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11 Oct 2018 27 views
 
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photoblog image Bobby's Bus Shelter

Bobby's Bus Shelter

Bobby's Bus Shelter is bus shelter near Baltasound, on Unst, Shetland, Scotland.

 

The name "Bobby's Bus Shelter" honours Bobby Macaulay, a child who used to cycle to the shelter in the mornings to catch the bus to school. The local council had plans to remove the bus shelter but after the seven-year-old sent them a letter asking them not to and explaining that the shelter is where he kept his bike while at school, the council left it there and furnished it.

 

The shelter is equipped with a sofa and a television. It is furnished and redecorated periodically. For example, in 2010 it was given World Cup themed decoration due to Bobby's visit to South Africa to see the 2010 FIFA World Cup and each year by local residents with a sofa, television, computer and other home comforts.

 

Previous themes have included the Golden Jubilee, Underwater, Diamond Jubilee, Sheep (I would loved to have seen that), a trubute to Nelson Mandela, Puffins and, this year, 100 years of women's suffrage in the United Kingdom.

Bobby's Bus Shelter

Bobby's Bus Shelter is bus shelter near Baltasound, on Unst, Shetland, Scotland.

 

The name "Bobby's Bus Shelter" honours Bobby Macaulay, a child who used to cycle to the shelter in the mornings to catch the bus to school. The local council had plans to remove the bus shelter but after the seven-year-old sent them a letter asking them not to and explaining that the shelter is where he kept his bike while at school, the council left it there and furnished it.

 

The shelter is equipped with a sofa and a television. It is furnished and redecorated periodically. For example, in 2010 it was given World Cup themed decoration due to Bobby's visit to South Africa to see the 2010 FIFA World Cup and each year by local residents with a sofa, television, computer and other home comforts.

 

Previous themes have included the Golden Jubilee, Underwater, Diamond Jubilee, Sheep (I would loved to have seen that), a trubute to Nelson Mandela, Puffins and, this year, 100 years of women's suffrage in the United Kingdom.

comments (15)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 11 Oct 2018, 00:21
Now...this is friendly!
Alan: Probably in such a small community as where this is situated, decorating the bus shelter is about as exciting as life gets smile
  • CherryPie
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Oct 2018, 01:25
A delightful story smile

The shelter is colourful, contrasting with green of the countryside.
Alan: It's probably a god community effort in such an isolated community.
That is the most wonderous thing!!! Thank you, Alan!
Alan: I can imagine that the decoration of this is about as exciting as life gets in such an isolated community smile
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 11 Oct 2018, 06:29
Does it have electricity, Alan?
Alan: Not that I'm aware of. The electrical goods are probably life expired and are just placed there for a little bit of theatre, I would imagine.
  • gutteridge
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 11 Oct 2018, 07:02
How strange but how charming, and a part of the country where this can be done without it being robbed or destroyed.
Alan: So sad that such generosity is the exception now rather than the norm. I would imagine that the police aren't too troubled by anti-social behaviour.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 07:18
Oh, what a wonderful institution and story- the bus shelter looks almost cosy considering the rough Scottish wind and weather. I hope there are also some sweets. Do you know more about Bobby Macaulay?
Alan: Whist we have been enjoying record-breaking temperatures in the south for October, Scotland and especially the islands have had an huge amount of rain. The bus stop would have been greatly appreciated then. Thanks, Philine.
  • Chris
  • Not Nowhere
  • 11 Oct 2018, 07:25
This is truly eccentric, and for that reason it should be kept..
Alan: I would imagine that there is not a lot going on in the local community so this is probably the highlight of the year for them when it comes time to change the theme.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 07:26
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bobbys-bus-shelter
Rho...super !! quelle belle initiative ..
Un conseil local à  l'ecoute ..super !
Bonne journée
Alan: It is one of the "must see" things when in Shetland.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 07:36
Bobby Macaulay lives in Africa, in Swaziland and now in Mozambique. He wrote:

The letter I wrote at the age of six probably only got published because I was so young. I had no idea the whole thing was going to snowball like it has! We don't take it too seriously though, it is still just a bit of fun. To this day I don't know who was the first to put furniture in the shelter, but instead of throwing things out, local people just started putting things in the bus shelter. At one point we had a computer. It was not connected though. Considering the winters we have, electric appliances would probably explode! One day some hamsters appeared, they are now permanent residents chugging their water bottle containing locally brewed beer. They're not real by the way.

In the visitors’ book, there are people who come from as far as Canada and Australia. Some were just on a tour and didn't know about the shelter, some have come expressly to see the shelter! That’s where the idea to make ‘Unst Bus Shelter fudge’ came from, which my mum makes and sells, as a souvenir.

I suppose one of the highlights for the bus shelter was the Jubilee celebration decoration, when the hamsters even dressed up. We joked that we'd 'borrowed the crown jewels' and a journalist from one of the major British papers called to ask how they had got here. I told her that it was by Securicor van - I think she believed me! I might have pushed it too far when I told her that we were expecting a visit from the UN weapons inspectors. I was only fourteen and she didn't realise I was pulling her leg!

The following year, the Unst Bus Shelter got a Yahoo! award for the best community website in 2003. It was a bit embarrassing actually, I had designed the website when I was eight or nine, and there I was aged 15 going to London with my mum (not by bus, thankfully) to get an award for it! I beat David Beckham's website, but came second after Eddie Izzard [a well-known British stand-up comedian], so that's not bad. It was all a bit surreal actually!

I don't really have a favourite theme. Although I missed the Africa one because I was in Swaziland. My mum, who now does all the decorating, happened to have loads of giraffe-print material. I do like it in winter though, we have fairy lights which run off a generator. Sometimes when there are power cuts on the island due to the snow or wind, they are the only lights still on!"
Alan: Many thanks, Philine. Booby has left an interesting legacy and the bus stop i one for he "must see" things on Shetland. I don't recall ever seeing a bus though! It must have a rather a culture shock when Bobby went down to London for the Yahoo! ceremony.
Now that is amazing, not many councils would have big hearts like these councillors have.
Alan: Life is all very different in the islands, I think!
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 12:46
https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5922915 - the colours in 2018 are commemorating the Women's Suffrage Movement.
Sadly, I was not successful to find the letter Bobby wrote to the Shetland Times 1996.
Alan: Ah yes.. same theme as my image smile
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 12:58
"Anyone wanting to catch a bus at the stop has to call the operator P and T Coaches a day in advance to book." More interesting information (2015): http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2015/04/17/uks-best-bus-shelter-gets-20th-birthday-puffin-themed-makeover/
Alan: Well, that takes rather a lot of planning; now adhoc travel on the spur of the moment. I suppose that all adults living on the island have access to a car or similar. Thanks Philine!
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 11 Oct 2018, 13:08
Sorry, you did mention the Women's Suffrage Movement! Here are the sheep: http://independentstitch.typepad.com/the_independent_stitch/2013/10/the-unst-bus-shelter.html
Alan: Aaaah... lovely! I wish I had seen them for myself. Thanks for all your research on this; shame that the original cannot be found. I see that the bus stop is twinned with one in Nova Scotia.; perhaps I should write to Stagecoach (my local bus company) to see if they want to add my local bus stop t the twinning smile Thanks, Philine!
This is just wonderful

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