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Annick Lodge oil works

Location In the vicinity of; 55.645569, -4.613922 show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Irvine, County of Ayr
Current local authority area North Ayrshire
Construction history prior to 1877
Ownership history John Baird & Co
Annick Lodge Oil Co.,
Annick Lodge Oil Co. Ltd
Demolition history Site probably cleared during the early 1890's
Current status of site Presumed site of oil works marked by a wooded bing

The last, and probably the largest coal-oil works to have operated in Ayrshire, but surprisingly not mentioned by Redwood.

Annick Lodge was one of a number of oil works in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire established by members of the Baird family. The Annick Lodge Oil Company Ltd was formed in1885 to the enterprise, but enjoyed a short life, being liquidated in 1889.

The company owned the branch railway, workers housing and other property formerly associated with the Annick Lodge colliery. Although the oil works are not shown on any edition of Ordnance Survey map, it seems that they were sited close to junction of the branch with the Glasgow & South Western Railway, where a bing of red blaes still remains. While the works are not listed in 1875 valuation rolls, the 1881 census records twelve shale miners residing in Annick Lodge Rows.

The 1884 general meeting of the Midlothian Oil Co. Ltd., records that their shale was tested in the 32 Young & Beilby retorts at Annick Lodge oil works


Valuation Records

Still to be fully researched. The 1885 records show an oil works valued at £60 in 1885, the company also being proprietor of 25 houses, grocery store, school and school house. The works are not listed in either the 1875 or the1895 valuation rolls.



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

Recent Images


THE MANUFACTURE OF SHALE OIL AT ANNICK- LODGE - We understand that there are at present fifty retorts in operation at Annicklodge Colliery in the manufacture of shale oil. The coal workings were abandoned some time ago by the Messrs Merry & Cunninghame, and the new industry is being carried on by Messrs John Baird & Co.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 13th October 1877

There comes to us the tidings of another novelty discovered by Mr Linton, of Kilmaurs, the gentleman who made a sensation last winter among the geologists by his remarkable Nautilus. The Rev. David Landsborough describes it as a slab of shale from Annick Lodge, nearly three feet long, on which lies a fossil skeleton, 31 inches in length, and of a form so strange that the wise women in Kilmaurs declare it must be a monkey. We wait with some interest for the verdict which the wise men among our Western geologists will deliver on this strange monster.

The Dundee Courier, 21st June 1881


At Annicklodge Oil Works (Messrs James Baird & Co.'s) a new stalk vent, 80 feet high, was blown down, and other damage wrought.

TheArdrossan and Saltcoats Herald 14th December 1883


...the directors appointed a committee of their number to fully investigate the whole subject, and it having been ascertained that the Beilby retorts were giving entire satisfaction at the works of the Annick Lodge Oil Company, the committee put themselves in communication with Mr Baird, to whom they are under great obligations for his courtesy and ready assistance. By arrangement, a quantity of Mid-Lothian shale (about 160 tons) was put through 32 retorts at Annick Lodge (being a week's work) and gave such satisfactory results.

The Glasgow Herald, 16th December 1884


ANNICK LODGE OIL COMPANY LIMITED... This company has been formed for the purpose of acquiring the existing Oil Works, Pits, Workmen's Houses, and other buildings belonging to the Annick Lodge Oil Company, with the Goodwill of the Business, Mineral Leases, Stocks of Shale, &c., in hand, and of carrying out the Manufacture of Crude Oil and Sulphate of Ammonia. The yield per Ton of Shale in daily working for the last eighteen months has been 37 Gallons Crude Oil, 21 lb. Sulphate of Ammonia; a result with compares with the richest Shales in Scotland. The cost of working the Shale is under 4s., per ton.

The Scotsman, 22nd January 1885


Success has attended the exertions of the promoters the new Oil Company in the landward part of the parish. The required capital has been subscribed, and the works of Messrs James Baird, & Co., have been bought in at valuation. It is the intention of the company to make considerable extension on the works, the output of oil purposed being two or three times and great it at present. In the same neighbourhood, Messrs Merry and Cuninghame have commenced boring operations with a view to working the ironstone. These works will each employ great many men, and will do something towards reviving trade in the district. There has not been much doing about Annicklodge for the last two or three years and the prospects now presented are hailed with satisfaction.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald 13th February 1885



Particulars in Catalogues – forwarded Free. 19 Gordon Street, Glasgow, 1st October, 1890 Train from St Enoch's at 10.45 to Cunninghamhead Station, thence by Special Conveyance to Annick Lodge Siding.

The Glasgow Herald, 3rd October 1890


The Parrot Shale, or Shale Coal was in former years the most important seam in northern Ayrshire from the point of view of the distillation of oil. It was wrought, and oil-works were erected for its treatment, between Stevenson and Kilwinning, at Fergushill (near Montgreenan), and in the neighbourhood of Doura and Annick Lodge. The Annick Lodge oil-works, the last in operation, was closed down about 15 years ago. Ammonium Sulphate was obtained as well as oil, but the latter was only from 14 to 20 galls. per ton, and had to be taken to a Lothian refinery. Even under these adverse conditions the enterprise was financially a success.

Memoirs of the Geological Survey in Scotland Vol XXIV Cannel Coals, Lignite and Mineral Oil in Scotland by W. Gibson 1922


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