Times Past

25 Years Ago

The SIC and Shetland Arts Trust came to blows over finance during a meeting of the leisure and recreation committee last Thursday.

The arts trust is to get no money from the council this year, if the committee’s decision goes through at the next full SIC meeting. The trust, which has been operating since September, was one of six local organisations to appeal to the leisure and recreation committee for money from the charitable trust.

The arts trust was set up by the SIC to promote and stimulate interest in the arts and culture in Shetland. It made two separate applications last Thursday and both were turned down by the committee. The first was to employ a permanent development officer at a total cost of £40,000 a year, and the second was for £50,000 to go towards the cost of running the trust.

Mr Jim Irvine strongly objected to both grant applications. “This group is getting out of hand altogether,” he complained. “I think we should make it clear we’re not going to feather-bed them this time.”

Mr Irvine spoke against the grant for a development officer, and said that, before considering the other appeal, the committee should contact the Scottish Arts Council to see whether it intends to support Shetland Arts Trust financially.

However, Dr Mortimer Manson, a trustee of the arts trust, proposed that funds for a development officer be granted, at least for a period of three years. A vote was taken, and it went 6-4 in favour of Mr Irvine.

The arts trust held a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss their future. Mrs Rose Young, chairwoman, said: “I’m just appalled at the decision, and the rest of the trustees feel the same. It seems to me inconceivable that the council would create a publicly-accountable body such as the arts trust, and then the committee demonstrate such inconsistency and lack of understanding.”

50 Years Ago

For the past few weeks the people of Skerries have been able to go to the cinema once a fortnight. This is commonplace enough in most of Shetland, but to us in Skerries it represents an innovation which adds very considerably to our amenities, and which is very much appreciated by the community.

Once a supply of electricity was assured, this was made possible by the generosity of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, which made a grant to the community. Equipment was provided under this grant by the Highland and Islands Film Guild, who have been most helpful at all times.

I should like, through your columns, to express the appreciation and thanks of the people of Skerries for what has been done in this matter by these bodies and by several individuals whom it would be invidious to mention.


:: :: :: ::

There are nine families occupying caravans in the Garthspool area, which is to be cleared shortly – but only two of them have so far answered Lerwick Town Council’s letters telling them about the new site at Annsbrae.

One man has accepted the offer of a site; another is not accepting, as he considers the proposed site is most unsuitable.

Mr Robert Peterson is the one who has accepted; Mr George Manson the one who is not accepting.

The Council’s General Purposes Committee have told Mr Manson that they do not agree with his observations about Annsbrae; that they have no alternative suitable area where a serviced site can be provided; and that the owners of the present site occupied by him were under legal obligation to have their ground cleared without further delay.

The committee also agreed that Messrs J. & M. Shearer, Ltd., the Garthspool site owners be advised that the council had made an alternative site available to all those who occupied caravans on their property, and as the firm did not wish to provide the required facilities and apply for a site licence, they should now take steps to clear the site of all caravans.

100 Years Ago

Roads in Shetland – At the annual general meeting of the Convention of Royal Burghs last Tuesday, Mr J. A. Loggie, Lerwick, moved a remit to the Annual Committee to inquire into the subject of grants towards roads. He complained that the main trunk roads were receiving the money, and the islands were being left out. It might be said they had no motor cars in Shetland, but they had 110 motors registered in the islands.  The people in Shetland, without outside help, were quite unable to make roads suitable for motor cars. The islands were not adapted for light railways, and the opening up of the country was really to be left to motor cars. They had a length of 78 miles in Shetland, which they had to travel with the ordinary horse vehicle. The mails were carried in that way. They found at present that the roads could not stand the cars. A man living fourteen miles from Lerwick had to get his produce into the town by mail vehicles, and had to pay 2s for a parcel weighing 14lb. The result was he got very little return for his goods. There were large tracts of beautiful arable land which were at present laid down for blackfaced sheep; and a finer body of men they would not find anywhere. He strongly appealed to the Convention to help them in this case. He included Orkney and the Western Isles in his representation. They could not possibly develop these islands properly unless they got some better means of communication. Provost Husband, Dunfermline, seconded, and the motion was agreed to.

:: :: :: ::

Delting – Quite a new departure in the line of homespun tweeds has been made at Voe. Evidently the local production has proved, in quantity, inadequate to the demand, thus causing Mr Adie to introduce machinery from which is produced the finished article. A weaver from Scotland is presently at Voe instructing a local man to work the looms.

Rev. Mr Stewart, Voe, is doing excellent work as interim teacher at Gonfirth.

It is regrettable that Olnafirth school did so little to its credit at inspection by H.M. Inspector. The Inspector said – “Instruction is faithful but too mechanical. Even after adequate allowance is made for the condition of the school when the teacher assumed charge two years ago, the results of instruction can only very barely be regarded as satisfactory.”

:: :: :: ::

A Mad Engine-Driver – An extraordinary incident has occurred on one of the suburban railway lines, says a Vienna correspondent. The passengers, growing anxious owing to a long wait between two stations, got out of the train to investigate, and found the engine-driver lying on his back under the engine. He declared, in reply to questions, that he believed a bomb had been placed under the engine and intended to find it before it could do any mischief. The unfortunate man, who had completely lost his senses, was removed to an asylum.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.