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Home > Collections & Resources > Transcripts > Clippens Oil Co. Ltd. v. Edinburgh & District Water Trust 1899


Clippens Oil Company Valuation Appeal Courts


Captain Dundas presiding. The Clippens Oil Company (Limited) appealed against the valuation of their works and houses being entered at the restricted amount of £800. Mr Wilson, advocate, appeared for the appellants, and evidence was led. Mr Armour, secretary and general manager of the company, deponed that he had been manager for 18 years. Having described the extent of the company's undertaking at the Pentland and Straiton works, he mentioned that they possessed 344 dwelling houses for the use of their workmen when the works were going in full order.

The operations of the company had been stopped since 14th July, 1897, and from that date there had been no output of shale whatever from the mines. The result was that the retorts and refineries had been lying silent and unused for almost two years. The workmen had been dismissed, and had left the neighbourhood. The cause of the stoppage of the mines was the interdict of the Edinburgh and District Water Trust brought against them for working across the whole of the field. The result of the stoppage was that the mines were in a state of collapse, and it would take at lease two years to re-open the works. Before the works were stopped, they were assessed in 1896-97 at £1980, but witness could not understand upon what basis the assessor had fixed £800 as the valuation of the works which were now lying useless. The appellants suggested that the valuation of the works should be fixed at the nominal figure of £100. When the Hermand Oil Works stopped the assessors entered them at the nominal valuation of £50. The Clippens Works were double the size of the Hermand. While they were not objecting to any items in the valuation roll in respect of houses that were at present occupied, with regard to the 280 houses that were unoccupied they suggested the nominal figure of £1 per house, having pointed out the possibility of having these houses let otherwise.

Cross-examined by Mr Lynch, the assessor, witness said there was no possibility of re-starting the works until the present litigation with the Water Trust was settled, as it was now a matter of physical impossibility of having these houses let otherwise. Evidence was also given by Mr Love, manager of the Shotts Iron Company, Loanhead; Mr Ormiston, surveyor, Edinburgh; and Mr Rankine, mining engineer, Glasgow, in corroboration of the dilapidated condition of the mines and the ground works. After consultation between the parties, an agreement was come to with the assessor, fixing the valuation of the work at £500 and the houses at £400 for the year.

The Glasgow Herald, September 14, 1899


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