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Horse drawn gig

The original gig in the Aithsetter barn - Photos: Shetland Museum and Archives

A RARE horse-drawn gig will go on show in the foyer of the Shetland Museum and Archives on Thursday, following two years of intensive restoration.

The lightweight carriage was donated to the museum after having been locked away in a barn for 90 years.

It belonged to Joanny Halcrow, who died in 1918. He had lived in South Africa, and after returning home to Shetland ran a small shop at Aithsetter.

The restored gig with proud workmen Sonny Morrison and Erik Erasmuson.

When it was given to the museum, the gig was dilapidated but, having been kept indoors it was remarkably complete, and restoration was possible.

Museum attendants Sonny Morrison and Erik Erasmuson worked for two years to painstakingly renovate the vehicle to its original appearance, using accurate techniques and materials.

Throughout the whole job the restorers have kept as much as possible of the original vehicle, and only authentic materials were used to make replacements.

Metal fittings are in iron, not steel, and all nuts and bolts are imperial, not metric thread. 

A seat and lamps of other now-gone gigs completed the construction, and finishing touches included matting and the upholstered cushions.

And they used many 19th-century coachbuilder’s skills in the project, from fitting spokes and felloes (parts of the wheels), to making the horsehair and straw seat.