Times Past

25 Years Ago

At least 26 more jobs are to go at the OIL supply base at Greenhead, Lerwick, bringing the total re­dundan­cies to 54 in recent months.

But Mr John Rowan, the base manager, said this week that his company was “here to stay” and he denied rumours among the work­force that a total shutdown was on the cards.

He said OIL would ride out the drastic decline in oil-related work. The redundancies would have been even worse but for OIL’s expansion onshore into general engineering work and maintenance contracts at Sullom Voe.

More redundancies are expected after the firm finishes a major con­tract on the loading arms of the Sullom Voe jetties next month.

Mr Rowan also denied reports that Chevron Petroleum had given OIL 30 days’ notice that they intended to leave Lerwick.

A Chevron spokesman in Aber­deen said the reports were “news to Chevron.”
The oil industry in Shetland was entering a “long, lean period” Mr Rowan warned, and it could well last “a year or two”.

50 Years Ago

Teachers from all over Shetland attended a conference on “External Influences on Schoolchildren To­day.”

Dr John Highet, lecturer in socio­logy at Glasgow University, said it was clearly an over-simplification to say all pressures the mass media exert on school children were to be deplored for schools TV and radio were an admirable aid to the teacher.

Dr Highet said the quality news­papers were exceptional but added: “the press, for most school children, means the popular newspapers and the teenage flighty type of maga­zine.”

He thought that even the most commendable features of the mass media were likely to induce a kind of “grass-hopper mentality” – the kind of mind that flits from one half-digested item of fact to another.

Schools had long had to cope with cinemas as a potential source of interference with homework, and now television added its threat.

He said the pressures from the mass media were chiefly to do with sex and physical glamour, specious broadmindedness and a cavalier attitude to traditional moral stand­ards, hardness, toughness and schem­ing self-interest, the status scramble and the expenditure of money on the symbols that gave you social status.

The conference must also rec­ognise that one effect of all pressures from the mass media was to make school a meaningless waste of time for a high proportion of boys and girls, impatient as they were, through early conditioning by the mass media, to be able to parade the sym­bols and emulate the kind of man and woman the mass media was encouraging them to become.

This yearning leads to early leaving and to pitch-forking them­selves into the first highly-paid job that comes along, regardless of whether or not it will soon turn out to be a dead-end job.

Dr Highet asked if the school education is geared to repulse these pressures or absorb them. He sug­gested debates on TV programmes, visits accompanied by teachers to borderline-type films followed by open discussion of them, healthy ridiculing of the worst excesses of fashion and open discussion of teenage idols of the entertainment world and why they are idolised.

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The Scottish Home Department have provisionally allocated grants totalling three-quarters of the est­ima­ted cost of the proposed new “ring” road into Lerwick via Church Lane.

If the scheme is finally approved the work would be done in two phases – the first phase would be completed in 1962-63 at a cost of £20,500 and the second phase the following year at £19,500.

The four main points discussed at a meeting of the County Roads Sub-Committee were the upkeep of the seawall; question of access; Lerwick Harbour Trust to be satisfied that the facilities for mooring and access to small boats were entirely to their satisfaction; that if the mooring bollard for the North Company’s steamers were to be interfered with, alternative moorings of similar strength [would] be required.

100 Years Ago

Tattooing in Shetland – Until recently the art of tattooing was, we believe, practically unknown in Shetland. No professional tattooist had hitherto imagined, evidently, that it would be worth his while to set up his studio as far north as Lerwick: and the distinction there­fore rests with Mr Josiah Samuel Kitteridge, who claims to be the pioneer of tattooing in the Shetland Isles. By request, a representative of this paper called on Mr Kitteridge this week, and in the course of a short interview, he found Mr Kitteridge to be an enthusiast in his art. In Aberdeen, where he is well-known, he has achieved much success, his headquarters being in New Market Buildings.

Mr Kitteridge has been in Ler­wick all this summer, and, we learn, has had a most successful season. Our representative found him to be an expert in his craft, and also an artist in black and white of no mean ability. He was initiated into the mysteries of his profession, by a Japanese couple while in Syd­ney. He has practised in Aberdeen for over four years,
and during that time, he has tattooed no less than 1000 men and women. He possesses a huge collection of designs to choose from. Special ornamentations are sketched by Mr Kitteridge personally. He executes the many designs associated with tattooing with wonderful rapidity. Electrical needles are used which puncture the skin at the rate of
800 times a minute. All his inks he makes himself from the seven primary colours. From his antiseptic methods of treatment he claims that there can never be any evil effects follow from his tattooing. The part of the body to be treated is washed, shaved, and then thoroughly disinfected. Small designs such as flowers and butterflies and the like he executes in the matter of a few minutes, but in the case of elaborate designs covering a large surface more than one sitting is frequently necessary. He possesses numerous testimonials from dis­tinguished mili­tary and naval officers, and states that of all the customers he ever had no evil phys­ical effects followed his treatment. Mr Kit­teridge who leaves for the south this week purposes returning to Lerwick again after the New Year.

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Ireland and the Irish Question – Lecture at Dunrossness – In the Bruce Memorial Hall, Dunrossness, on Saturday evening of last week, a lecture on “Ireland and the Irish Question” was delivered by Miss Armstrong, Belfast. Mrs Bruce of Sumburgh presided, and the hall was filled to its utmost capacity, the lecturer being listened to with great interest.

The subject was not treated after the usual fashion of part politics; but by Irish songs, lantern pictures of the scenery, the industries, and the peasant life of Ireland, an effort was made to make the evening bright and interesting, and to enlist the symp­athy of all present in the welfare of Ulster and the loyal districts of Ireland.

The lecturer succeeded admirably in engaging the attention of the large audience, and as an Irish lady speaking of the affairs of her own country, and expressing her views of what the country required, there was that sympathy and vividness in her descriptions that can only come from the first-hand knowledge of the native born. The various points were well confirmed by many quotations from the speeches of both Unionist and Nationalist statesmen, and illustrated by stories of boycotting, cattle driving, and other forms of intimidation that have made many of the loyal Irish subjects of our own King go in fear for the safety of their property and even of their lives.


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