John Robertson (iv)
For other people with the same name, see John Robertson.
Robertson was the son of Thomas Murray Robertson and Grace Pottinger. He began his working life as a clerk in the North of Scotland shipping Company's office in Lerwick, and later became purser on the Earl of Zetland. Eventually he became a commission agent. He was the secretary of a group who acquired the steamer Norseman to ply between the mainland and Shetland, as part of an unsuccessful scheme to compete against the North of Scotland's company's monopoly in the islands.
Soon afterwards he bought a coal hulk, and built up a successful business supplying steam drifters. He then bought the property of the Malakoff company to do repair and carpentry work. After the First World War he established the slipway and an engineering shop there. During the war he was a salvage contractor: he salvaged the sunken steam drifter Foxglove, renaming her Fitful Head. He ploughed back the profits he made with her into the purchase of more drifters. As a result he formed a herring salesman's business as well, and eventually had curing stations at Lerwick and Collafirth. The drifters were requisitioned during the war, and at that point Robertson branched into marine repairs and the servicing of naval ships.
After the war he bought extensive property at Garthspool, with a view to establishing a shipyard capable of accommodating trawlers. He also formed the Scapa Flow Salvage Company, Ltd, and successfully raised four of the German destroyers which had been scuttled there. By 1927, like many others, he was in financial difficulties. The Scapa company survived, however, and was eventually renamed Robertsons (Lerwick) Ltd, coal merchants, drifter owners and salvage contractors.
Robertson became a member of the County Council in 1907, and he was convener from 1917-23. In later years he was member for North Unst, retiring in 1949. Before the second world war he was a town councillor. He was a staunch Conservative, unlike his equally brilliant brother James Robertson.
He died in Lerwick on 16 July 1958.
In 1906 he became the first leader of the Up Helly-Aa fire festival to use the title 'Guizer Jarl'. Previously, the title had been 'Chief Worthy Guizer'.
Lerwick Town Council
Zetland County Council
- County Council Election December 1907
- County Council Election December 1910
- County Council Election December 1913
- County Council Election December 1919
- County Council Election December 1922
- County Council Election December 1925
- Northmavine South County Council By-Election July 1927
- Dunrossness North County Council By-Election June 1931
- County Council Election December 1932
- Unst North County Council By-Election December 1937
- County Council Election December 1938
- County Council Election December 1945
|Conveners of the Zetland County Council|
|Councillors||John Bruce (1890-1907) • John Anderson (1907-1910) • James Grierson (1911-1913) • Robert D. Ganson (1914-1917) • John W. Robertson (1918-1923) • Henry Mouat (1924-1927) • James A. Smith (1928-1929) • Magnus Shearer (1930-1935) • Thomas Johnston (1935-1936) • William McDougall (1936-1937) • Adam Halcrow (1937-1938) • Edward Adie (1938-1943) • Robert J. H. Ganson (1944-1947) • William Thomson (1947-1955) • Prophet Smith (1955-1960) • Tom Henderson (1960-1963) • William Hamilton (1963-1967) • Robert A. Johnson (1967-1970) • Edward Thomason (1970-1973) • George Blance (1973-1975)|
|Zetland County Council|
|Northmavine South County Councillors|
|Councillors||Thomas Anderson (1890-1901) • John Anderson (1901-1904) • Arthur White (1904-1907) • John W. Robertson (1907-1924) • James Hay (1924-1925) • John W. Robertson (1925-1927) • Arthur Irvine (1927-1945) • Charles Charleson (1945-1949) • David Walker (1949-1951) • Joseph Peterson (1951-1952) • Charles Charleson (1952-1955) • Robert Balfour (1955-1970) • Hugh Sutherland (1970-1973) • John Jamieson (1972-1975)|
|Dunrossness North County Councillors|
|Councillors||Robert Henderson (1890-1898) • Charles Whyte (1898-1898) • Robert Isbister (1898-1907) • James Budge (1907-1922) • James White (1922-1925) • John Irvine (1925-1931) • John W. Robertson (1931-1934) • John Goudie (1934-1946) • Robert Bruce (1946-1952) • Tom Henderson (1952-1963) • Robert Bruce (1963-1967) • Iain Campbell (1967-1971) • James Leask (1971-1975)|
|Unst North County Councillors|
|Councillors||James Sutherland (1890-1892) • Charles Sandison Snr (1892-1929) • Charles Sandison Jr (1929-1937) • John W. Robertson (1938-1949) • Laurence Bruce (1949-1952) • John Priest (1952-1955) • Lindsay Robertson (1955-1958) • Laurence Edmondston (1958-1961) • Edward Thomason (1961-1973) • William Thomson (1973-1975)|