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Aberdeen oil works

Location 57.149652, -2.082137 show in map
Former parish and county City of Aberdeen Parish, Aberdeenshire
Current local authority area City of Aberdeen
Construction history Established as a chemical works c.1848
Ownership history John Miller & Co
Demolition history Works continued until 1950's
Current status of site Retail park and car parking

Redwood notes:

"In 1857... Miller and Sons had started their work at Aberdeen where crude oil was produced from Boghead Coal. This work did a flourishing business in both crude and refined oils until the year 1864, in which year the work was closed, owing partly to the high price of Boghead Coal, but perhaps more particularly to the fact that Young had discovered that Miller and Sons were infringing his patents."

The works referred to by Redwood were presumably the Sandilands Chemical Works of John Miller and Sons, that opened in 1848 on a site adjoining Aberdeen gas works. A directory entry from 1902 states that the works then produced naphtha, benzole, creosote oil, pitch, asphalt, sulphate of ammonia, sulphuric acid, and artificial manures, and also refined paraffin wax and ozokerite. The site remained in use as a chemical works and fertiliser plant until the mid 20th century. The works were taken over by ICI c.1928 and were latterly operated by Scottish Agricultural Industries.

It appears that some small-scale oil production from Boghead coal took place during the late 1850's and early 1860's, and directory entries suggest that various oil and wax refining processes continued to take place until the end of the 19th century

Valuation Records

Still to be researched.

Directory Listings

Entries in the Aberdeen Post Office Directory


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

Recent Images

aberdeen oil works site


Mr. W. McClintock, practical chemist, stated that the Bathgate shale contained such a very large proportion of refuse that it was necessary to extract the paraffin on the spot as it would not pay to ship it in its raw state. Lately a cargo was sent to Aberdeen upon which a loss of £5 per ton was incurred. Evidence to the House of Lords on the Edinburgh & Dunfermline Railway.

The Scotsman, 17th July 1862.