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Scottish works


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Home > Companies & Works > Scottish Oil Works > East Mains Oil Works

Broxburn: East Mains oil works

also referred to as Simpson's Oil Works

Location Said to have been in the vicinity of East Mains, show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Uphall, Linlithgowshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Built 1878
Ownership history George Simpson, Benhar Coal Company Ltd, Broxburn Oil Company Ltd
Demolition history Dismantled c. 1883
Current status of site Unclear

For more information on the complicated history of Broxburn's early oil works, see this overview

This short-lived crude oil works was a scheme of George Simpson; a figure associated with many murky dealings in the coal and shale industries. The history of the works is recorded in the case of The Benhar Coal Company vs. The Broxburn Oil Company (reported in The Scotsman, 23rd February 1880):

"In May and June 1878, Mr Simpson, it is further said, with the intention of erecting works for the manufacture of mineral oils, contacted with the Broxburn Oil Company for a daily delivery of 200 tons of shale for the period of twenty-one years……..Mr Simpson had meantime proceeded to erect works, and, from about the beginning of September 1878 until 9th November 1878 , continued to manufacture at them crude oil; and all the expenses connected with the erection were paid by Mr Simpson, partly out of his own means and partly from sums advanced by the Benhar Company.......Mr Simpson was made notour bankrupt in December 1878. It is added that, on or about 9th November 1878, the Benhar Company entered into possession of the works at Broxburn, under the assignations".

The outcome of the case was reported to shareholders at a Special Meeting of the Broxburn Oil Company, as reported in The Scotsman, 13th September 1880.

"Negotiations were therefore opened with the Benhar Company, with the double purpose of purchasing the Benhar Company's crude oil and ammonia works at Broxburn, and a refinery at Benhar, Crofthead.….. In order to put the works thus recently acquired on the same efficient footing as the works at Broxburn, and enable the like profits to be derived, it will probably be necessary to erect new retorts similar to those now in use at Broxburn…"

There is no evidence that Simpson's works in Broxburn were fitted with new retorts, and seems likely to have been demolished soon after acquisition by the Broxburn Oil Company. The precise location of the works is not known


Valuation Records

Records for East Mains are included within this schedule of Broxburn Oil Co. Ltd. property between 1878 and 1883



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

This 1898 map of the East Mains area provides no clues as to the possible location of the works


creative commons

We are happy to licence use of many images, extracts, and other resources of this website under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial licence (Scotland). See full copyright statement. Such material should be attributed to Almond Valley Heritage Trust and, where practical, a hyperlink provided to www.scottishshale.co.uk.