1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lerwick
LERWICK, a municipal and police burgh of Shetland, Scotland, the most northerly town in the British Isles. Pop. (1901) 4281. It is situated on Brassay Sound, a fine natural harbour, on the east coast of the island called Mainland, 115 m. N.E. of Kirkwall, in Orkney, and 340 m. from Leith by steamer. The town dates from the beginning of the 17th century, and the older part consists of a flagged causeway called Commercial Street, running for 1 m. parallel with the sea (in which the gable ends of several of the quaint-looking houses stand), and so narrow in places as not to allow of two vehicles passing each other. At right angles to this street lanes ascend the hill-side to Hillhead, where the more modern structures and villas have been built. At the north end stands Fort Charlotte, erected by Cromwell, repaired in 1665 by Charles II. and altered in 1781 by George III., after whose queen it was named. It is now used as a depôt for the Naval Reserve, for whom a large drill hall was added. The Anderson Institute, at the south end, was constructed as a secondary school in 1862 by Arthur Anderson, a native, who also presented the Widows’ Asylum in the same quarter, an institution intended by preference for widows of Shetland sailors. The town-hall, built in 1881, contains several stained-glass windows, two of which were the gift of citizens of Amsterdam and Hamburg, in gratitude for services rendered by the islanders to fishermen and seamen of those ports. Lerwick’s main industries are connected with the fisheries, of which it is an important centre. Docks, wharves, piers, curing stations and warehouses have been provided or enlarged to cope with the growth of the trade, and an esplanade has been constructed along the front. The town is also the chief distributing agency for the islands, and carries on some business in knitted woollen goods. One mile west of Lerwick is Clickimin Loch, separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land. On an islet in the lake stands a ruined “broch” or round tower.