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Coal shale pits


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Holmes mine

Location 55.917342, -3.485071, show in map
Shale-field Pumpherston shale-field
Dates opened and closed Open c. 1884, closed 1900
Owner Holmes Oil Company Ltd
Type of working Inclined adit
Seams worked Jubilee, Maybrick, Plain, Wee, Plain, and Bottom Shales
Oil works served Holmes Oil Works
Current status of site Derelict ground


One of a sequence of steeply inclined mines following the outcrop of Pumpherston Shales along the western arm of the Pumpherston anticline, Holmes mine exploited seams of Pumpherston Shale that lay west and north of the mine entrance. The shale was then taken northwards by tramway, crossing the Edinburgh - Bathgate railway to reach Holmes Oil Works.


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

Underground Workings


Recent Images


Unfounded rumours has also been in circulation that this shale mine was full of troubles, and that it would last for two or three years. The shale-field of Holmes was not a large one, but a good one. He could assure them, on the best authority, that their present mine, unless something unforeseen occurred, would last for twenty years to come, the output continuing the same as now, and at this rate would only exhaust one-third of the area of the field. But the directors looked forward to increasing their present operations and for his end they had secured the shale-fields of Knightsridge and Dechmont, in the vicinity of their present works, and had already proved by boring a seam of shale fully six feet thick at a depth of 34 fathoms, and which, by analysis, was equal in quality to the seam they were presently working. AGM of the Holmes Oil Company Ltd reported in Glasgow Herald, 20th June 1885.

Accident Records


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