Living Lerwick's mascot "Maunsie" appropriately represents the historic pillar at the heart of Lerwick's old town. It is a grade C listed monument.
Maunsie creator, Stephen Gordon, tells us more.
The plinth supporting a light actually stands on reclaimed land from the sea, Heddles beach originally being at the foot of Mounthooly Street. The Heddle family originally from Orkney having the shop where the Tourist Office is now situated. The family also gave their name to the present-day Heddles Park.
The popular myth was that the structure was originally to be found in Scalloway, the ancient capital of Shetland, as Lerwick prospered and power and influence moved 7 miles from West to East, it was felt that it was more practical to have a place where public notices could be displayed in the town. It is claimed by some that there is no reliable source as to this, could some of the structure really have originated from the Scalloway of the 16th century?
This version of events may have originated from an entry and illustration in Fred Irvine's book "Believe it or not".
The first mention of the Market Cross being in Lerwick was in 1838, originally it was topped with an urn, to be replaced by gaslight on an iron frame in 1900 and finally saw the addition of a globe electric light in the 1930'S widely regarded more fitting than the light covering of today which is rather incongruous to the rest of the monument. A tube barometer which reads "on loan from the London Metrological Office" and a thermometer were fitted in the 1890s for public information and can still be seen today.
Although there is no trace of Bressay women selling potatoes or the music of the blind fiddler, the Cross still plays a valuable focus for public gatherings, the Lerwick Up-Helly- A' proclamation was first erected there in 1878 and a Christmas tree and lights are placed next to it every year (bunting in the summer) and New Year is traditionally brought in around it.
Maunsie, Da Market represents the local association of businesses, Living Lerwick with their campaign to promote and reignite the practice of shopping locally and its advantages over more sedate shopping habits.