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Scottish works



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Aberdeen oil works

part of the Sandilands chemical 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 c.1848, oil produced from c.1857
Ownership history John Miller & Co
Demolition history Oil works ceased c.1861, chemical works continued until 1950's
Current status of site Site cleared and now occupied by retail park and associated car parking

The substantial Sandilands chemical works were constructed adjacent to Aberdeen gas works and were principally concerned with the processing of tars and other by-products from gas production. Partners of the firm of John Miller & Co. included many leading figures in the early oil industry in Scotland. For a short period, crude oil was produced from Boghead Coal, presumably hoping to evade the attention of James Young. Production appears to have ceased in about 1861 when Young brought legal action against the firm for infringement of his patent.

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."

Successive editions of the Aberdeen Post Office Directory record the changing output of the works:

By 1902, the firm of John Miller & Co. were listed as producers of naphtha, benzole, creosote oil, pitch, asphalt, sulphate of ammonia, sulphuric acid, artificial manures, and refiners of paraffin wax and ozokerite. The works were taken over by I.C.I. in about c.1928 and were latterly operated by Scottish Agricultural Industries as a fertilizer plant.


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.