71 - 79 Commercial Street
|Shetlopedia.com - The Shetland Encyclopedia
This entry is just a placeholder. You can help Shetlopedia.com by expanding it
Former businesses & History
Prior to the early 1860's 77 Commercial Street was the premises of the Zetland Hotel operated by John and Margaret O'Brien. In 1860 Dr. Stephen de Djunkowsky, Apostolic Prefect for the Arctic Region, travelled from Kirkwall, Orkney, to baptise one of the O'Brien's children, and stayed on with the intent of converting as many people to Catholisim as possible. After a very short while, he was succeeded by a Belgian priest, Theophilus Verstraeten who acquired the hotel, and constructed a chapel within it. Unfortunately he contracted smallpox, and died in 1871.
The Catholic church to whom ownership had fallen, were apparently disinterested in continuing with the work already started, and sold the building to Andrew Smith, who converted it in to a licensed grocers shop.
Information contained within an article by Douglas M. Sinclair published in Shetland Life No. 373, November 2011 was the main source of reference when preparing the history section this article.