Power and State

Since 1800, the state has increasingly intervened in life in Shetland. In this zone, visitors can find out about the positive and negative effects of this on the islands and islanders.

All islanders now enjoy the benefits of education, health care, law and order. As the influence of government grew, the once great power of the church to dominate lives decreased, although there were now more denominations than just one to choose from.

As Britain was dragged into war, this affected Shetland ever-more. Two centuries ago Shetlanders were forced into the Navy. In the First World War islanders were conscripted and Naval operations were based here. By the Second World War, fortified Shetland was in the line of fire.

Themes in this section include: Religion, law and order, local and national government, education, health services, and war.

Highlights to look out for include:

  • A box containing surgeon’s tools – The doctor in Unst around 1900 operated on his patients using this kit.
  • A portrait of Reverend Ingram - The oldest known (102) practising Minister in the world at time of his death; who is said to have driven the trows from Unst with the power of his preaching!
  • An example of the school blazer worn by pupils at the Anderson Educational Institute, before it became the Anderson High School