Coming Home

 

Emigration was an essential part of Fair Isle’s story, but particularly between1910 and 1945, the outside world was also insecure. Between 1920 and 1939 the average wage in the UK was £4 a week and labourers earned much less.  During the 1930s wages were reduced in the public sector and elsewhere, as the economy faltered.  Some unions agreed not to cut manpower, but men only worked (and were paid) every second week! 

 

For much of this time there were 2 million people unemployed in Britain and at times it was nearer 3 million, with scant unemployment benefit.  Yet many of the émigrés, or their children, went home to visit.  For those who travelled by steamer to Fair Isle in the 1920s and 30s, the full return fare to Lerwick had to be paid (around £2 for 2nd class travel), plus £1 10s for the steamer to stop at Fair Isle, a considerable amount of money for someone earning £4 a week (or less).  At some point the steamer agreed to cut its engines rather than simply slowing down, which made the transfer from steamer to yoal slightly less hazardous.

 

Does anyone know if the Fair Isle men who met the steamer in their yoals, received any of this £1 10s?

© 2015 by Fair Isle Ghosts. Version 1.0 created by Jenny Tweedie with Wix.com

 

Please do not reproduce any of the content on this site without permission.

 

Photographs courtesy Dave Wheeler, Beryl Abernethy, Maureen Brice, Mary Jann, Tommy Stout and Andrew Tweedie.

 

 

  • Twitter App Icon

This website is a work in progress. Please check back regularly for updates and improvements!

This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now