Scottish shale Scottish shale

West Lothian Oil Co. Ltd

Company number:
A limited company registered in Scotland No. 1285
Share capital:
5th October 1883
23rd November 1895
Registered office:

3 Hope Street, Edinburgh; 196 St Vincent Street, Glasgow (14th June 1886); 12 St Vincent Street, Glasgow (20th June 1888).

Oil works:

A limited company established to purchase mineral rights and construct an oil works at Deans, and also take over a refinery at Benhar. Like many schemes promoted by George Simpson, the assets purchased by the new company were greatly overvalued. The initial board, led by the Provost of Bathgate, Donald Tulloch Sutherland, proved inexperienced and inept, and within two years had lost the confidence of shareholders. In the opinion of one shareholder, he had never encountered "a more loosely, a more slovenly, a more disgracefully managed concern than the West Lothian Oil Company"

A new board was elected, led by Robert Thompson Pattison, of the Dalmeny Oil Co. Ltd., who brought great practical experience of oil production and shale mining. Despite Provost Sutherland's efforts to disrupt the meetings of the new board, it was agreed to reduce the nominal capital of the company to £75,000 and invest funds in further development of the works and mines. Although successfully developing its mining interests, the company became increasingly indebted and failed in 1891. Many of the company's assets at Deans were subsequently purchased by the Pumpherston Oil Co. Ltd.

Records of the company are incomplete, but the following individuals are known to have served as directors of the company:

  • Provost Donald Tulloch Sutherland - 1883-1886/87 (Chairman from 1883-before 1886/87)
  • A. Brownlee - 1883-1885/86
  • David Greig - 1883-before 1887
  • John Kolbe Milne - 1883-1885/86
  • Archibald Simpson - 1883-1885/86
  • William Holmes - after 1885/86-unknown
  • James Jones - after 1885/86-unknown
  • Peter Glendinning - 1886-around 1887
  • Robert Thompson Pattison - before 1887-after 1890 (Chairman from 1886/87-after 1890)
  • Bailie Henry Walker - before 1887
  • Gideon Brown - before 1887
  • J.D. Walker - before 1887
  • Hugh Mair - unknown-before 1892

D.G. Hoey, served as company secretary


  • Location of works
  • Shareholders' meetings
  • Collection resources
      • 142811 - Report of the proceedings of the Special General Meeting of the members, held on 5th October 1887
      • 143043 - Director's report and balance sheet as at 31st March 1887
      • 143047 - Prospectus of the West Lothian Oil Company, dated September 1882
  • Related file records