Scottish shale Scottish shale

Clippens Oil Co. Ltd. (1893)

Company number:
Registered in Scotland, No. 2533
Share capital:
28th June 1893
3rd January 1912
Registered office:

Pentland Paraffin Oil Works

Oil works:

A new limited company created to reconstruct the interests of the Clippens Oil Co. Ltd. (1878). Oil production was suspended in 1897 as the consequence of a long and complex legal case with the Edinburgh and District Water Trust which was not concluded until 1907. The company was finally dissolved in 1912.


  • W. S. Brown - 41 Oswald Street, Glasgow (of A. & J, Stewart and Clydesdale Ltd)
  • Thomas Bennet Clark - 64 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Chartered Accountant
  • John Durie - Tranent, Coalmaster
  • J A Hood - Colliery Owner, Whitehills, Rosewell
  • R A Murray - 163 West George Street, Glasgow, Chartered Accountant
  • A C Scott - 27 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow

  • References
    • CLIPPENS OIL COMPANY REPORT. The report by the directors of the Clippens Oil Company states that the year's trading shows, after debiting £6036 for repairs and maintenance of works above ground, a balance at debit of profit and loss account of £8540. There also falls to be charged to profit and loss account, as usual – Interest on debentures, £4056; interest on loans, £1436; leaving a balance at the debit of profit and loss for the year of £14, 032. The directors regret this disastrous result, which is entirely due to the action of the Edinburgh and District Water Trust, but as the questions in dispute are still sub judice, the directors regret they cannot submit the full particulars until the Courts finally dispose of the matter. The gross profits for the previous year was £12,334, from which fell to be deducted £5438 capital expenditure charged against revenue, and £5453 debenture and other interest, leaving a net profit of £1443. Although the prices of certain products have been lower during the year under review, the directors had no hesitation in anticipation that any such shortage would have been more than met by lower costs, better yields, and the cessations of special expenditure on steel girders – an outlay which had represented many of pounds, but which represented also a large saving in future costs. Any likelihood of obtaining the results so anticipated ceased to exist early in March, when the proceedings above referred to were commenced. Stocks have been retained at the low prices fixed three years ago.Edinburgh Evening News, 20th December 1897


      Captain Dundas presiding. The Clippens Oil Company (Limited) appealed against the valuation of their works and houses being entered at the restricted amount of £800. Mr Wilson, advocate, appeared for the appellants, and evidence was led. Mr Armour, secretary and general manager of the company, deponed that he had been manager for 18 years. Having described the extent of the company's undertaking at the Pentland and Straiton works, he mentioned that they possessed 344 dwelling houses for the use of their workmen when the works were going in full order. The operations of the company had been stopped since 14th July, 1897, and from that date there had been no output of shale whatever from the mines. The result was that the retorts and refineries had been lying silent and unused for almost two years. The workmen had been dismissed, and had left the neighbourhood. The cause of the stoppage of the mines was the interdict of the Edinburgh and District Water Trust brought against them for working across the whole of the field. The result of the stoppage was that the mines were in a state of collapse, and it would take at lease two years to re-open the works. Before the works were stopped, they were assessed in 1896-97 at £1980, but witness could not understand upon what basis the assessor had fixed £800 as the valuation of the works which were now lying useless. The appellants suggested that the valuation of the works should be fixed at the nominal figure of £100. When the Hermand Oil Works stopped the assessors entered them at the nominal valuation of £50. The Clippens Works were double the size of the Hermand. While they were not objecting to any items in the valuation roll in respect of houses that were at present occupied, with regard to the 280 houses that were unoccupied they suggested the nominal figure of £1 per house, having pointed out the possibility of having these houses let otherwise. Cross-examined by Mr Lynch, the assessor, witness said there was no possibility of re-starting the works until the present litigation with the Water Trust was settled, as it was now a matter of physical impossibility of having these houses let otherwise. Evidence was also given by Mr Love, manager of the Shotts Iron Company, Loanhead; Mr Ormiston, surveyor, Edinburgh; and Mr Rankine, mining engineer, Glasgow, in corroboration of the dilapidated condition of the mines and the ground works. After consultation between the parties, an agreement was come to with the assessor, fixing the valuation of the work at £500 and the houses at £400 for the year.Glasgow Herald, 14th September 1899


      The Clippens company had, early in 1892, reduced its capital from £258,150 to £77,670: 25,890 shares of £3 each, fully paid. On 29th December 1892 [sic] an extraordinary resolution to wind up was adopted. This resulted in the formation of a new company, also called the Clippens Oil Company Limited, incorporated on 23rd June 1893 to take over the old company. The new company took over the debentures issued by the old, but with an interest rate reduced from 5 to 3 per cent. The debentures trustees were given 500 £1 A shares in the new company.

      Scotland's First Oil Boom, The Scottish Shale-Oil Industry, 1851-1914, by John McKay, Page 104

  • Associated references
    • Registration Records transcribed from dissolved company records held by the National Archives of Scotland.