In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Lerwick like this:
Lerwick, seaport town, police burgh, par., and capital of the Shetland Islands, on E. coast of Mainland, on Bressay Sound - par., 5653 ac., pop. 4772; police burgh, pop. 3854; town, pop. 4045; P.O., T. O., 3 Banks, 1 newspaper. Lerwick possesses a fine harbour, with easy access both from the N. and S., and has steam communication with Kirkwall, Wick, Aberdeen, and Leith. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) On Bressay island, E. side of entrance to Lerwick, is a lighthouse 53 ft. high, with revolving light (Bressay) 105 ft. above high water and seen 16 miles. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the fisheries. New harbour works (pier, esplanade, and wharves) were opened, June 1886.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Lerwick has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Shetland Islands. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Lerwick and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Lerwick in Shetland Islands | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 07th December 2013
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