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Hay's Dock

The oldest surviving commercial quay in Shetland, and one of the earliest remaining sections of Lerwick Harbour, Hay's Dock was built c. 1815 on North Ness by the firm of Hay and Ogilvy, quickly becoming a busy centre of the fishing industry, with curing houses and store sheds. By the 1850s, boat building was an important activity here, with workshops and warehouses for the goods traded, which included Welsh slate. Following the First World War, Hay's Dock went into a long period of decline and eventually became a small boat harbour. Today, the dock is B-listed owing to its historical importance and it has been regenerated as part of Shetland Museum and Archives which opened in 2007. Some of the museum's historic boats can be seen in the dock, including a recently-built sixareen, a traditional Shetland open fishing boat, and a restored Fifie, a fishing boat typical of the East coast of Scotland, called The Swan. The dock is also now home to art works, such as the Shetland Receivers, and an immense propeller blade from the ocean liner RMS Oceanic, which was wrecked off the island of Foula in 1914.

The dock was acquired by Shetland Amenity Trust in the late 1990s and was subject to a comprehensive restoration by Edinburgh-based Groves-Raines Architects. This utilised traditional materials including natural lime in mortar and recycled elements, such as old granite sets for the promenade, seasoned Bressay slates to re-roof the pier store and reclaimed wrought iron. Traditional boat building skills are demonstrated by craftsmen in the boat-building shed, while the pier store is again used for its original purpose, storing boat gear.


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