Scottish shale Scottish shale

Clippens Shale Oil Co.

Company number:
Not known
Share capital:
Not known
c. 1870
Dissolved circa 1878 on the formation of Clippens Oil Company Ltd.
Registered office:

16 Bothwell Street, Glasgow

Oil works:

The company, sometimes refered to as "Binning & Scott", was established in about 1870 as a co-partnership between Robert Binning and John Binning (previously partners in Robert Binning & Son) and Thomas Inglis Scott, who was a minor at the time that the deed of co-partnery was signed. Robert Binning & Son had been a progressive and apparently successful paraffin refiner operating from Blochairn Chemical Works. Thomas Inglis Scott was son of James Scott, a wealthy Glasgow businessman. The name "Clippens Shale Oil Company" appears on valuation rolls for 1870, and first appears in directories in 1872.

John Binning and Thomas Inglis Scott both lived at Clippens House between 1872 and 1874, so were presumably involved in the direction of everyday operations of "Mr. Binning's works" at Clippens. It appears that shale was purchased from Messrs. Merry and Cuninghame rather than being mined by the Clippens company.

In 1875, the company brought a court case against James Scott. The company claimed that the father, James Scott, was playing an active and sometime injudicious role in the running of the company through his son, Thomas Inglis Scott, and should be considered as the co-partner in the company rather than his son. This had a bearing on the company's financial difficulties as substantial funds were due to James Scott. Robert and John Binning withdrew from the partnership in 1876, leaving James Scott as sole partner, and in 1879 the Clippens business was launched as a public limited company; the Clippens Oil Company Ltd (1878).


  • James Scott - Merchant, Glasgow (from c.1875?)
  • Thomas Inglis Scott, son of James Scott (until c.1875?)
  • Robert Binning (retired 1876)
  • John Binning (retired 1876), son of Robert Binning

  • Newspaper references
    • View all transcipts of newpaper references relating to the Clippens Shale Oil Co and its successors

      Mr. Scott, Glasgow, one of the partners in the Clippens Shale Oil Company, has purchased the whole of the ironstone and coal mines at Clippens from Messrs Merry and Cuninghame. Mr. Scott has also become sole proprietor of the Clippens Shale Oil Company.

      Glasgow Herald, 4th January 1876


      THE Subscribers Robert Binning and John Binning of this date retired from the CLIPPENS SHALE OIL COMPANY, carrying on business in Glasgow, and at Clippens in Renfrewshire. Glasgow, 12th June 1876. ROB. BINNING. JOHN BINNING.

      Glasgow Herald, 4th January 1876


      Entries in successive editions of the annual Glasgow Post Office Directory

      • Clippens Shale Oil Co. Blochairn. (1872)
      • CLIPPENS Shale Oil Co. 16, Bothwell St. works, Clippens, by Paisley. (1872-75)
      • Binning, John, (of Clippens Shale Oil Co.), residence, Clippens House, Renfrewshire. (1872-74)
      • Brown, J.W. (at Clippens Shale oil Co.), house 100 Buccleuch Street. (1872-73)
      • Scott, Thomas Inglis, (of Clippens Shale Oil Co. residence, Clippens House, Renfrewshire. (1872-74)

      Scotsman, March 1882


      The Clippens Shale Company v. James Scott

      The diet of' these actions is to have it declared that James Scott, merchant, Glasgow, is a partner of the Clippens Shale Oil Company.- He defended the action on the ground that he was not a partner – his son, Thomas Inglis Scott, being named as such in the deed of copartnery.

      In the second action, Scott concluded for recover of £73,000 contained in various bills drawn by him upon and accepted by the defenders. In giving judgement today, the Lord Ordinary pointed out that the effect of the decree of the declarator concluded for would be to displace Thomas Inglis Scott form his position as partner under the deed of copartnery, and to put the defendant, James Scott, who was called and appeared as a party for his interest, in his place.

      The pursuers aver that although Thomas Inglis Scott was ostensively partner in the company, the defender James Scott was really the party who became partner and performed the obligations nominally undertaken by Thomas Inglis Scott. This was followed up by detailed averments in regard to the defenders consult in relation to the business of the company, for which it appeared that he took an active charge of the business active minded that being also injudicious, the concern had in consequence been involved in great pecuniary difficulties.

      The pursuers asked a proof for their averments and the defenders opposed that on the plea of irrelevancy. The question of decision accordingly was whether or not the pursuers averments were such as ought to be admitted to proof. His Lordship was clearly of opinion that the deed of partnership could not be contradicted. It might be a probably was the threat the defender meant to secure himself or his son, such benefits as the partnership might yield without exposing himself to the correspondent risk, and that in this view he induced the pursuers to take his son, who was a minor and probably dependent on him, as their partner under the deed, and at the same time to allow him (the father) to take part in the management of the business. That device was unavailingly to save the defender from liability to third parties dealing with the company in belief that he was a partner; not the question was different when it occurred with the pursuers, who agreed to take the role as partner. On the whole, his Lordship sustained the plea of irrelevancy and dismissed the action of the declarator with expenses. In the other case his Lordship repelled the defences and gave decree.

      Glasgow Herald, 7th February 1876