Looking Back – short stories from the John O’Groat Journal of yesteryear

Daniel Wares Georgeson (seated front, behind framed photo), who founded the law firm Wick DW Georgeson and Son in 1887, at a rally with other stalwarts of the community.

Wick Club Licensing Objections

Excerpt from the Groat of January 13, 1922

Wick Town Council has agreed to file an objection to the renewal of the licenses of the Caithness Club and the St Fergus Lodge of Freemasons.

While liquor licensing was a sheriff’s job, the council had been notified of the request and agreed to oppose it on the grounds that the town had voted to go “dry”.

While permit-free voting had yet to be enforced due to legal appeals by licensees, councilors said a verdict would be issued as soon as possible.

“When the time came for the enforcement of the temperance law, it would be an intolerable injustice if the publicans were to close their drinking places and the licensed grocers were to cease their sale of wines and spirits, and if the hotels were only allowed to operate under strict regulations, while these clubs could continue with virtually no regulation or supervision,” Reverend Robertson explained.

However, Bailie Green argued that the town was not yet ‘dry’. “Members of these clubs are gentlemen as far as I know. I see no reason why their liberty and freedom should be curtailed by this society.”

However, Bailie Green’s view found little support and the objection motion passed.

Tug of war around an old school

Excerpt from the Groat of January 14, 1972

A row had broken out in Auckengill over the use of the old village school.

For the previous 10 years the building had been lent, rent-free, to Alastair Sutherland for the storage of a collection of artistic productions of Caithness interest. During this time he had opened the building for exhibitions, which had been considered a “strong attraction for tourists”, although such an exhibition had not been held for at least two or three years.

Now the Auckengill Hall Committee wanted to use part of the school for temporary storage while major repair work was carried out on the village hall.

A solution had been sought with the proposal that the works of art remain but that a separate area be made available to store the items in the room, and the County Clerk, Mr. RH Stevenson, understood that this had to be done. produce. However, that was not the case and the councilors were now being asked to make a decision.

John O’Groats adviser Malcolm Green argued it was “a case of Alastair Sutherland against the people of Auckengill”.

Councilors agreed that the community should come before the individual and that pressure should be put on Mr Sutherland to get his collection out ‘reasonably quickly’.

Nirex move ‘extremely unlikely’

Excerpt from the Groat of January 17, 1997

Dounreay manager Roy Nelson had poured cold water on speculation that the Far North could once again become the center of the bid to establish a nationwide nuclear dump.

As local protesters pledged to step up their campaign to stave off any prospect of development in the region, Mr Nelson, who until recently was the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s representative on the board of administration of Nirex, claimed that the speculation was “ill-conceived”.

Concerns have arisen following the leak of an internal assessment of the suitability of the preferred site at Sellafield. Nirex had considered Dounreay as the reserve option.

Mr Nelson thought the two sites were so close geologically that excluding one would exclude the other. He said Nirex was “investigating the best possible site, and I think it would be extremely unlikely that if they failed at Sellafield they would ever consider coming to Dounreay.”

Elsewhere, a delay in the publication of local accommodation guides has been blamed for a dearth of tourist inquiries after Christmas. Local accommodation providers have approached the Scottish Highlands Tourist Board, fearing that potential visitors will go elsewhere if they do not have the information they need to make reservations in the Grand North.


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