Times Past

25 Years Ago

Shetland is to get a new hostel for the mentally handicapped, council­lors agreed this week.

Shetland Islands Council’s social work committee voted to go ahead with the purchase of a property in Lerwick and to refurbish it at a total cost of £225,000.

The new hostel would treble the level of facilities for the mentally handicapped in the islands and provide much needed respite for parents who look after handicapped children at home, allowing them to take holidays.

Mr Peter Malcolmson, director of social work, said the department had identified “Craigielea” on the corner of St Olaf Street and Scalloway Road as the building for the hostel.

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Shetland Islands Council is to spend £100,000 in the next year paying a firm of public relations consultants to promote the council’s case in its battle with the oil industry.

But because court action is underway, the firm will be strictly bound in what it can say by the Contempt of Court Act.

The decision to spend almost £2,000 per week was taken in private – councillors voted to throw out the press and public before discussing the matter.

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Sound will not be getting its own pub. Last Wednesday the SIC threw out a planning application for a pub at Baila Croft, Sound, after a huge lobbying drive by both supporters and opponents of the plan.

Mrs Gladys M. Leask had applied for permission and scores of local residents had signed petitions either for or against the pub. Most of the support came from Sandveien. The opposition came mainly from Upper Baila and Westerloch.

50 Years Ago

The boom at Lerwick Harbour continues. It was reported to Lerwick Harbour Trust that during June 529 vessels used the port, with a nett registered tonnage of 67,660 tons – almost double the June figure last year.

For the first six months of this year the increase over the same period last year is 111,366 nett registered tons.

Naturally this is reflected in the financial returns. The June income of £2438 15/7 was £892 18/3 more than in June 1960, while the half-yearly total of £11,422 11/2 is £2342 17/1 more than it was at the same stage a year ago.

Members considered this very big increase to be most satisfactory.

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In spite of icy winds and lack of sunshine – conditions typical of this “summer” up to the present – quite a company came together last Thursday evening to witness the formal opening of Scalloway’s swimming pool. This was followed by a display of diving and swimming by young enthusiasts, under their efficient tutor, Miss Alison Rhind.

Mr George K. Spence, county coun­cillor for the district, opened the proceedings. The building of a swimming pool was a very worthy achievement, he said, for a small community, and was a credit to all involved in its erection. He congrat­ulated the contractor, Mr Jesse Goudie and his staff, who had carried out the job despite lack of modern machinery.

However the weight of planning had fallen on one individual – Mr Walter Mowat, chairman of the Fraser Park Trust, who had gifted the site to the trust.

Public interest in the undertaking had been keen, said Mr Mowat, and the generous enthusiasm reflected in the way everyone had contributed to the efforts made to raise funds. To all who had given, and to the dedicated few, mostly ladies, who worked so hard to speed up the inflow of money, the trustees were exceedingly grateful. It was Mr Mowat’s belief that future generations in Scalloway would remember with pride and gratitude those who had helped transform what was once two somewhat ugly beaches into places of utility and pleasant design.

For those who have not seen the pool, it is 75 feet long, 25 feet wide and 7 feet deep at the deep end. The dressing rooms, on the left hand side, are built of brown pre-cast blocks with red-tinted lintels. The natural tide fills half the pool, and it is completely filled by means of an electric pump.

100 Years Ago

The Curling and Skating Pond – Dear Sir, On reading the leading article in your issue of last week, I am surprised at the attitude you take regarding the proposal of the Town Council to put in order the curling and skating pond at the Gilbertson Park. You say that unless the Council can find means to put it in order without adding in the smallest degree to the rates paid by the people of Lerwick, the Council will lay themselves open to the charge of failing to appreciate the best interests of the ratepayers. On the contrary I think that spending £100 or so in putting the pond in order, the Council would be acting in the best interests of the ratepayers, and to raise the money necessary to do so from sources other than the rates would be shirking the responsibilities which the ratepayers took upon themselves when the park was presented to them by the late Mr R.P. Gilbertson. In a small town like Lerwick, where there are no places of amusement to resort to in times of leisure, too often is it the case for the youth of the town to give way to the many temptations that surround them; and if by putting this pond in order the Council help to keep them away from these temptations (as it would assuredly do), are not they acting in the best interests of the ratepayers? Surely it is the duty of the Town Council to consider the welfare of the youth of the town and to provide them with the means of indulging in healthy amusement and recreation; and in no way, I think, can this be more effectively done than by putting in order the pond at the Gilbertson Park.

At the last meeting of the Town Council, one member, who was a mem­ber of the last School Board, did not raise his voice against de­manding £1600 from the rate­payers for purposes educational, but when a mere £100 is proposed to be asked from the ratepayers by the Town Council for the purposes of provid­ing the means for healthy amusement and recreation, he must needs strong­ly object to such a “waste” of money, as he terms it, on a curling pond “that might never be used.” If the worthy councillor would take his mind back to the first few winters after the opening of the park, and when the pond was in good con­dition, I do not think he would have made that last remark. The great number of people who took advan­tage of the pond – and would do it again were it in order – was surely evidence enough of their appreci­ation of it.

A scheme such as the present is deserving of the warmest support of the ratepayers, and no right thinking ratepayer will object to paying a fraction of a penny more in the pound when he knows what great benefit the youth of the town will derive therefrom.

I trust that the Council will not allow this matter to become dormant, but will carry it through as speedily as possible, and that, when once the pond is in order, they will not allow it to get into such a condition as it at present is. – I am, etc., Thomas A. Hay.


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