Times Past

25 Years Ago

One of the un-named backers of the proposed marine service base at Basta Voe in Yell has withdrawn after its offer to buy Oilfield Seabases Ltd and their plans for the site were rejected.

But Oilfield Seabases local representative, Captain Bob Man­son, said that a second and larger concern was still very interested and ready to go if SIC awarded the project’s works licence.

Capt Manson said that “an overseas group” had taken the decision to withdraw but that was not necessarily final.

“That leaves us with a major British-based group who are still doing their homework and have not yet made a decision,” Capt Manson said. “So it is still very much on the cards.”

He said if the council granted the renewal of the licence on the same terms as previously, the company would then be in a position to apply to the Secretary of State for Scot­land for a harbour empower­ment order which would take Basta Voe out of the area covered by the Zetland County Council Act of 1974 and allow the developer to charge harbour dues and run the voe as a base for ship repair, marine service and “general support” for the shipping industry, possibly with a dry dock.

Yell Community Council agreed at its meeting on Monday night to continue its backing for the Basta Voe harbour development, but only until next June. Mr Derek Rushton, clerk to the council, said that if nothing had happened at Basta Voe by then the community councillors would switch their support to salmon farming in the voe.

50 Years Ago

For the first time in ten years, Lerwick ratepayers can look for­ward to a cut in their rates – the Town Council, at a special meeting, was able to drop the rate by a shil­ling in the pound to 25 shillings.

In addition the council will be able to tackle some projects which have been held up through lack of finance, and still look forward to ending the year with a surplus.

What has made this possible? Two figures give the clue – a refund of £12,687 over-requisitioned by the County Council last year, and the receipt of additional grants which gave the Council a balance of £11,393 at the end of the last financial year.

The County Council requisition for the year is made up as follows: police, £3,335; classified roads, £22,659; public health, £1,025; health service £14,576; planning, £402; education, £130,824; welfare, £5,548; children, £389; probation of offenders, £20; civil defence, £31; miscellaneous services, £4,260.

Total Town Council expenditure is made up as follows: Police court, £158; lighting, £2,049; cleansing, £7,649; bleach green, £4; public parks, £2,933; burial grounds, £2,570; roads and streets, £6,840; sewers, £1,723; public health, £1,071; housing, £8,715; public water, £1,649; miscellaneous services, including Town Hall, £3,002; slaughterhouse and market green, £601.

In addition the Finance Com­mittee resolved to provide for certain other items during the current financial year.

These include an initial con­tribution towards the estimated cost of improving lighting in King Harald Street and South Road; towards the cost of providing a footpath across Slates Park from Burgh Road to Bell’s Road, and restoration of a retaining wall at Bell’s Road; an initial contribution towards the cost of replacing the refuse vehicle; the cost of relighting four ground floor offices, north lobby and staircase of the Town Hall and altering and providing new furniture in the town clerk’s public office; and an increase in wages to allow for provision of attendants at public lavatories.

Last year Lerwick had to collect £67,376 from their combined rate – a very considerable figure from a burgh with five and a half thousand population. They had felt during the years that this Act had operated so that the burgh was carrying more than its share. They were certainly carrying more than their neighbours, in that the rest of the county, with twice the population, collected less than half the amount of rates, and with a combined rate of 26 shillings was one of the highest rated burghs in Scotland.

100 Years Ago

Whalsay’s Oldest Inhabitants – James Williamson is 93 years old, while his friend, Thomas Hender­son, is 86, their combined ages being 179 years. They live next door to one another. James is still a sturdy man. He comes of a hardy race, and has scarcely ever had a pain in his life. It is still remembered in the island that his son James Williamson, jun., was awarded the Quiver medal for a brave deed on the night of the terrible disaster, 9th December, 1887, in saving the lives of his shipmates, who were in imminent risk of danger of being killed on the rocks of their native shore while trying to land.

Old Thomas was an elder of the Church for many years, but has now resigned. He has conducted many a service during the absence of the minister, and has often been called upon to perform many cases of bone-setting and other surgical operations. He has also acted a dentist in the old style. He is a cousin of the Hon. John Henry, Tasmania. All in the island and their friends everywhere join in wishing them both long life and happi­ness. By their healthy appearance it looks as if both would become centenarians.

Bressay Manse Water Supply – Mater May Go To Law – A meeting of the Lerwick Presbytery was held in the Lerwick Parish Church buildings on Wednesday, when the Revs. D. Crawford (Bressay), Moder­ator, W. Marshall Tait (Lerwick), J. Love (Quarff), A. Macintyre (Tingwall), Clerk, ministers; and Bailie A.L. Laing (Lerwick), and Mr W. Leslie (Dunrossness), elders, were present.

The principal matter to be con­sidered was the question of a water supply to Bressay manse.

Rev. D. Crawford – Last time I moved that the Presbytery be alone. I think that that was a very wise course in view of experiences before that. We said last time, and the representatives of the press will readily believe we are delighted to have them here, but this is a ticklish kind of subject in some respects, and it may possibly – we hope not – it may possibly involve a case; and then we want to discuss the mater very freely without having everything given out to the public. I think – I hope you will agree with me – that it would be as well in view of these considerations that we be alone in consideration of this matter. I move accordingly.

Rev. J. Love seconded, saying he thought everyone would understand the reasons why they wished to be alone.

The representatives of the press therefore withdrew.  Subsequently it was announced that the meeting had considered a report on the water supply from Mr J.M. Aitken, and an analysis of a sample by Mr Steven­son Macadam, F.I.C., etc. It was resolved in terms of the report that the water supply of Bressay manse was unwholesome, liable to con­tamin­ation, and unsuitable for domestic purposes, and the Presbytery appointed the Heritors of the parish, failing whom the petitioner, Rev. D. Crawford, to procure the necessary plans and specifications and estimates for providing a satisfactory and suf­ficient water supply to the manse, and to lay same before the Presbytery at their meeting on 30th November next.


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