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Scottish mines

Oil shale pits

Coal shale pits


A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Companies & Works > Shale Mines > Addiewell No.1 pit

Addiewell No.1 pit

Location 55.846887, -3.592969, show in map
Shale-field West Calder area
Dates opened and closed Opened c.1864? Perhaps active until the end of Fells shale working in 1883
Owner James Young, then Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd
Type of working Vertical shaft, 34 fathoms to coal, 51 fathoms to shale
Seams worked Houston Coal, Fells Shale
Oil works served Addiewell Chemical Works
Current status of site Woodland within landscaped area. No trace remains of surface structures


No. 1 Pit appears to have been sunk to exploit the Houston Coal. A cross-cut mine was then driven from the coal workings to access reserves of Fells Shale. This shale was also exploited by Addiewell No. 2 Pit, Addiewell No. 5 Pit and Addiewell No. 6 Pit, and presumably their workings linked underground. These workings seem to have been extended north eastwards, by means of cross cut mine through a fault, to a small area of Fells Shale beneath Tenantsmarch, which in turn was linked to the workings of Polbeth No. 10 Pit.

Mining plans suggest that Houston Coal workings were abandoned in 1867, but that Fells Shale continued to be worked until 1883. A report from 1870 (see snippets) indicates that the shaft of No. 1 was used to pump water from No. 2 Pit into the nearby reservoir.

See "Early mines and pits in the Addiewell area" for further background.


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

Underground Workings

Recent Images


No.1 adjoining is in communication with No.2 below, and the water which accumulates in both pits is extracted by a powerful pump, which, operating by three lifts in the shaft of No.1, pours out perpetually a cascade of water into a pond near at hand. From this pond the steam power of the huge chemical works hard by is supplied with abundance of water - a most convenient circumstance during the recent very dry season. Glasgow Herald, 20th October 1870.

Accident Records


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