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Welcome

This website was established in May 2010 and has developed continuously since then. Our aim is to share information held in our museum collection and archive with a wider audience, encourage further research into the history of the industry, and provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge.

Although new content is added on a weekly basis, much of the information presented remains incomplete and doubtless contains errors, omissions or is based on false assumptions. We would be delighted to hear from anyone spotting inaccuracies in these pages or able to fill gaps in our knowledge.

We would also greatly welcome offers of volunteer assistance in the continuing development of this site, and associated programmes of research.

 

Social Media

facebook Our Facebook page records the everyday progress of the project, and explores some oddities of shale history.

twitter Get the latest new and twitterings on our Twitter page

 

Browse our Blog

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new website

Almond Valley Heritage Trust has secured a grant from the Museums Galleries Scotland to create a new modern platform for this website. This will be responsive for use on tablets and phones, with many new features including browsing by map or by image.

We're now looking for a web design company to help us achieve this. Just download the website brief to find out more.


fracking in scotland

 


A Recognised Collection of National Importance

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The story of Scotland's shale oil industry

showreel

The Scottish shale oil industry has a remarkable and important history.

Bathgate Chemical Works, established in 1851, was perhaps the first site in the world where mineral oils were processed on an industrial scale. From this blossomed an extensive oil industry that competed successfully against cheaper imported petroleum for many years, and continued in operation until 1962. Such fierce competition bred innovation, progress, and a body of Scots know-how that contributed greatly towards the development of the oil industry throughout the world.

This website is being developed to celebrate, exchange knowledge, and encourage research into this special heritage. We hope that the resource will be of particular value to those researching family histories.

Genealogy

Research resources for family historians

Employment records

A database of surviving company documents.

Trades and occupations

Descriptions of working life in the industry.

Notable personalities

Inventors, entrepreneurs, and worthies.

Gazetteer

Records of sites associated with the shale oil industry

Oil works and refineries

Covering all parts of Scotland.

Company housing & villages

In Scottish oil-shale districts.

Mines, pits and quarries

In Scottish oil-shale districts.

Beyond Scotland

Scottish influence throughout the world

Histories

Original papers offering an introduction to the industry

An introduction to shale oil

Its history, technology and geology.

Company histories

Information files on each oil company.

Your research & reminiscences

Contributions from independent authors.

Collections

Catalogue of objects and archives held here and elsewhere.

Museum collection

The Scottish shale oil industry collection.

BP archive

Company records now held by our museum.

Reference collection

Copy images and documents.

Collections survey

Other museum collections, surveyed 2009.

West Lothian in postcards

Local images plotted on maps.

Library

Research resources available on-line

Pamphlets and publications

Archive publications as digital books.

Oral histories

Transcripts of interviews conducted 1983-90.

Transcripts and notes

Extracts from newspapers and magazines.

Learning and sharing

Resources for schools and research noticeboard

Schools pages

Become a Shale Oil Explorer.

Essays and exhibitions

Presentations on the shale oil story.

About us

Almond Valley is a family-friendly museum established in 1990 to preserve and interpret the history and environment of West Lothian. It also continues the work of an oil museum research project which, since 1983, had collected objects and archives associated with the shale industry. Download our collections development policy.

Much of the collection is now displayed in The Scottish Shale Oil Museum; one of a range of educational and leisure facilities at Almond Valley, close to Livingston, West Lothian.

For further information on a great day out at Almond Valley visit our main web site.

We are a member of Industrial Museums Scotland and Oil Museums in Europe.

Latest work to the site

July 2017...

  • Two lovely maps have been added. One depicting Alderston Estate in 1878, the other roads in West Calder in 1808
  • The last few weeks have seen a huge increase in the number of documents added to the site. Most of these relate to housing and are available to view on the BP Archive list. Specific addresses that have documentation in the collection can be found on the Dispositions page.
  • We've added further content on our new blog page, exploring stories from Scotland's shale oil industry and West Lothian's past.

Underground Cuddies

Their lives of labour in Scotland's shale mines

Our new temporary exhibition explores the lives of the ponies and horses that worked in the local shale mines. A variety of objects are on display; from harness and tack to medals and achievements awarded to the miners whose job it was to care for their four legged friends. Alongside the exhibition are some fun activities for children to let them try their hand at plaiting a horse's tail or designing a rosette to award the winning pony. If you are unable to visit the museum before the end of the year, you can have a look at the exhibition here.

 

Underground Cuddies

creative commons

We are happy to licence use of many images, extracts, and other resources of this website under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial licence (Scotland). See full copyright statement. Such material should be attributed to Almond Valley Heritage Trust and, where practical, a hyperlink provided to www.scottishshale.co.uk.