George Nelson

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George Maxwell Nelson M. B. E. (b. 7 October 1901, South Califf, Tingwall, d. 31 December 1976, Edinburgh) was an author, farmer, builder, taxi driver, and County Councillor for Burra between 1964 and 1970. He was the author of The Story of the Tingwall Kirk and he also built Herrislea House Hotel.

He was the second child of George Nelson (b. 27 September 1867, South Califf) and his wife Agnes Henderson (b.11 August 1868, Dunrossness. He married Catherine Ann Jane Jamieson (b. 22 October 1905, Scalloway) on the 16th of January, 1924. They had three children, Agnes Margaret, Elizabeth Ann and George Thomas Nelson.

Prior to moving to Tingwall, the Nelson family were resident for generations at Brough (Bressay), their surname being originally Neilson.

In his book Traditional Life in Shetland, James Nicolson wrote of George: "His death in December 1976 robbed the islands of one of their most noted authorities on all aspects of traditional life."

He unsuccessfully contested the 1950 Tingwall County Council election.


Political Career


A widespread myth concerning the Bressay Nelson family is that they were related to the US gangster Baby Face Nelson. The gangster was in fact of Belgian descent and used the name Nelson as an alias.

External Links

Zetland County Council
Preceded by
Alexander Bennet
Alexander Bennet Headshot.JPG
Member for

Succeeded by
Barbara Anderson
Burra County Councillors
Councillors David Gray (1890-1898) • Henry Henderson (1898-1898) • Charles Lennie (1898-1909) • Robert Inkster (1909-1913) • Adam Jamieson (1913-1919) • George Anderson (1920-1922) • John Henderson (1922-1938) • James Pottinger (1938-1955) • Robert Strachan (1955-1959) • Alexander Bennet (1959-1964) • George Nelson (1964-1970) • Barbara Anderson (1970-1972) • William Cumming (1972-1975)