Times Past

25 Years Ago

A threat to evict BP from council-owned land at Sullom Voe has failed to bring the oil industry back to the negotiating table over the SIC’s oil income.

On Wednesday morning the full council agreed, in a secret session, to renew BP’s occupation licence for a further four months. The licence was due to expire at midnight tonight and if it had not been renewed BP would have become squatters at Sullom Voe, and might have taken the SIC to court to claim compensation for what BP has spent on the terminal.

In a statement on behalf of the convener and vice-convener on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Mike Gerrard, the SIC chief executive denied that the council had “backed down”. The council’s lawyers had advised them not to complicate further an already complex legal dispute between the SIC and the oil industry partners in the terminal, he said.

“We have maintained our position,” Mr Gerrard said, “and this leaves it open to the new council in May to decide what they want to do. It is not a failure and the council have not backed down.”

A BP spokesman at Sullom Voe welcomed the extension of the licence to midnight on 30th June as “a constructive gesture”. And he added: “We hope that agreement can be reached in the near future.”

Mr Gerrard said that the decision had been taken without a vote, on the motion of Mr Edward Thomason, the vice-convener.

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Fair Isle’s custom built mailboat was launched from Miller’s yard in St Monans, Fife, on Tuesday by Mrs Florrie Stout, wife of the island’s community councillor Mr James William Stout.

The 60 feet long vessel is named Good Shepherd IV and has cost over £1/2m, part of a £610,000 package which includes a new winch to haul up the largest vessel ever used on the Fair Isle service. The project has been aided by a European Regional Development Fund grant of 50 per cent, with the other £305,000 coming from the Shetland Island’s Council’s capital spending programme.

Trials are expected to be delayed by a week because of a slight delay in the fitting-out programme but when the vessel is delivered she will free the existing mailboat, Good Shepherd III, to take over the service to Papa Stour from West Burrafirth.

50 Years Ago

Once again, an Islesburgh Drama Group team has won the principal award at the Shetland drama festival, which concluded last Thursday night.

They were awarded first place in the open section for their performance of “Pavel the Fox”, and were awarded the Geira Burgess Memorial Trophy – a cap presented by the Drama Committee to honour the memory of the late Miss Burgess, who was one of the committee’s original members.

The Harry Douglas Shield for the best individual performance went to Mrs Nora Morgan, of the Ronas Drama Group, for her performance in “Treasure in Heaven”. Hamnavoe Drama Group took the Erling Vidlin Trophy for the most memorious performance in “Who Sups with the Devil”, while another new cup, the John Harold Trophy, presented by Mr John Harold Johnson, formerly of St Magnus Community Club, went to Hamnavoe Junior Secondary School section. Declared winners in the beginners section were the R.A.F. Saxavord team for their excellent performance of “Murder Trial”.

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A fortnight ago we told the story of the visit to Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President Kennedy of Mrs Lee Nelson, whose maiden name was Mainland, and who belonged to the Quendale district.

Now we hear that she was not the first member of the family to visit the White House – her recently-married niece, Miss Catherine Sandra Goudie, visited the President’s residence when she was a member of the Great Falls, Montana Pipe Band which played before the President.

Catherine’s mother was a Mainland (Edith) and her late father was a Scousburgh man, Charles R. Goudie.

The two “White House” ladies met at Catherine’s wedding. Her groom was Mr Stuart Wilson, a fellow-student of Catherine’s at Montana Stage College. They were married at the First Congregational Church by the Rev. Robert Putsch.

100 Years Ago

The New Barrel Factory – Messrs W. Slater & Sons’ new barrel factory at Garthspool is now practically completed. The factory itself consists of a large corrugated iron building measuring 112 feet in length by 72 feet in breadth. In addition a large store, 120 feet by 72 feet, capable of holding some thirty thousand barrels, is in the course of erection, and the firm intend at a later date to construct another store alongside of the factory in which to house the wood and other materials required for the trade.

The factory is divided lengthwise into two sections, and is lighted mainly from the roof. At the south-east corner is the boiler room, in which is placed one of Babcock & Willcox’s boilers, with a heating surface of 735 square feet. Steam can be got up in about half-an-hour’s time. The fireplace is so designed as to permit of the entrance by a door at the top of shavings collected from different parts of the works by an air suction pump. The boiler is fed by water which has been already heated. Next to the boiler-house is situated the engine-room, in which has been installed, on a concrete bed, a horizontal engine of 85 horse-power, manufactured by Robey, Lincoln, which supplies power to the works. Space has been left in this room for a dynamo, the intention being to light the building by electricity, and in fact some of the electric light fittings are already in place. In this place also are the condenser and pump required for pumping water from the sea to a tank on the eastern side of the building. Next to this division, on the east side of the factory, is a large recess fitted with benches, etc., for the coopers who are employed in the finishing of the barrels, while at the end of this place is situated a fire-proof chamber in which the barrels are fired during the process of manufacturing.

The machinery used in the process of barrel construction is placed in handy position throughout the length of the main hall, which is on the west side. At one end are the saws for cutting the barrel heads, and as one proceeds from the top of the building to the foot, the processes advance step by step towards the completion of the barrel. The machinery is of the latest description, and the factory is in every respect well fitted out, well lighted, and commodious. When in full working order the factory will give employment to between eighty and ninety hands.

A beginning has been made this week, and about forty hands are employed at present. In the course of a week or two the factory will be in full working order, and its output will be about 400 barrels per day.


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