Scottish shale Scottish shale

Robert Bell & Co.

Company number:
Not known
Share capital:
Not known
First active in the Broxburn area c.1858
Shale oil interests sold to Broxburn Oil Company Ltd in 1878
Registered office:

97 Buchanan Street, Glasgow (in 1878)

Robert Bell (see Biography) was born in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, and became one of the leading coal and ironmasters in that district. In about 1859 he leased the minerals rights of the Broxburn area, initially intending to work the Houston Coal and other minerals. Although efforts in coal production met limited success, in 1860 he was first to realise the potential of oil production from oilshale.

During the 1860s and early 1870s, Bell mined coal, oilshale, and other minerals in the Broxburn area. Some of the shale produced was processed in a number of small-scale oil works in the Broxburn area owned by Bell. Other shale was sold to various other oil enterprises in the area, most of which Bell had some form of interest. The history of these small scale and often short lived businesses is complex, and Bell's precise involvement in many of them is often difficult to determine. Bell sold his shale interests to the Broxburn Oil Company Ltd, and served as first chairman of that company.

Slater's royal national trade directory lists, under Glasgow "Bell, Robert, Coal merchant, shale oil distiller and firebrick maker, 6 Dixon St.; work at Wishaw and Broxburn, House, Broxburn.

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