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Cobbinshaw North Oil Works

Location Uncertain, perhaps: 55.806844, -3.575444. show in map
Former parish and county Parish of West Calder, Edinburghshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Built c.1870
Ownership history Mungle & Thornton
Demolition history Presumably dismantled c. 1875
Current status of site Forest and rough ground


A small oil works with grand ambitions, backed by local businessmen Mungle and coal-master Thomas Thornton, both of whom had extensive interests in other shale oil operations. Shale mines at Kipsyke were linked be a mile-long branch from the Caledonian Railway, just east of Cobbinshaw Station. Grand efforts in 1872 to float a public company (The Scottish Mineral Oil and Coal Company Ltd) to take over the operation seem not to have been successful. It is assumed that the works were sited close to the main line railway; the suggested coordinates being those of an unlabeled building shown on the 1896 OS map. Worker's housing was constructed both at Kipsyke and North Cobbinshaw but were cleared by 1890. The stub of the railway siding remained in general use until the mid 20th century, retaining the name "Mungall's Siding".

Redwood notes that the works were operated between 1870 and 1873 by John & Alex Mungle and were sited "half way on North side Cobbinshaw Loch" and were equipped with 36 D-shaped retorts producing crude oil only.

Valuation Records

Entries between 1870 and 1875. Download details


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

Recent Images


THE SCOTTISH MINERAL OIL AND COAL COMPANY. NORTH COBBINSHAW AND BAADS ESTATES, EDINBURGHSHIRE AND LANARKSHIRE. INCORPORATED UNDER THE COMPANIES ACTS, 1862 AND 1867. CAPITAL £150,000, IN 15,000 SHARES OF £10 EACH.....DIRECTORS IN SCOTLAND. JAMES WATT, Esq. Provost of Leith, JOHN MUNRO MACNAB, Esq., J.P., Trinity , Edinburgh. JOHN JAMES MUIRHEAD Esq., Messrs. Mackay, Cunningham, & Co., Edinburgh. THOMAS THORNTON, Esq., Coal Master, Crofthead, Lanarkshire......An arrangement has been made for the purchase of the Leases of those Lands, containing 2,300 acres of minerals, with a good work already thereon, including Retorts, Mining Appliances, and Workman's Houses, &c., and the privilege of a Railway Siding completed from the Caledonian Railway into the Works. The Scotsman, 31st August 1872.

OIL SHALE &c. – TO BE LET, the SHALE, COAL and other MINERALS on North Cobbinshaw, Parish of West Calder, extending to 900 acres. A Lessee can get Miner's Houses, Engines & c. by agreement. The Caledonian Railway passes through the estate, on which there is a railway station. For full particulars, apply Wm. Fraser, Town-Clerk, Inverkeithing. The Glagow Herald, 6th January 1877.

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