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Oddities

A Recognised Collection of National Importance

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Discovery of Natural Gas

Some workmen, while boring for at Middleton Hall, Uphall, observed that gas escaped the bore. They applied a light, and instantly the gas blazed up into a beautiful white flame, and continued to burn with increasing force for several days, when it was extinguished by the workmen in order to resume boring. After the men had finished their "shift," the gas had considerably increased in volume; it was again ignited, and a pail of cold water suspended over it, which was boiled in thirty minutes. The strata from which the gas evolves is well known to mineralogists as the marl which overlie the rich bituminous shales of this district. Judging from the extent of the source of supply and the richness of the gas, it might be profitably employed for oilmaking, heating, and illuminating purposes.

 

East London Observer, 1st May 1869

Find Of Fish Fossils At Holmes Oil Works

The checkweigher at Holmes shale mine has just discovered a fine specimen of a fossil fish about four inches in length, and perfect in every particular. It was embedded in a solid mass of shale 100 fathoms below the surface. The fish is now in possession of Mr Stewart, Broxburn Oil Works. Several other similar fossils have previously been found at Holmes, and specimens have been sent to the Mining Institute, London, and the Edinburgh Museum.

 

Glasgow Herald, 30th May 1888

A Fairy Fountain At Uphall

Burning All Night

Yesterday the water of a mineral well on the estate of Middleton, Uphall, belonging to Sir John Pender, suddenly became very disturbed, and presently began to spurt up like a fairy fountain, and to bubble over in a very remarkable manner. Under the well is an old deep mineral bore from which both gas and water used to issue. A few years ago the gas was frequently lit, and the flames would rise to a height of ten or twelve feet. The present disturbed state of the water is doubtless due to the return of gas, and towards night a lighted taper on the end of a pole was stretched out upon the surface of the angry water, when an explosion immediately took place. The flames leapt up about 12 feet and continued to burn all night.

 

Edinburgh Evening News, 24th July 1888

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