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Blackburn oil works

Location Unknown, perhaps in the vicinity of: 55.871667,-3.599695 show in map
Former parish and county Parish of Livingstone, Linlithgowshire
Current local authority area West Lothian
Construction history Built c1866
Ownership history Blackburn Mineral Oil Company,
Demolition history Probably dismantled c.1869
Current status of site unknown

Redwood states that the works, sited near Blackburn House, operated in 1860 with 30 horizontal retorts producing only crude oil. He noted:

"Dougal and Brothers' oil works... might have been in operation to this day had the supply of shale held out, but, as it was, the supply of that commodity only fed the 30 retorts for two or three months, and, after spending £800 on a fruitless search for more shale, their retorts to the query "How's the oil business?", were cold indeed."

Redwood's reference to the works being sited "near Blackburn House" is the only clue as to its location. The second edition OS map (c.1896) provides no clues as to potential sites, except perhaps an "old shaft" lying in the tree belt between Blackburn House and the River Almond. This is not present on the first edition OS map (c.1856)


Valuation Records

Listed in Valuation Rolls between 1867 and 1868. Download details



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


TO BE LET, THE SHALE, COAL and other MINERALS on the property of BLACKBURN, situate about four miles from Bathgate, and two from Livingstone Station on the Edinburgh and Bathgate Railway. The Property extends to upwards of 13o Imperial Acres, and recent inspection shows that it contains a valuable field of Shale, which is found on analysis to yield 37 Gallons of Crude Oil per Ton. Coal also exists within the Lands. Further particulars will be given, and Offers of a Trial Lease received, by R & E. SCOTT, C.A., 25 Fingal Place, Edinburgh, until 8th January 1866.

The Scotsman 3rd January 1866


MINERAL FIELD TO LET. THE COAL, IRONSTONE, SHALE and LIMESTONE in the Property of Murrayfield, Blackburn, near Bathgate, extending to 170 Acres, or thereby. The Coal is of the caking class, which is preferred in Edinburgh for Household purposes; and, from journal of bores in Proprietor's possession, is about Five Feet in Thickness. There are Two Ironstones. The first, considered to be in the position of the Lower Possil, has been bored 11½ inches. The other Seam was bored 9 inches, and is supposed to occupy the position of the Ayrshire Blackband. The Shale is that known as the Dam Head or Raeburn Seam; and it has been opened up on the adjoining Property, where it can be seen. There are Three Beds of Limestone. The two under Beds extend through nearly the whole of the Lands, and, where they have been bored, are from Five to Six Feet Thick. Apply to ANDREW WALKER, 114 Trongate, Glasgow.

The Falkirk Herald, 18th January 1872


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