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Cobbinshaw South Oil Works

Location Probably 55.796199, -3.560518. show in map
Former parish and county Parish of West Calder, Edinburghshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Brickworks built c.1870, oil works c.1873
Ownership history South Cobbinshaw Oil Company, Hugh Rose
Demolition history Oil works presumably demolished c. 1877, Brickworks, c. 1880
Current status of site Rough grazing. Some landform of the brickworks can still be discerned


Redwood notes that the oil works of Brand & Hislop operated between 1869 and 1871. It appears from valuation records that the oil works and brickworks shared the same site. David Kerr (in his booklet "Tarbrax: a shale-oil industry village" , 2002) quotes from an unnamed source that " the works had 20 vertical and 72 horizontal shale retorts, linked to a shale mine by an 800 yard-long endless chain".

The creation in 1884 of a new company, The South Cobbinshaw Fireclay & Brick Company Ltd, to re-start the brickworks, appears to have made little progress. The village of South Cobbinshaw was constructed to serve the oil works.

No OS map records the oil works in operation and their precise location remains unclear. It seems probably however that the brickworks and oil works shared the same site. The oil works were served by Cobbinshaw South No.1 pit, which mine plans show to be located immediately to the north of the mineral railway. Rectangular outline of brick kilns remain clearly visible in aerial views, while the adjacent body of water seems likely to be a flooded quarry from which brick clay was extracted.

Valuation Records

Entries between 1870 and 1881. Download details


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

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BRICKS.- Good Composition at South Cobinshaw Oil Works, Auchengray. - Apply at the Works; or at J. Hyslop, Wishaw.

Glasgow Herald 6th August 1872.

WANTED AT SOUTH COBINSHAW OIL WORKS, AUCHENGRAY. Brickwork Manager thoroughly up in Composition and Fire-Clay Coals. Estimate for the Erection of extensive wooden sheds and roofing. Apply at the Works, or to J. Hyslop. Wishaw.

The Hamilton Advertiser 7th September 1872

WANTED, 2000 yards B.B. 7/16ths Short-link Tested Chain. – State price delivered to J. Hyslop. South Cobinshaw, Auchengray.

The Glasgow Herald 9th January 1874

Contractors Wanted to drive levels and a heading in shale – Apply to A. Littlejohn, South Cobinshaw Oil Works, Auchengray.

Hamilton Advertiser 22nd March 1873

BLAKE'S STONE BREAKER 24" x 12" (quite new) with direct-acting engine, - Apply J. Hyslop, South Cobbinshaw, Auchengray.

The Glasgow Herald 8th December 1874

The gentleman from Cobinshaw, (Jonathan Hyslop) already mentioned, who has abstained for 23.years is a thorough-going reformer, Little good will be done, he thinks, till employers of 1abour set an example, not of moderation, for as a rule, they do that already, but rigid abstinence, till parents consign decanters to the rag-store- Report from the annual conference of the temperance reformers.

The Glasgow Herald 5th May 1875

To SHALE OIL MANUFACTURERS AND OTHERS.- For SALE, MACHINERY and PLANT at COBBINSHAW comprising Winding and Pumping Engines, Shale Breaker, Retorts and Condensers, Pit-Rails, Hutches, &c. Apply to Mr. MILLER, C.E., 2 South St. David Street.

The Scotsman 18th November 1879.

TO LET, SOUTH COBBINSHAW BRICKWORKS near AUCHENGRAY. They are of modern-construction , and fitted with Machinery capable of making 10,000 Bricks per day ready for the Kiln. The Bricks are of well-known first-class quality, and have been largely used in Railway and Sewage Works. The Clay and Marl are nearly 30 feet thick, and are well adapted for Sanitary Pipes, for which there is ample Store accommodation. For full particulars apply to JOHN FYFE, 7 West George Street Glasgow.

The Scotsman, 28th October 1881.

EXTENSIVE SALE OF BRICKWORK PLANT and MOVEABLE MACHINERY At SOUTH COBBINSHAW. Belonging to the South Cobbinshaw Fireclay and Brick Company (Limited) in Liquidation, On THURSDAY, the 28th April, at Half-past Twelve o'clock. LYON & TURNBULL are favoured with instruction to dispose of by Public Auction THE WHOLE WORKING PLANT, MACHINERY, and TOOLS, consisting of One TWO-FLUED STEAM BOILER, 17fr by 6ft 3 with furnaces. &c. Two EGG_END STEAM BOILERS, 30 ft. by 5 ft. 6, with Safety and Regulating Valves, Furnace Bars, Dampers, &c, to work to 80 lb. pressure. Two EGG END STEAM BOILERS, about 27ft by 5ft 6. HORIZONTAL HIGH-PRESSURE STEAM-ENGINE, 15 in Cylinder, 3ft 6in Stroke, with Feeding Pump, Eccentric and Reversing Gear: about 360 Yards, MAIN RAILWAY SIDING to Caledonian Railway. Two 8ft PAN MILLS, Riddle Bottoms, Scrapers, Upright and Horizontal Shafts. &c. HAND and POWER VERTICAL BORING MACHINE. STEAM DONKEY PUMP, by Cameron, 5 in. Cylinder, 3 in Plunger 6 in Stroke, Fly-Wheel, Iron Pipers, &c. WATER TANKS, Steam and Water Pipes, Malleable Iron Boggies, Cast iron Platform. Malleable Iron Funnel, 34 ft. by 2 ft., others of smaller size: Smithy Fire Irons, PORTABLE SWIVEL CRANE, Furnace Doors and Binders, about 800 feet of Service rial for Carts and Boggies, large Quantity Cast-Iron Platform Plates, Old Chairs, Anvils, Leather, Rubber and Canvas Beltings; Office Furniture, Milner's Fireproof Safe &c. Particulars in Catalogues which will be forwarded to applicants.

The Scotsman, 7th April 1888.

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