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Debt, social mobility and the Fetlar Clearances: the Nicolsons of Brough Lodge.
Looking inland from a small beach on the northwest coast of the island of Fetlar in Shetland you will see a long facade of Gothic buildings sprawling across the landscape.Behind them is a curious oval-shaped tower on a hill, jutting out above the rest. The buildings, known as Brough Lodge, were built by Sir Arthur Nicolson in the early 19th century. They have a chequered history, and few houses in Shetland can have generated such diverse personalities or conflicting feelings. It is a labyrinth of secrets, transgressions and reparations, matching the lives of the people who lived there through the 19th and 20th centuries. How did they acquire their wealth and status, and why, by the late-20th century, was Brough Lodge lying more or less in ruins?