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Robert Crichton (1882-1966)

Robert Crichton

Robert Crichton, a former mining engineer, became the first General Mining Manager of the newly formed Scottish Oils Ltd in 1919. He later became General Manager and a member of the Board before being appointed Managing Director in 1941, a position he retained until his retirement in 1954.

In addition to his 58 years of service in the shale oil industry, Robert Crichton was actively involved with the community in which he lived. He was appointed as Convener of West Lothian County Council in 1935 and received the CBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List in 1955 for his work with the County Council and the shale oil industry. He also served as Chairman of the Board at Bangour General Hospital until 1961 and, following his death in 1966, a new lighting system was installed at St Michael's Parish Church, Linlithgow in his memory in 1967.



Mr Robert Crichton, J.P., Castlepark, chairman of the West Lothian National Service Committee, speaking at a meeting of the Philpstoun Recreation Clubs, in the Institute, made an appeal for volunteers in the district for the National Service scheme. He said that he was willing to give anyone advice about any particular branch of National Service, and he had made arrangements for a series of anti-gas lectures and sick nursing lectures to be given in the village to women every week.

The Scotsman, 17th February 1939


The Chairman said that, as members of the Board were already aware, Mr Crichton had expressed his desire to retire from the Company's service at the end of the month, and this would be the last Board meeting that he would be attending. His retirement would mark the completion of nearly 58 years' association with the Scottish Shale industry of which he had unrivalled knowledge and experience. Trained as a mining engineer, he was appointed General Mining Manager of the old Scottish Oils Limited on its formation in 1919, later becoming General Manager and a member of the Board, by whom he was appointed Managing Director in 1941.

During his service as Managing Director, that Company had experienced some difficult times and it was in large measure due to Mr Crichton's initiative and to the high esteem in which he was held by both management and workers, that it had been possible to surmount some of the major difficulties. No tribute would be adequate that did not stress Mr Crichton's personal interest in the welfare of all who served the Company in whatever capacity. It was the earnest hope of all of them that Mr Crichton and Mrs Crichton would enjoy many years of health and happiness following his retirement. Mr Crichton thanked the members of the Board for their kind tribute and for their good wishes extended to Mrs Crichton and himself.

Scottish Oils Ltd, Minutes of the Board Meeting held on Thursday, 11th March, 1954


Crichton's retirement. Falkirk Herald, 27th March, 1954


They used to say that old Mr Crichton, who was the Managing Director, knew every workman in the works, he'd call them by their first name, he was first on the doorstep if there was something wrong with the family, the old paternal type.......

JS, Housewife, Broxburn


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