower Ove Joensen has spent most of this week at the Pool of Virkie. He is waiting for north-westerly winds to enable him to resume his journey from Faroe to Denmark.

Last Wednesday Mr Joensen left Aith and rowed to Walls. From there he rowed to St Ninian’s Isle and on to the Pool of Virkie where he has been waiting for the wind to change since Sunday morning.

Two weeks ago Mr Joensen was rescued by Aith Lifeboat when he got into difficulties off the west coast. The rescue was a repeat of what happened last year at Mr Joensen’s first attempt to row single handed from Faroe to Denmark.

50 Years Ago

Another inter-county has come and gone, and probably the best that can be said about the occasion is to say very little! Not so many years ago, the senior inter-county contest was really something. Crowds of people sailed from one island to the other to cheer on their teams. Nowadays only a handful of people apart from the teams bother to travel – and cheers seem to be really something in the past.

As has happend on not a few occasions in recent years, the hockey game was the more entertaining of the two. Both sides played a hard, fast game and a goalless draw was just about right. The football match was one long yawn – the only things in the field that had any bite were the midges! Considering the poor fare, and the millions of midges, it was surprising that so many stayed to the bittter end. Maybe they were always hoping that something would turn up. If so, they were disappointed. Orkney retained the Milne Cup by a 2-0 margin.

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Joe Greig is not the only actor with Shetland connections who is appearing in Edinburgh Festival productions this week.

Twenty-two-year-old Jack Johnson, of Lerwick, is appearing in the play “The Mask”, a story about prison life. It is in St Stephen’s Theatre, and has an all-male cast.

At the end of September, he commences a six-month course at Jordanhill T.C. with the intention of becoming a teacher of speech and drama.

Iain Dunnet, who worked in Lerwick, has been touring with the Bertha Waddell Children’s Theatre Company during the past year, but now he is appearing as the Earl of Angus in Sydney Goodsir Smith’s play “The Wallace” at the Assembly Hall.

And there might have been another Shetlander in the capital this week – Sandra Voe (Williamson), of Scalloway, travelled north from London to join the Edinburgh University Players but no sooner had she arrived than she heard of auditions being given by the Theatre for Youth in London, so she returned there and had a successful audition. The company tours the country, and specialises in plays for schoolchildren.

100 Years Ago

Housebreaking at Gulberwick – Teacher’s House Ransacked – The quiet village of Gulberwick was the scene of a particularly mean and impudent housebreaking episode at the end of last week. The schoolhouse, which is occupied by Miss Wallace, was entered, the furniture and fittings ransacked and displaced, and the place left in malicious disorder.

We are informed that Miss Wallace had gone south during the school’s vacation, and that the house was taken by Mr R. W. Tait, cabinetmaker, Lerwick. Mr and Mrs Tait left the schoolhouse for Lerwick on Friday morning, leaving everything in perfect order, and after seeing that the doors and windows were secure.

Miss Wallace returned to Lerwick by steamer on Saturday, stayed the following day in town, and left for Gulberwick early on Monday morning. When she got to the house she was amazed to find it in a state of the utmost disorder.  All the drawers had been pulled out and the contents displaced, provisions had been taken out of the cupboard and flung upon the bed, the bed itself was marked with ink, and an album was destroyed.  Many other things were damaged and destroyed.

So far as can be ascertained nothing was stolen, and it was evidently a case of malicious mischief. The police have the matter in hand.

There were several ways by which entrance could be effected. It is stated that the catch of the bedroom window was broken, and it looks as if the person or persons had entered in this way.

When Mrs Tait came away from the house she left the blinds on the windows up. They were noticed to be pulled down on Sunday, so it is surmised that entrance was made sometime on Sunday.

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“Has Man a Spirit that can Survive Death?” – The Result of Psychological Investigations – The Rev. John Spence, F.R.A.S., minister of Eccleston Square Congregational Church, London, conducted the forenoon and evening services in the Lerwick Wesleyan Methodist Church on Sunday last. At both services the church was crowded, and from the evening meeting hundreds had to be turned away. The title of the forenoon subject was “Christ’s Philosophy of Man.” For his evening sermon on the subject “Has man a spirit that can survive death?” Mr Spence took for his text Ecclesiastes xii 7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”