Bressay has been inhabited for the past 6000 years and the burnt mounds, brochs and Neolithic remains in locations across the Island offer visitors a little glimpse into the distant past.

Most of the empty croft houses, outbuildings and planticrubs dotted across the Island were first built when population numbers were at their highest in the 18th & 19th centuries. Although our Bressay ancestors were primarily crofters, spoil heaps from slate quarries, the remains of herring stations and two fish processing factories (one still in operation) tell something of Bressay’s industrial and economic history. Bressay’s strategic importance to Lerwick is also evidenced by the two WWI naval guns and antiaircraft sites which were built to protect Lerwick in the early 20th century.

The Bressay Guidebook, developed by the Bressay History Group provides detailed information on Bressay and is available to buy from the Heritage centre.

Bressay Heritage Centre

The Bressay Heritage Centre, situated at the Bressay ferry terminal, is a local exhibition space. Current displays include information and photographs documenting Bressay’s role in WW1, photographs of Bressay’s flora and a lovely ‘ben end’, a 1950’s living room – Bressay style.

Bressay Heritage Centre opened in 1996 and is owned and operated by Bressay History Group. Annual summer exhibitions provide visitors with the opportunity to dip into many aspects of Bressay’s past. The Centre houses an extensive archive of material relating to the island’s history through photographs, maps, genealogy, etc.

A new and exciting visitor attraction is the reconstruction, next to the Heritage Centre, of the central core of a Bronze Age Burnt Mound, which Bressay History Group ‘rescued’ from being washed away by the sea. Onsite interpretation will assist visitors to explore the interior of this unique mysterious construction.

The Bressay History Group is part of the network of Shetland Information Points and their custodian can provide detailed local information, directions and suggestions, such as popular walks.

Come and see how we use 3D images in our displays.

E-mail: bressayheritage@btinternet.com for more information.
Tel: 01595 820750

Heritage Centre Opening times (1st May - 30th Sept September)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday10 AM - 4 PM
Sunday11 AM - 5 PM

The centre is open by appointment during April and October. Call 01595 820368 / 820362 to arrange a visit.

Admission to the Bressay Heritage Centre is free but we greatly appreciate donations to help us to continue our work researching Bressay’s past and providing exhibitions and information for residents and visitors alike.

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