Ander Hill Tower
by Stephen Jennings
Prominently perched atop Ander Hill on Bressay, the WWI Admiralty lookout station commands an almost unparalleled view along the coast of Shetland. From Yell and Unst in the north to Sumburgh Head in the south, even Foula in the west is visible on a fine day.
Built in 1912 in anticipation of the soon-to-be realised outbreak of hostilities in 1914, the tower was manned until 1926 and again during WWII. A vital part of the Lerwick defences during both wars, it was subsequently under the control of the coastguard from where a watch was maintained for ships in distress for most of the years from 1936 until 1969.
A scheduled monument since 1992 (SM5372), the two-storey concrete block constructed tower has a parapet that was used as an observation platform and the site includes an underground shelter. A cast-iron water pump still survives as well as the concrete footing for a wooden signalling pole.
Slowly deteriorating, the external faces of the structure are still in a fair state of preservation. The inside, however, has been gutted. Even so, with a panorama like this, one imagines a little George Clarke Restoration Man attention would come up a treat.
* Disclaimer: We do not now or in future advocate restoring and/or converting historically significant buildings into domestic spaces unless/until we have the financial means to do so ourselves.