Scalloway’s People

This section celebrates people past and present who have made a significant contribution to the life of the village and the surrounding area.

JAMES  SMITH  MBE     aka  Jim o Berry

James Smith MBE

James Smith MBE known locally as Jim o’ Berry

Jim Smith, locally known as Jimo’ Berry, was a farmer and inventor.  He lived at Berry Farm in Scalloway, with his sister Eva, until his death in February 2012.  As well as running the farm, the Smith family were renowned Shetland Pony breeders.   Jim was known for his brilliant mind.  He was a valued member of the community, and is sadly missed.



Jim liked to set himself a challenge.  He had a brilliant mechanical mind.  After the war, he decided to build a speedboat from scratch.  Later, he decided to try a small aircraft.  His first attempt failed, but the second was a great success.  He could often be seen flying the plane around Sumburgh.


Jim liked to create solutions.  He invented various mechanical aids to help make farm work easier.  He also invented machines for other people.  One of his creations, a gutting machine, revolutionised the fishing industry when it was put into manufacture.  It was used on many fishing boats.


Walter J. Gray, 1885-1970


Portrait of Walter Gray

Walter Gray: Made his fortune in North America before returning to Scalloway

Scalloway man Walter Gray was a remarkable individual, from humble beginnings.  He grew up in Scalloway, then emigrated to Canada in 1906.  Throughout his life he worked in telegraphy and communications, first as a messenger and latterly as Assistant General Manager.  He was highly respected.  Walter was hard-working and committed.  He remained with the Marconi company for 45 years.  When he thought of retiring in 1948, his boss described him as “the centre stone of the arch” within the company.

During Walter’s 52 years in telegraphy and communications he took many an interesting call.  It is now 100 years since R.M.S. TITANIC struck an iceberg and sank. Walter was there when the mayday call came.  Walter achieved much in his lifetime.  His legacy continues with the Walter and Joan Gray Home, now run by the Church of Scotland.  He also published a book of memoirs “The Life Story of an Old Shetlander.

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