Scottish shale Scottish shale

Midlothian Mineral Oil Co. Ltd.

Company number:
Registered in Scotland No. 379
Share capital:
22nd November 1871
13th April 1876
Registered office:

190 West George Street, Glasgow (from 28th December 1871)
62 St Vincent Street, Glasgow (from 17th July 1872)
79 St Vincent Street, Glasgow (from 17th May 1873)
40 Vincent Street, Glasgow (from 11th April 1876)

Oil works:

A company floated to take over Grange Shale Oil Works and associated mines and property owned by the firm of J.P. Raeburn, the local landowner. The sale of shares was widely advertised in the English and Scottish press. The four directors included John Peter Raeburn, and William Patrick Andrew, the brother-in-law of John Peter Raeburn.

John Peter Raeburn died in 1872 and the company appears to achieved little that was promised in the prospectus. The plant and machinery of Grange Shale Oil Works was sold by auction in 1875 and the company dissolved the following year.


  • William Patrick Andrew - London, Chairman, Sind Punjab and Delhi Railway Company
  • Henry Inglis - of Torsonce, Edinburgh, Director of City of Glasgow Bank
  • John Peter Raeburn - of Charlesfield, Midlothian
  • Robert Salmond - of Rankinstone, Ayrshire, and Reform Club of London, Director of British India Steam Navigation Company

  • Newspaper references
    • NOTICE is hereby given that at an Ordinary General Meeting of the Members of the Midlothian Mineral Oil Company, Limited, duly convened, and held at the Registered Office of the Company, 79 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow, in the County of Lanark, on the 4th day of February 1875, the following Special Resolution was duly passed, and at a subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the said Company, also duly convened, and held at 79 St. Vincent Street aforesaid, on the 25th day of February 1875. The following Special Resolution was duly confirmed:- "That the Meeting pass a Special Resolution that the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that Mr.Robert Reid, the present Secretary, be appointed Liquidator." ROBERT REID, Secretary.

      Edinburgh Gazette, 26th February 1875

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

  • Company Prospectus
    • Prospectus of the Mid-Lothian Mineral Oil Co. Ltd.

      Incorporated under the Companies' Acts 1852 and 1867. Capital £75,000. First issue £50,000, in 10,000 Shares of £6 each, payable as under:— 10s. per Share on Application. 20s. ditto on Allotment 20s. ditto on lst January 1872; 20s. ditto on 1st June, 1872; and 30s. ditto on 1st October, 1872. The additional capital when issued will be offered pro rata to existing share holders.


      • Henry Inglis, Esq., of Torsonce, county of Edinburgh (Director, City of Glasgow Bank).
      • W. P. Andrew, Esq.. Bryanston square, W. (Chairman Scinde, Punjab, and Delhi Railway Company, and Director General Credit and Discount Company).
      • Robert Salmond Esq. F.R.G.S of Rankinston, Ayrshire, and Reform Club, London, S.W. (Director British India Steam Navigation Company).
      • John Peter Raeburn, Esq., of Charlesfield. Mid Calder.


      • The London Joint Stock Bank (London and branches).
      • The City of Glasgow Bank, (Glasgow, Edinburgh, and branches).


      • London— Messrs Scott & Francis, 5 Warnfordcourt, Throgmorton-street, E.C.;
      • Liverpool- Messrs. G. and T. lrvine, India-buildings;
      • Edinburgh— William Bell, Esq., 8. North St. David street;
      • Glasgow— Messrs. Kerr, Anderson, and Co., 132, St. Vincent- St.


      • Messrs. H. & E. Inglis, Writers to the Signet, 16, Queen St. Edinburgh.


      • (pro-temp) David Lockhart, Esq., Office, 190, West George Street, Glasgow.


      This Company is formed for the purpose of working on an extensive scale a valuable Mineral Oil Property at Charlesfield, near West Calder, in the county of Edinburgh. This property comprises 150 acres of first class shale, with an upper and lower seam, capable of producing 14,000 tons of shale per acre, which will yield 25 gallons or upwards of crude oil of the finest quality to each ton of shale.

      The rate and progress of the manufacture of Mineral Oil in Scotland is unparalleled by that of any other branch of trade, and there is at present an enormous and increasing demand for what has become one of the leading industries of the country. At the present time, the average weekly production of crude oil in Scotland exceeds 400,000 gallons being regularly at work, producing 21,800,000 gallons annually. About 10,000,000 gallons are annually refined for burning, besides which an enormous quantity of paraffin wax and other valuable products ate obtained from treatment of the shale.

      As to the quality of the Oil, its superiority to all other oils is apparent from a report issued by the Lighthouse authorities in France, in which they state that the Scottish oil presented a marked superiority over all others experimented upon for quality and luminous intensity, and has been adopted in all the lighthouses in France adapted for Mineral Oils. Captain H. H. Doty, in a paper read before the Royal Scottish Society Of Arts In March last, unhesitatingly pronounced Scotch oils superior to all others, and predicted their adoption at no distant date in all the lighthouses of the world. He stated that these oil possess nearly double the illuminating power of an equal quantity of vegetable or animal oils, at the same time the price being less than half. It will immediately be seen that a marked economy is effected in their use, and this circumstance has tended much to their rapid adoption

      This Company will be favourably circumstanced for producing oil, having acquired the right to work property of high repute in the West Calder district, which is particularly rich in bituminous shale of superior quality. The Caledonian Railway passes in close proximity to the property, and will be connected with the works by means of a siding, by which the cheap and easy transit of material and produce will lie greatly facilitated.

      It is estimated that the shale which exists on the property is capable of yielding 50,000,000 gallons of oil. The estimate of income and expenditure annexed to prospectus will show the highly remunerative character of this undertaking. The capital will be expended in erecting retorts and refineries, sinking pits, laying down tramways, building workmen's houses &c. the whole of the plant and machinery will, be of the most approved description. In estimating the dividends which will accrue, It is difficult to avoid an appearance of exaggeration; but after allowing fully for all expenses of manufacture, and in view of the very moderate selling prices which have been taken, and which are confirmed by competent and experienced authorities, dividends of at least 30 per cent may be reasonably expected. The business in one that is carried on without risk of bad debts, its transactions being almost entirely in cash payments.

      The Company propose to work at first about 120 tons daily, but by the issue of the remaining capital of £25,000 they would he enabled to work 240 tons a day, by which it is at once apparent the dividend would be largely increased. It is expected that the works will be in active operation in about six months from their commencement.

      The Board includes the names of gentlemen having a good knowledge of the business of the Company, and the directors have secured the services of a manager who has had great practical experience in the manufacture of mineral oils, and is thoroughly acquainted with every detail of the business. The only contract entered into is a Minute of Agreement dated 14th November 1871 between John Peter Raeburn of the one part, and William Bell, on behalf of the company, of the other part, under which a lease of shale, subject to a stipulated fixed rent or royalty, is to be granted to the Company. The price to be paid for this lease is £8,000, of which the proprietor has agreed to accept £7,000 in shares. The contract may be inspected at the office of the solicitors, and a copy may be seen at the office of the company.

      Share warrants to bearer, or share certificates, as may be desired, will he issued, when shares are fully paid. In exchange for bankers' receipts. Shares may be paid up in full on allotment if desired. Prospectuses and forms of application for shares may be obtained at the office of the Company, or of the Company's bankers or brokers where also copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association may be had.

      London Standard, 23rd November 1871 also in the Yorkshire Post, 25th November 1872