Whalsay family of 10 siblings return to home site

A Whalsay family of 10 siblings, who are all still living in the isle along with their spouses, have marked their longevity with a return to the site where their home used to be.

The Williamson family, whose ages range from 71 to 88, grew up at Seaview in Marrister, which originally had two bedrooms and no electricity or running water.

Their parents both lived into their 100s with their father, Gibbie, dying at the age of 102 and their mother, Joan, dying just short of her 101st birthday.

Robbie Williamson, 87, is brother to Dodie, 71, Willie, 76, Gibbie, 78, Arthur, 83, Alex, 85, and Johnnie, 88. Also in the family are sisters Marry Anne Anderson, 74, 80 year-old Betty Irvine and Ruby Kay 81.

Robbie recalled travelling over to Hamister to collect water, and having to share the same bathwater with his siblings, which led him trying to avoid getting the last bath.

“I mind there only being two bedrooms, but there were three to end up with – and there was no running water or electricity. We had to carry everything from the well.

“In 1947 it was that dry summer and all the wells dried up. We got those tanks and we had to hurl the water at Hamister. There wasn’t much washing of faces or baths then.”

Read the full story in today’s Shetland Times.


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