Dalmeny Oil Works
|Former parish and county||Parish of Dalmeny, Linlithgowshire|
|Current local authority area||City of Edinburgh|
|Construction history||Built c. 1870|
|Ownership history||Kirkliston Oil Company,
Dalmeny Oil Company Ltd (Old),
Dalmeny Oil Company (New)
|Demolition history||Presumably cleared c. 1927|
|Current status of site||Landscaped area adjacent to tank farm sited within former bing|
A substantial crude oil works exploiting local oil-shales. Less than two years after construction of the oil works, a public limited company (The Dalmeny Oil Company Ltd) was formed to take over the interests of the business. A close working relationship later developed with the Oakbank Oil Company Ltd, who refined much of Dalmeny's crude, and ultimately owned the majority of the company's shares. Following the formation of Scottish Oils Ltd, much of the shale produced at the Ingliston pits were transported to Dalmeny for retorting.
Redwood commented "This company has been a phenomenal success, and as it has always been a crude oil work only, and has not had any special advantages as regards shale fields, &c., it points to the fact that there is not much profit in refining unless done on a sufficiently large scale; and if some of the other ventures had followed the Dalmeny Company's example, and stuck to the crude oil business and left the refining to those more capable of doing it, it would have been better for all concerned."
Entries between 1870 and 1926. Download details
- 36 retorts "of and improved design" erected in 1898, with further benches of 40 retorts each in 1899 and 1900
Ordnance Survey maps reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.
- (1) 25" OS map, c.1896, showing the works in operation
- (2) As (1), with annotations
- (3) 25" OS map, c.1917, with the working continuing in operation
- (4) As (3) with annotations
- (5) Google Earth view c.2005
- (6) 6" OS map annoted to show maximum extent of spent shale bing
- (7) 1" OS map c.1904 annotated to show standard gauge mineral railways (blue) and narrow-gauge tramways (turquoise) linking mines to the oilworks
- (1) The oil works site lies between Dalmeny nursery school and the greened bing on the horizon, immediately south of the M90
- (2) Access to Dalmeny tank farm, serving Hound Point oil terminal, hidden within the hollowed-out bing of the former oil works
This COMPANY is being formed for the purpose of acquiring the DALMENY SHALE and OIL WORKS, near Queensferry, with the lease of shale and other minerals in part of the DALMENY ESTATE of the EARL OF ROSEBERRY. The mineral field is intersected by the Queensferry Branch of the North British Railway Company, and the works connected with that branch by a short line of private railway. The extent and contents of the mineral field have been amply proved by mineral workings and by boring. The mining machinery has been completed so as to admit of an output of 200 tons of shale per day, and by a little further expenditure, this can be easily increased. The Oil Works were erected within the last eighteen months and having been gradually extended during that time as the commercial value of the undertaking was proved. They contain 33 upright and 44 horizontal retorts with relative machinery and plant. A relatively small proportion of additional expense will increase the Oil Works, so as to use the output available from the mining plant.
Prospectus in The Scotsman, 2nd October 1871.
The Dalmeny Oil Company (Limited). - Near Edinburgh,
Our works are situated on the Dolphington Burn, a tributary of the Water of Leith. Employ 141 hands. Rateable value of works, 600/. The bed of the stream has not silted up. Our works are not affected by floods. There has been no alteration in the condition of the stream above our works within our knowledge. It is not polluted by works above, nor by mines. Obtain supply of water pumped from our pits, and consume yearly 1 5,000,000 gallons. Use yearly bituminous shale, 30,000 tons, and sulphuric or other acid, 100 tons. Produce yearly, crude oil, 950,000 gallons, and sulphate of ammonia, 100 tons. The waste liquid produced at our works flows into the burn. Produce yearly about 24,000 tons of solid refuse shale, which is accumulated in large heaps around the works, and used sometimes for repairing roads. Use steam, 80 nominal horse-power. Consume nearly 7,000 tons of coal the ashes from which are used to repair roads and footpaths. The excrements of our workpeople, mixed with ashes, are removed periodically by farmers, and used for manure. Have no suggestions to offer as to the best means of avoiding pollution in future, or as to the conservancy of rivers and streams.
From Report on the Pollution of Scotch Rivers to the Rivers Pollution Commissioners, 1873
- 25th March 1885, injury to James Johnstone and Henry White caused by scalding
- 18th December 1903, fatal accident of Hugh Paisley killed by falling over the spent shale tip
- 25th November 1911, death of Alexander Craig after being run over by an oil tanker
- 3rd August 1915, death of James William Rennoldson after being hit by a large piece of clinker at a spent shale bing
- 25th September 1920, death of John Martin after being knocked over by a runaway hutch
- Oral history transcript: Mr & Mrs Cameron