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Has the SIC finally killed the Saleroom?


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#1 Ghostrider

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 12:56 AM

Unless someone can tell differently, the last sale ever took place in the Saleroom (Shetland Auctions) last Saturday.

I have no idea how long the Saleroom has been in virtually continuous existence, but it would be very difficult to say the SIC has ever given it the slightest help or encouragement unless pressured in to it in my time of knowing it.

I first encounterd the Saleroom in 1976 when it was in, what I believe is now a residential flat, upstairs from where the Bag & Travel Shop was in Mounthooly Street. The premises as I recall them weren't particularly large, but between items for sale and attendees, the place what stuffed whenever I had a look. Some folk only attended as it served as a social occasion for them, some attended purely to buy, but most probably attended for both. The whole scene was presided over by Harry Hay and a number of very able and willing staff, who regardless what your purpose for being there was, provided an efficient service, and any visit a unique entertainment experience in and of itself.

Before the end of the 70's the premises suddenly became unavailable when the Norwegian owner of the whole block became insolvent and the receivers moved in. This resulted in a move to a derelict Nissan hut in Mair's yard, which had been almost burned out a few years previously while being used as a car repair garage. If the jungle drums can be believed, the SIC were of little help and seemed largely disinterested in either the service the Saleroom provided, or in the fact it was a local business which, with help had potential to grow.

How long sales continued in the hut, I don't know, but by the latter 80's the SIC seemed to have finally accepted the Saleroom was a service and a business the had the same right to support from them as any other Shetland business, and the old slaughterhouse became the Saleroom. It was a reasonable size, well lit, airy, reasonably warm and dry, which hadn't always been the case previously, but it wasn't in the best of locations nor did it have the best of access for the purpose, plus it was simply a case that it was sitting doing nothing so they offered it. Basically, little effort went in to it on the SIC's part, nor did it cost them anything, but at least they were showing an interest and willing.

In time the redevelopment of the whole Market Green saw the old slaughterhouse demolished and the Saleroom had to move on, but they seemed to be quickly and reasonably readily offered a shed in Market Street behind where Ganson's/Leask's had been, as would be expected to happen when a landlord was also a public authority with a remit to encourage and develop local business. Granted, it was, I believe, again just sitting there doing nothing, but IMHO it was well suited to the purpose. The location was okay, access was reasonable, and it was a modern light and airy building.

All seemed well, as although the passage of time had inevitably seen Harry Hay and crew have to step aside, but a new operator was readily found. Sales seemed to continue to be well supported with both goods for sale and buyer, and one could have been forgiven for assuming the Saleroom's future was reasonably secure as a permanent part of the local fabric for as long as sellers and buyers supported it.

Until around eighteen months ago that is, when an apparent change in the SIC's attitude became apparent. As I understand it, somewhere around that time Shetland Auctions were served with a notice to quit the shed in Market Street. Why, never became apparent, at the time, but the assumption was made there was plans for the building/site. DId these ever materialise, what is the shed used for now, or what is on the site now, or is it just sitting untouched since a year past in April? I've heard no mention of a new use for it or the site, but I've not been past it either to see, so you tell me.

Despite serving notice, by all accounts the SIC, as might have been expected from them in their development role, neither offered alternative premises nor suggestions of where ones might be. It was only after a public outcry they identified and offered an old classroom in King Harald Street, which while adequate, was a far less convenient location with relatively poor access.

That said Shetland Auctions have made it work for the last year and a bit, and if anything have grown the business slightly. There have been frequent sales, each with a good amount of sale items, and by all accounts an equally good number of attendees, with some items reaching surprising prices. Yet, a few months ago, barely a year after moving in Shetland Auctions have again been served notice to quit, so that Hjaltland can take vacant possession of the whole site to develop it in the planned residential use.

The Shetland Auctions Facebook page currently stands at 2852 likes and has 2887 followers, so this is not some small 'clique' thing, but a service/business that the equivalent of over 10% of the population have taken the time and trouble to declare an interest in.

I have no idea what the current operators plans are as I have no connection to them, so I can only comment of the announcements they have made publically, and that is last Saturday's one was the last, forever, end of. Due to the SIC ending the lease.

There is no word of an alternative site being offered this time either, giving a message to all that once again the SIC have no interest in assisting the Saleroom to continue, and will quite happily see it vanish from trace. In '77 it wasn't uncommon to hear the sentiment expressed in, or in reference to the Saleroom, "Da Cooncil tink da Saleroom is fur selling ony owld hellery ta da lowest of the low fur dey canna afford better, an wid gledly see da back o' da lot da morn", seemingly old attitudes die hard even after 40 years, as after what seemed like a little acceptance and support in the 90's and 00's its reverted to type.

Perhaps the operators have gotten fed up of being pushed around from pillar to post like an afterthought shunted in any old place that happened to vacant for the moment again and again, in their shoes I might well feel the same. What surprises me though is the, as far as I'm aware, total lack of protest by the public at the loss of this facility and service. Don't people know, or don't they care any more, or have they all decided to just accept that the SIC are never going to pay more than lip service to supporting the service and business, without which it would struggle to survive paying commercial rents, and just let the SIC do what they've hoped to quietly get away with more often than not, make it go away quickly and quietly. While the operator's own efforts might well have been adequate previously to eventually secure the premises they eventually secured, there is no guaranteed that would have happened, and arguably the public protest at the loss of the Saleroom at the very least made the operators' ability to secure the premises they did, a much simpler exercise, and may well have made the difference between being offered something and being offered nothing.

If for no other reason than today's 'green' orientated society and public services, it seems surprising the the SIC aren't being more proactive and helpful to a facility like the Saleroom. The service it provides is recycling as its simplest, and its users were active recyclers long before the term became a in everyday word. NEver mind that in its own small way is both contributing to the local economy and providing an in demand service to both the sellers and the buyers.
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#2 tiodylb17

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 08:50 AM

The guys doing it are quite old now and I think they no longer want to do it.

 

So it could easily be restarted somewhere else by another group.


Edited by tiodylb17, 29 July 2017 - 08:51 AM.


#3 Ghostrider

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

^ That's not what's been announced publically though, it's all been about the loss of premesis as far as I've seen. Retirement has never been mentioned.

There's been no attempt, as far as I'm aware of the business being offered for sale either, which would seem strange in a retirement situation, even without premises the trading name and goodwill has some value.

If they have decided to retire from it, and also decided to let the name and goodwill die off rather than hassle with selling on, of course they're perfectly free to do so. Just comes off as suspicious that deciding to do so coincides with their premises being pulled from under them yet one more time, and the only reason being cited for it is the loss of premises.

If indeed they don't want to do it any more, it makes you wonder whether it the running of the actual sales they don't want to do any more, or the hassle of having to relocate every few years because the only thing the SIC ever offer is someplace that's sitting doing nothing at the moment rather than someplace that is likely to remain available longer term.

Certainly anyone can, or could have at any previous time, also organise and run similar sales, and have done. The Marts back in the day when on the South Road with a resident auctioneer held occasional sales of household etc goods in direct competition to the Saleroom. Around the time the Saleroom had to vacate the Mounthooly Street premises, Gordon Siegel, I think it was organised and ran sales in direct competition from the then vacant Tod's building on the street where Harry's is now, but that was short lived.

Unless anyone doing so in the future obtained the trading name "Shetland Auctions" from the current withdrawing operators though, which is something they do not appear to be currently offering up to anyone who might have an interest, it would be a new start operation, rather than a restart. A subtle difference perhaps, but one that has significance with regards to public perception, and consequently the future prospects of an operation.

#4 tiodylb17

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 03:00 PM

There was an article about it where they talked with one of the owners who said they had all collectively decided to give it up, he had a period of ill health and did not feel he wanted to continue with it, its not a money spinner at best as quoted by the late Harry Hay it might be enough to get you a holiday every now and again, the auctioneer guys that did the sales has given it up as well, it may have been either ii Shetland or Shetland life etc but its definitely out there and that is the case Ghostie



#5 Frances144

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 04:00 PM

Wow! I remember - Harry Hay auction. Fag hanging out of his mouth and he was brilliant! A real education in auctions,

#6 Ghostrider

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 05:26 PM

There was an article about it where they talked with one of the owners who said they had all collectively decided to give it up, he had a period of ill health and did not feel he wanted to continue with it, its not a money spinner at best as quoted by the late Harry Hay it might be enough to get you a holiday every now and again, the auctioneer guys that did the sales has given it up as well, it may have been either ii Shetland or Shetland life etc but its definitely out there and that is the case Ghostie


No idea. I never see either of those mags, at best there might be one or two single items once or twice in a year in them that would be of interest, so not cost effective to buy them.

Just strikes me a 'funny', if the closing down is genuine, and I'm not saying it not, that there's been nothing in the more mainstream local media, especially given the longstanding 'institution' the Saleroom was, and that the current operators have cited no other reason for the ending than the loss of the lease for the current building on their main advertising outlet, their Facebook page.

No argument that it isn't nor is ever likely to be a goldmine for anyone, but with a little outside the box lateral thinking, there are numerous ways that it could have been brought together with other ventures to compliment each other, or been an integral part of something bigger, making the whole more successful, if someone wanted to take it that way. A pity no-one appears interested/willing to do so though. Another life I'd have jumped at the chance, but hey ho.

#7 Lerwick antiques

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 01:17 AM

I have been at nearly every sale over the last 20 years. Started going when the auction was in Harbour street, then market street then King Harold street.

 

According to the council, it is no longer in the policy to support recycling.

 

The council has absolutely no where to re-locate the auction to as they have sold or selling off all their bigger buildings to Hjaltland or other firms to convert or demolish for flats etc.

 

So the council has basically said the building is going to be demolished and we have no where else for you to go.

 

So it's either shut down or go private rent on a building which would be a high rent, and, with only a percentage of the sales, would be losing money.

 

So that's basically how it is.

 

The buildings maybe have not been the best condition over the last 40 years of Shetland auctions but they have always had the councils backing until now.

 

So, well done SIC,


Edited by Lerwick antiques, 31 July 2017 - 01:18 AM.

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#8 Urabug

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 09:16 AM

Wait for it,some national antique establishment will find there way into Shetland and set up shop. Any bets! 



#9 Property2017

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 11:11 AM

The SIC do recycling at the dump. And they also do it indirectly with the Cope scrap store, I heard locally that they signed a deal with the government called 0 waste which will see a purpose built facility taking out plastics, metals, glass, and anything else to recycle .

 

I think they sale room was in the wrong location anyway and that area would be much better used for more housing.


Edited by Property2017, 31 July 2017 - 11:13 AM.


#10 Suffererof1crankymofo

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 11:54 AM

The SIC do recycling at the dump. And they also do it indirectly with the Cope scrap store, I heard locally that they signed a deal with the government called 0 waste which will see a purpose built facility taking out plastics, metals, glass, and anything else to recycle .

 

I think they sale room was in the wrong location anyway and that area would be much better used for more housing.

You're forgetting some important points.

 

Currently, if somebody was requiring a house clearance, they quite often use the sale room.  COPE cherrypick, and refuse to take everything, plus they are donations and not everyone can donate.  For example, if someone has a relative die and they are then the Executor, you can't just donate the entire house contents to charity but are expected to sell the house contents.  So what isn't sold privately through ads in shops or on Facebook, needs recycling ... and if you're out of town, the SIC would charge an arm and an leg to collect the stuff.  Hardly very green.



#11 Ghostrider

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 09:32 PM

The council has absolutely no where to re-locate the auction to as they have sold or selling off all their bigger buildings to Hjaltland or other firms to convert or demolish for flats etc.


That may well be so right at this moment in time, but the irony is that within a few months the SIC will have more vacant buildings on their hands than they've ever had previously, in the shape of the contents of the AHS site, and they've barely begun thinking about what happens to them.

Would it have had any negative effect on anyone if the SIC had agreed a handover date with Hjaltland a few months later in the year, to allow something on the AHS site to become available. I can't imagine it would have had much on Hjaltland given the other projects they have ongoing, and it certainly couldn't have harmed the SIC, given that the site has hung on their hands for 40 years, under-utilised and without a designated purpose, and has been without what could be considered a permanent occupier even in part for the last ten of them.

That said, the lack of having a suitable building to offer was only half the story, there was nothing to stop the SIC, if they'd been willing, to assist in locating a privately owned building and considered part paying the rent for a limited period. That is the kind of thing their development role is supposed to be doing, is it not?

What's going on with Clements these days? IS it just sitting there still owned by Malc Younger and looking a bit sorry for itself after fthe fire, or has something been done with it? I haven't a clue as it's not a part of town I chose to frequent without a damn good reason. Not saying it could have been considered as a possible venue if it's just sitting there decaying quietly, as although in and of itself it might have been fine enough, location and access is about as unsuitable as it could be. Just thrown it in here to illustrate what is still out there, and possibly available.....

What does the old incinerator building at Rovee Hedd do these days, is it even still there? It was last I looked, but that wasn't yesterday. Not the most ideal of locations, but could have done the job..... The list goes on.

#12 engineer21

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 07:54 PM

Nortech Marine have the old incinerator site, think its a coating facility now