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Whalsay, Symbister, Harbour View (Formerly Bremen Booth), Including Garden and Retaining Walls, and Outbuilding

A Category C Listed Building in North Isles, Shetland Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 60.3421 / 60°20'31"N

Longitude: -1.0245 / 1°1'28"W

OS Eastings: 453946

OS Northings: 1162410

OS Grid: HU539624

Mapcode National: GBR R1TD.P4K

Mapcode Global: XHF97.29RW

Entry Name: Whalsay, Symbister, Harbour View (Formerly Bremen Booth), Including Garden and Retaining Walls, and Outbuilding

Listing Date: 18 October 1977

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352668

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18594

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Nesting

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: North Isles

Parish: Nesting

Traditional County: Shetland

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Description

Possibly 1563, incorporated in 18th century rebuilding, with 19th century alteration. Single storey over laigh floor 5-bay asymmetrical former trading booth and house. Harled and lined walls with painted margins to doors and windows. Projecting cills to windows.

E (HARBOUR) ELEVATION: asymmetrical, small windows at laigh floor in centre and outer bays, vertically-boarded timber doors off-set to left in bays flanking centre; regular fenestration at principal floor in centre and outer bays, square window in bay to left of centre and blank bay to right of centre.

S GABLE: single window to right at principal floor.

W (REAR) ELEVATION: laigh floor concealed; small window to left of centre at principal floor, gabled entrance porch with lean-to addition to right of centre.

N GABLE: single storey cement-rendered mono-pitch addition at intermediate level.

Modern glazing throughout. Purple-grey slate roof with concrete skew copes. Harled gablehead stacks, coped, with circular cans to N stack.

GARDEN AND RETAINING WALLS: random rubble walls enclosing garden extending around dock to NE; single storey rubble mono-pitch outbuilding adjoining N wall. Retaining wall aligned with E elevation adjoining modern harled and coped wall to road at S, bounding S side of triangular E garden.

Statement of Interest

It is thought that the laigh floor was originally the booth occupied by Herman Schroder in 1563 when it was attacked and destroyed by pirates. The Hanseatic heritage of this building was formerly marked by the naming of the brae to the rear as Bremer Strasse. The Hanseatic League was a trading body of merchants and shipowners centred on Lubeck, operating from Russia to Portugal, whose influence peaked in the 14th century. In Shetland, Hansa trade lasted 500 years, first by way of the League's 'Kontor' in Bergen, then as illicit trade became the norm, direct with Hamburg and Bremen. Stockfish (dried and salted cod and ling) was exported, and luxury goods imported. The Germans retained their trading by extending credit from one season to the next. A decline in activities at the end of the 17th century came about by the emergence of Scottish merchants and then local merchant-lairds, famine, disease, and war when the French plundered German ships. The final demise was the 1707 Act of Union which favoured local commercial activity. The historic importance of this building is often ignored in favour of the nearby pier house, which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the Bremen Booth. It is more likely that the importance of the pier house was as a building which served this building and its harbour. It seems probable that the original building was a traditional single storey and attic trading booth of the 18th century, perhaps incorporating earlier fabric, until the wallhead was raised in the earlier 19th century to give a 2-storey W elevation. A drawing of 1988 shows it with lying-pane timber sash and case glazing in the principal floor windows, which may well be survivals from earlier 19th century alterations. Although the building?s principal importance is the visual and historic links with the neighbouring dock and pier house, loss of the original glazing has significantly marred the character of the building and its surroundings.

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