Memorable buildings (David Strachan)

On my daily walk I often pass by Islesburgh Community Centre, at one time my former seat of learning when it was Lerwick Central Public School.

Here I spent 10 almost carefree years, and at the time I took the building for granted.

Today I look up with great admiration at da Central with its wonderful spires and other attributes. This was a time when midder-wit reigned supreme.

Built in 1902 using such basic implements as a mason’s hammer and chisel, a plumb line, spirit level, hand borrow, and without the aid of modern-day scaffolding, I salute the men who constructed this building.

Having been employed in the erection of the Aberdeen University chemistry building in the mid-1960s, along with work such as replacing an article in a stained glass window in the town hall, I feel I have room to comment on this subject.

At the new school at Clickimin cranes almost as high as the Staney Hill were used on what I would term a straightforward building. How the men who built the Central school managed with nothing else but a block and tackle should receive much praise indeed.

In the aftermath of the White House debacle and other cock-ups, I believe the continued dependence on computers in many areas of life makes the brain less active and here mistakes will be made.

There is no finer example of a long-surviving building as that of Seaview Cottage on the South Road at Clickimin, more well known to Lerwegians as “da Matchbox”. Built in 1880 this peerie hoose has stood up to severe south-east gales for almost 140 years.

As a peerie boy, walking to school after a week of severe gales and passing da Matchbox door, lying on da briggiestane was an olick or peerie ting a ling, evidently swept ower da roof with a large wave.

There is always talk of “da guid auld days”. It certainly rings true when buildings were made for longevity.

I hope when present-day buildings need replacing there is enough money left in the fast-diminishing kitty.

David Strachan
1 St Olaf Street,


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