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Cobbinshaw South No. 1 Pit

Location Uncertain,Perhaps 55.802147, -3.549676 ?, show in map Cobbinshaw shale-field
Alternative names Cobbinshaw, South Cobbinshaw, Cobbinshaw No. 1
Dates opened and closed Opened c.1870, Abandoned 1874
Owner South Cobbinshaw Oil Company
Type of working Uncertain
Seams worked Raeburn Shale
Oil works served Cobbinshaw South Oil Works
Current status of site Moorland


The West Calder Oil Company acquired the mineral rights of the Cobbinshaw shale-field during the late 1860's, and c.1870 sub-let rights of the south-western part of the field to the South Cobbinshaw Oil Company (a partnership of Jonathan Hyslop, Hugh Rose and James Falshaw) who mined shale to supply Cobbinshaw South Oil Works. Although the West Calder Oil Company prospectus of 1872 described their plans to develop mines at Cobbinshaw, these are not known to have been progressed. Following failure of the West Calder Oil Company in 1878, the Cobbinshaw mineral rights were purchased by Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company, who worked Fells shale between 1883 and 1885 at Cobbinshaw South No. 28 Mine

Plans survive of the No. 1 Pit operated by the South Cobbinshaw Oil Company (see drawings (1) and (2) below)., but neither provide sufficient information to locate them on the surface. Mining plans of the area (see drawings (3) and (4) below) show two shafts that seem not to be associated with other known works. These are:

Either of these might be "No. 1 Pit" that served Cobbinshaw South Oil Works.


A further Cobbinshaw mystery

An "old shaft" and surviving concrete foundation close to the furthest extend of the Cobbinshaw branch railway seem not to relate to later workings and might therefore relate to the early period of shale working.

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


The entire property of South Cobbinshaw extends to about 1000 acres....... The works will be connected by a branch from the Caledonian Railway, which passes through the property. The south-western division of the field, which extends to about 500 acres, has been sub-let, and has been proved by pits and shaft to contain 3,450,000 tons of "Raeburn's" and "Fell's" Shale. The sub-leasees are working vigourously, and the profit accruing to the proposed Company upon the sub-lease is threepence per ton on all shale raised, which would amount to £43,125 on the above-named quantity. The north-east division, containing about 500 acres, which this Company proposes to work, is also rich in the finest shale, a number of bores having been put down, proving the "Fell" seam, which is found to extend to at least 300 acres, and to be a thickness of 26 inches. This seam alone contains 1,200,000 tons, a large quantity of which can be got at comparatively little cost. Of the other seams, "Raeburn's" has been partially proved, showing it to be of a considerable extent and of a fine quality. It is proposed to put down one or two pits to the "Fell" seam which, from the proximity of the shale to the surface, and the moderate angle at which the strata lie, will not involve an outlay of more than £2,000, including all fittings and connections with the railway. West Calder Oil Co. prospectus, printed in The Scotsman, 19th April 1872.

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