On this day in history : 3rd September 1954 – The National Trust buys Fair Isle, the remote island situated between Shetland and Orkney, in a bid to help secure its future….
Fair Isle, which is just 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, is probably the most remote inhabited island of the British Isles…. and is located 24 miles from the Shetland mainland…. The population of around 60 mostly live on the south end of the island; there is a shop, a community hall, a fire station and a primary school – which typically has between 5 and 10 pupils at any one time…. Older children generally tend to receive their secondary education off the island….
The main occupations of the islanders include fishing and crofting – and of course the island is famous for its Fair Isle knitwear….which was made popular in the 1920s by the Prince of Wales, who frequently wore a Fair Isle jumper whilst playing golf….
In 2010 a new observatory was built at a cost of £4m, consisting of a two-storey wooden lodge, capable of accommodating 30 guests…. It even boasted a small bar for the evenings – no doubt proving popular as there is no public house on the island…. Tragically this new observatory was destroyed by fire on the 10th of March 2019…. But the people of Fair Isle are resilient – plans are already well underway and all efforts are being made to reopen in 2021….