The pioneering industry that shaped West Lothian, and changed the world.

James "Paraffin" Young's Bathgate works were perhaps the first in the world to produce refined mineral oils on a commercial scale. From this pioneering enterprise extended an oil industry centred on the Lothians shale-field that successfully competed against cheaper imported petroleum for almost a century. This fierce competition bred innovation, resilience, and a body of Scots know-how that contributed greatly towards the development of oil industries throughout the world.

This website is being developed to celebrate, exchange knowledge, and encourage research into this special heritage. Many of these on-line resources are associated with on our museum collection, which is recognised as being of national importance to Scotland.

Introduction

A guide to this website, the re-use of content, details of our museum, and links to further resources.

People

Biographies, employment records, and other useful resources family history research.

Places

A gazetteer of works, mines, villages, and other locations associated with the shale oil industry.

Stories

Articles and discussions about the shale oil industry and associated local histories.

Organisations

A directory of shale oil companies, and associated organisations.

Collections

An illustrated catalogue of our museum collection, archives, and associated resources.

Stories from the shale country and rambles around West Lothian

A Wander around Calder Hall

Discovering early shale mines and quarries

The Lost Township

The forgotten history of Whitelachlens

Camilty Bridge

The strange tale of a road to nowhere

Little Vantage

An old inn beside the Lang Whang

Explore the Museum and our Recognised Collection

Visit the museum.... virtually

An interactive tour of the shale museum

Latest Acquisitions

The book of shale - a solid read

Latest Acquisitions

Plans for a forgotten railway

Support out museum

Help support the running of the website, and the work of our charity

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