Times Past

25 Years Ago

For the people of Sound a £140,000 dream will become reality tomorrow afternoon with the opening of their new community hall.

Plans for the hall were first mooted in 1982 and three years of hard work and fund-raising have been put in by Sound Community Association. Unusually for a new hall in Shetland there was no money available from the Scottish Education Department, but funds were raised jointly by the association, Lerwick Community Council, the SIC, the Highlands and Islands Development Board – and most importantly through local fund-raising.

All the work will seem worthwhile tomorrow when Mr Willie Thomson, a long-standing association member, officially opens the new building. There will be speeches by Mr Thomson and Mr Peter Malcolmson, another SCA member.

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Shetland Islands Council is to introduce an induction course for councillors, which it hopes will help to make clear some of the more complicated matters, particularly finance, involved in day-to-day council business.

The decision to introduce an induction programme, taken by a recent policy and resources committee meeting, still has to be ratified by the full council. But the idea of an induction scheme received unanimous support from the policy and resources committee.

The committee made no decision on whether or not an induction course should be available to all councillors or exclusively to new councillors after next year’s elections, although members had been asked to make a decision by the personnel department. But they appointed a small group – Messrs Edward Thomason, Ray Bentley, Malcolm Bray, Mrs Joan MacLeod and Miss Andrea Manson – to help formulate what the induction course should consist of.

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Of 372 young people who left school during the academic year 1984/85, 40 per cent have started on Youth Training Scheme courses. The rest went on to further education, started traditional apprenticeships with local firms or got jobs, while 12 are registered unemployed.

Numbers leaving school were the highest since 1979/80. With only 38 young people entering traditional apprenticeships – around half the pre-1980 level – the swing to YTS is marked. Ninety-seven school leavers continued their education at colleges and universities.

In the work market 26 young people have become shop assistants, followed by 20 in clerical posts and 18 in fishing or fish processing.

50 Years Ago

Almost unnoticed, a little yacht sailed into Lerwick Harbour during the lunch hour on Saturday. Under headsail, mainsail and a big Genoa jib, she ran up towards the Bressay shore, then tacked across the harbour to tie up alongside the much larger Lerwick yacht “Loki”.

A yellow flag fluttering in the breeze revealed the surprising fact that this little ship had come from a foreign port but it seemed incredible that the name in foot high letters on the canvas dodger round the cockpit should read “Cardinal Vertue” – this tiny craft had arrived from St. John’s Newfoundland.

For the second time this year, Dr David Lewis had crossed the Atlantic alone in a four ton, 25 foot boat. The soft spoken unassuming New Zealander, who now has a medical practice in East Ham, London, told a “Shetland Times” reporter that it had been “pretty rough most of the time.”

Dr Lewis bought the “Cardinal Vertue” two years ago and to qualify for entry for the Transatlantic race for single-handed sailors, he had to complete a preliminary ocean crossing alone. He chose to sail to Norway and arrived in Stavanger harbour one day last year when Mr Thomas Moncrieff was there in his yacht “Loki”. The doctor, fatigued through lack of sleep, was having a spot of bother in mooring his boat and Mr Moncrieff gave him a hand. They struck up a friendship and the doctor revealed his plans for the solo crossing from Plymouth to New York.

On Thursday of last week the doctor sighted the peaks of Foula – and then spent 23 hours completely becalmed. Early on Friday he passed through the Roost, rounded Sumburgh Head, and ran north for Lerwick.

The doctor came ashore but it was difficult for him to find his land legs. “Everything is going up and down and the buildings seem to be falling over” he complained. It was Mr Moncrieff who suggested that the best way the doctor could get the rest he needed was to go for cruise in the “Loki”. And five hours after crossing the Atlantic, the doctor was at sea again!

After a quiet night anchored in Catfirth Voe, the “Loki” returned to Lerwick and Dr Lewis declared that he felt much fitter. “It was like being on an ocean liner after my boat,” he said.

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By the spring of next year Messrs J. & M. Shearer’s ice factory at the West Dock will be capable of producing nearly forty tons of ice daily. At the present moment the plant’s output is 24 tons but on several occasions this summer the demand for crushed ice has exceeded even this figure. The factory’s biggest customers are of course the Scottish and Norwegian fishing boats but they have supplied ships of all nationalities.

The factory was inaugurated in 1946 when Shearers installed an eight-ton fresh water plant. The demand steadily increased over the next few years and in 1949 the factory was increased to its present capacity, with a storage capacity of over 20 tons.

Recently Mr Magnus Shearer, Jr., and his foreman, Mr Sidney Phillips, visited London and Aberdeen, making an extensive survey of modern ice machinery. Mr Shearer confirmed this week that his firm had ordered a British sea-water plant with an output of 12 to 15 tons a day and he hopes it will be running early in 1960.

100 Years Ago

The Hope Trust Lectures – In the Lerwick Town Hall on Friday last, under the auspices of the Hope Trust, lectures were delivered by Messrs Rathbone and Dewar. At the half-past six meeting, which was meant specially for children, the young people were present in large numbers. Rev. W. Marshall Tait, B.D. Parish minister of Lerwick, presided. Mr Dewar dealt with “George Wishart,” the evangelist of the Reformation in Scotland, and step by step sketched the life and struggles of the Scottish martyr from his schoolmaster days at Montrose, to his imprisonment in Edinburgh castle and his death at St Andrews, at the instigation of Cardinal Beaton, whose interests were much on the side of Roman Catholic France. The lecture was instructive and was beautifully illustrated.

There was a large attendance at eight o’clock to hear Mr Rathbone speak on “Mexico.” Rev D. Houston, M.A., presided. The Chairman at the outset commended the Hope Trust methods. He declared there was nothing so eloquent as a fact well stated and truthfully put. Protestant­ism avowed no objection to the Church of Rome propagating its views and looking after its own people, but he feared that the Roman Church had never tolerated anything like equal rights where she had the power. Protestantism had acted many times in blindness, but while the Protestant Church acknowledged its faults, the Church of Rome, by its doctrine of “Infallibility,” looked back upon its past without shame and withdrew nothing. For such reasons, he said, the Church or Rome had to be exposed, and thus he welcomed the lecturers.

Mr Rathbone sketched in a lucid manner the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. He showed how by the inquisition they forced the religion of Rome upon the conquered race. By taking the symbols of the Mexican religion they simply substituted Christian names, and so paganised the Christianity of the New Testament beyond recognition. Between 1821 and 1860 there were no less than fifty Presidents, and three hundred revolutions, and until the influence of the Church was curtailed thirty years ago, no true progress was made in Mexico. Instances of martyrdom were not awanting in later years, but under the ruling President elected in 1877 the ship of state had been well guided. Education was largely taken out of the hands of the Church, while monasteries and nunneries were suppressed and turned into factories for better uses.

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Gifts to the Fair Islanders – Handsome Presents by the Duchess of Bedford – A correspondent from Fair Isle writes under date of 1st October:- The week before last the Duchess of Bedford’s steam yacht Sapphire arrived here with stores, etc., for the “Pund,” preparatory to her Grace visiting the island. The yacht brought a quantity of boxes of groceries, being presents from the Duchess to the islanders. Each of the boxes contained 6 lbs. tea, 12 lbs. sugar, and 84 lbs. flour, and every box was addressed to its different house. Needless to say, we are very grateful to the kind lady for such valuable presents.

Last Saturday the Sapphire arrived again, this time with her Grace and party on board. We under­stand her stay on the island will last about a fortnight, during which time the yacht will remain either here or at Lerwick.


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