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Home > Beyond Scotland > Shale Oil in England > Sandford Oil Works

Sandford Oil Works

Location Location uncertain, perhaps in the vicinity of 50.704423, -2.105262 show in map
Former parish and county Parish of St. Martins, Wareham, county of Dorset
Current local authority area Dorset
Opened c.1886
Closed c.1890
Number of Retorts Not known
Ownership history Kimmeridge Oil & Carbon Co. Ltd.
Current status of site Housing - The Forest Edge Estate

The Sandford Clay and Pottery Works was an ambitious industrial complex built in the late 1850's and described as a "noble pile of building" in a sale notice of 1862 (see below). The works passed through a number of owners before acquisition by the Kimmeridge Oil and Carbon Co. Ltd. in about 1886. It was anticipated that much of the shale worked by the company at its Kimmeridge mines would be used for oil production at Sandford, however there is little evidence that this was carried out in any quantity. The notice for sale of the works in 1887, list a range of brick making equipment but no machinery associated with oil production

The Parish Plan for Wareham St. Martins (2013) quoting a local history esearch project states:

"In 1886 the (pottery) works were converted to extract oil from Kimmeridge shale and the name changed to Sandford, Wareham & Kimmeridge Oil and Carbon Co Ltd. This produced about 50 tons of oil and 200 tons of fertilizer per annum and gas to run the factory. However, this venture was not successful and only lasted for about three to four years."

Ordnance Survey maps reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.


This very important property consists of the Sandford Clay and Pottery Works, a noble pile of building, nearly 200 feet square, admirably situate as to the great requisites —light, ventilation, and good access —and most judiciously adapted to the operations for which it was designed, as well for any manufacturing establishment that may require unusual extent of space, with every facility of railway and water communication with all parts of the kingdom. These splendid works have been recently erected by the eminent contractors, Messrs. Lucas Brothers, with every regard for substantial endurance. The architectural exterior is very striking and effective, and the the chimney shaft, 180 feet high, is now a conspicuous landmark over the wide Dorsetshire heaths and plains. They include reverberating brick kilns, pottery and terra cotta kilns, all the necessary shops and rooms for moulding bricks, pottery, and china, numerous drying rooms, throwing, turning, and press rooms, slip houses, flint mill, mill rooms for grinding and pugging the clay, both wet and dry light and spacious ware rooms, sorting and packing rooms for pottery and china, enamelling kiln modelling room and laboratory, engine room and boiler-house, with saw-mill, engineer's dwelling-house, and public and private counting-house and offices; also, extensive cellarage or coals, clay, and the heavy pottery goods. A clay-shed, 300 feet long, connects the works with the clay pits by a tramway from the mill room, and the numerous lines of rails on three sides of and through the building afford great assistance in the transit of coals inwards, and the loading the clay, bricks, and pottery goods direct into the railway truck. There is unlimited hack space for building-brick making, with many hundred yards of shed over the same.

The Dorset County Chronicle, 8th May 1862


Under Distraint for Rent.



MESSRS. BEER & HOBBS have received instructions to SELL AUCTION, on the Premises, on Thursday, November 17th, 1887, the Whole of the PLANT in use at the above Works, consisting of :

On view two days previous to the Sale. Sale to commence at 11 o'clock punctually. Catalogues may be obtained one week previous the Sale, the Advertiser Office, Wareham,

The Western Gazette, 11th November 1887


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