Vote for Shale!

The shale collection has a wide variety of political material in our collection, mostly newspaper clippings, and information relating to industrial action. These date back into the 19th century and include the personal notes of heralded local trades union organiser John Wilson.

Trades Union membership (LVSAV2014.016)

We also have two leaflets produced by the Midlothian and West Lothian Labour Party candidates standing for Westminster in 1959.

Both men, James M. Hill, standing in Midlothian, and John Taylor, standing in West Lothian, mention shale in their leaflets. Hill effusively promotes the industry, and both note the need to abolish the duty on shale oil. Both Hill and Taylor won their seats comfortably, but with the Conservatives regaining power, the duty on shale oil was never abolished. Two years later the last remnants of the industry (its workforce had reduced from 12,000 to 2,500) would end as cheap imported oil became more attractive.

James M. Hill
James M. Hill, the Labour Party’s Westminster candidate for Midlothian in 1959 (BP Archive: 8417-004)
John Taylor
John Taylor, the Labour Party’s West Lothian candidate for Westminster in 1959 (BP Archive: 8417-003)

Taylor would die in office in 1962, leading to the election of Tam Dalyell. Hill would step down at the 1966 election, but would die within months. His replacement was another long-serving MP, Alex Eadie.