Times Past

25 Years Ago

Shetland Islands Council has com­mitted itself to fighting against the proposed nuclear fuel processing plant at Dounreay and hopes to see the three islands councils leading a determined opposition to the plant. The SIC has also said other objectors can join its campaign at the public enquiry due to start in April.

SIC expert consultants have ques­tioned the choice of Dounreay for the plant – fearing that it could lead to a fast breeder nuclear reactor being built in Caithness. They have also strongly criticised the plans for the plant and the serious lack of information given by the nuclear industry over important issues such as waste disposal and discharge, and the effects on the environment and risks to the public.

On Wednesday the SIC decided by 15 votes to five that the proposed plutonium plant was against the interests of the people and environ­ment of the islands. Until this week the council’s formal objection to the plans had only been lodged because it felt more information was needed. Now, having considered what in­formation has been released by the nuclear industry and having heard the views of two groups of con­sultants, the council has come out in total opposition to the plant.

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Planning approval is being sought for leisure centres in Mid Yell and Baltasound. The centres will be sited next to the two junior high schools. Each will include three badminton courts, a squash court and a swim­ming pool. Shetland Rec­reational Trust, which runs the Clickimin Centre in Lerwick, has submitted the two planning applications.

50 Years Ago

About 10,000 of Shetland’s population will be able to watch TV from the island’s own station within the next three years.

According to a letter from the Postmaster-General to Lerwick’s Town Council, a site for Shetland’s low-power station has now been chosen, and the necessary clearances are proceeding – no hint was given as to the station’s whereabouts.

Until the station started operating it was not possible to give an exact coverage, but it would reach about 10,000 people. Speed of completion depended on individual circum­stances, and it is impossible to say when the station will open. They were pressing on with the whole of the second stage of the satellite plan as fast as possible, and all stations would be completed by March, 1964.

Dean of Guild Alex. Morrison was not satisfied with that answer to the Council’s request for infor­mation. They should protest and demand a station by next year. By 1964 hundreds of islanders would be dead and gone and would never have seen TV.

Mr G. H. Burgess though it was an open question whether the people wished to see TV before they died or not! But the Council represented a community where there was sufficient demand for TV to justify pressure. Mr Burgess would say that they considered the BBC and the government should do nothing to sponsor coloured TV until this part of the country could receive the ordinary TV programme.

Other members agreed and the Postmaster-General will be informed accordingly.

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A Whalsay woman long resident in New Zealand has been “mother” to a fantastic number of children – 87 to be exact! She is Mrs Joseph Carson, whose maiden name was Christina Margaret Irvine. Her husband belongs to Lanarkshire.

The Carson story was told in a recent issue of the “New Zealand Free Lance”, which carried a picture of the happy couple, who live in the small cream-painted house on the banks of the Rangitaiki Rover at Thornton, Wakatane.

Already it has been “home” to 87 children, but it will shelter more yet if wishes come true for this Darby and Joan who have lived in it for more than twenty years.

At the moment the couple are feeling a bit lost, because they have no babies in the house.

Five of the 87 were their own children. The others were “children of every sort” – babies whose mothers were ill, or who had abandoned them, baffled youngsters from broken homes, teenagers who, for one reason or another, have need for a stable home and a family atmosphere. Except for some of the smaller fry, all the children have been girls.

Some were placed on the Carson’s care by the child welfare division. Others were arranged for privately and spent periods of weeks or months with the Carsons because of the sickness of fathers or mothers, or through other adverse family circumstances.

100 Years Ago

The People’s Pensions – How the Poor Benefit – Under the provisions of the Old Age Pension Act passed by the last Liberal Government, paupers over seventy years of age became entitled on 1st January last to participate in the benefits conferred by the Act to the extent of a pension of five shillings a week, with the result that thousands of poor in the British Isles have now had the stigma of pauperism lifted from them, and the gear of want and misery finally removed. In Shetland the benefits of the provision will be an inestimable boon.

As illustrative of the extent of the boon it may be mentioned that no fewer than 48 aged women residing in the parish of Lerwick, Burra and Quarff alone, will now receive an allowance of five shillings a week. In addition to these, four men are also receiving the same amount. Thirty seven of the women were outdoor poor belonging to the parish, receiving a small weekly dole. Ten of the others were other parish poor residing in the district. One old woman has been enabled to leave the poorhouse and make a home of her own. The annual payment to those aged poor within the parish of Lerwick will total the sum of £676, which amount, of course, is additional to the large sum already paid to other old age pensioners who have not accepted poor relief. In Bressay one old man has left the poorhouse and he and eight women are receiving the pension. The additional sum to be paid in Bressay will be £117.

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A New Illuminant – Mr J. Mackay, of the Queen’s Hotel, Lerwick, has had installed in his hotel a petrol illuminant which is new to Shetland, and which seems to have attained some celebrity in the south. It consists of a small apparatus occupying a few feet of space, by means of which petrol is vaporised and passed through gas pipes with a large admixture of air for the purpose of lighting. It is stated that a gallon of petrol is sufficient to keep 50 lights of about 30 candle power burning during 24 hours. Judged by the gas jets which are still used in a portion of the hotel, the new light is soft and brilliant and effects a considerable improvement. It is calculated that the cost of the light equals about two shillings per thousand cubic feet of gas.  The vapour can be turned off and on in the same manner as gas. The oil is prepared by means of the “Solux” generator, of which Mr William Shearer, Edinburgh, is the patentee and manufacturer.

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Shetland Ponies Wanted for America – The breeders of Shetland ponies throughout the Islands will be pleased to learn that by Wed­nesday’s steamer Mr W. S. Curry, from Alberta, Canada, arrived on another visit to Shetland for the purpose of buying Shetland ponies for exportation to the Dominion of Canada. Mr Curry, who is an ex­tensive dealer in Shetland ponies in the Dominion of Canada, was the principal mover in obtaining recog­nition for the Shetland Islands Pony Stud-Book Society in Canada. He has a preference for ponies bred and reared in Shetland, and also for those registered in the Shetland Islands Pony Stud-Book, and has made ar­rangements for a considerable consignment of ponies registered in that Stud-Book to be exported to Canada immediately. Mr Curry explains that as Canada is a very large country which is rapidly developing, there is a great future for Shetland ponies, and during the year he intends making large purchases direct from Shetland, the place of origin of the famous breed.


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