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Community / Proposals to give heritage status to Clickimin centre and Diana memorial being considered

The Clickimin Leisure centre pool.

APPLICATIONS to give a leisure centre in Lerwick and a memorial at the town’s Victoria Pier historic environment status are currently being assessed.

Applications for designation for the Clickimin Leisure Complex and the Diana memorial fountain at the pier are under consideration by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Designations from HES included listed building status, and scheduled monuments. They are designed to protect and preserve features of historic or architectural significance.

The application for the Clickimin has been submitted by the Twentieth Century Society, an architectural heritage charity which has a campaign to see a series of notable leisure centres in the UK given listed status.

The leisure centre was formally opened in 1985, and it is said to have “vitalised recreation and sports on the islands”.

It has grown to include a popular swimming pool, a gym, a bowls hall and a squash court, while the centre caters for a number of other uses and hosts large events.

The FaulknerBrowns Architects firm was involved in its design.

The application concluded: “The historic significance of the design stems from the importance of the project for the islands, with the centre replicated as part of a comprehensive masterplan, transforming inhabitants’ access to leisure.

“As the original landmark which lit the fuse for these constructions and provided a model for their design, Clickimin is of exceptional architectural and historic interest.”

Meanwhile the memorial fountain at Victoria Pier, made in 1890, pays tribute to the crew of the Hull whaling boat Diana, which had many Shetlanders on board.

In 1866 she became stuck in ice in Baffin Bay for more than six months, resulting in some of the crew dying.

The Diana memorial in Lerwick. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Other crew were said to be malnourished and were left in poor health, with the ship eventually returning to Ronas Voe in 1867.

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The drinking fountain on the memorial has since been replaced by a chalice.

The application to HES says it an “important touchstone to the C19 [19th Century] whaling industry of both Scotland and England, particularly in the Shetland Islands and Kingston upon Hull, England where it was a significant part of their economies”.

The person or group behind the application is not made public.

The application adds: “The monument was raised in 1890 by the brother of the ship’s surgeon, whose diaries recounted the horrors of the Diana’s Artic ordeal, which were later published and can still be read today.

“According to one source, the drinking fountain has been moved twice, first during the expansion of the Victoria Pier in the late 1950s, then in the 1990s, when the pump station was built.

“Earlier it was a drinking fountain, but after it was moved the second time, to its present location, a beautiful chalice made by the artist Alan Hart replaced the water spout.

“In addition to its historical associations with the Anglo-Scottish whaling industry, the drinking fountain is a quality piece of C19 street furniture and demonstrates a high degree of artistic endeavour.”

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