Local Government

The Shetland Archives holds records of Shetland’s local authorities from the 18th century onwards: Lerwick Town Council (1818-), Zetland County Council (1890-) and its predecessors, and Shetland Islands Council (1974-).

The records deal with every kind of public business: education, public assistance, policing valuation and rating, motor taxation, and many others. Shetlanders loved committees, and we have the minutes of hundreds of them.

School log books and admission registers contain information for family historians; registers of poor and applications for poor relief tell us about Shetland society, and the way that the rich looked after the less fortunate; motor taxation records preserve the history of your car. These papers were created for administrative purposes, but they are very useful for modern researchers.

Inside Local Government

Valuation Rolls

Valuation rolls are records of property taxation by local authorities. Beginning in 1855, they were based on rental value up to 1989, when rates for domestic property were abolished and replaced by a charge usually known as the Poll Tax. This system was in turn replaced by one based on capital value.

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