Scottish shale Scottish shale

East Fulton Oil Works

Alternative names:
East Fulton Shale Oil Works
Former parish and county:
Parish of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire
Local authority:
Presumably constructed c.1868
Presumably cleared after 1885
Current status of site:
Public open space, playing fields


Redwood records the original proprietors as "James Greenshields & Sons (1866-1873), 20 horizontal retorts and refinery until 1873, then Jas. Liddle & Co., Walkinshaw Oil Co. in 1880".

A newpaper account (see snippets, below) describes how a fire in February 1871 destroyed stocks of oil and most of the refinery equipment, but left the crude oil works and associated pit unscathed. There is no evidence that the refinery was rebuilt following the fire; only crude oil seems to have been produced under the ownership of James Liddell & Company.

The precise site of the works is unknown, but seems likely to be associated with a waste bing directly south of East Fulton farm, marked on the 1897 OS map.

Directory Listings

From Watson's Directory for Paisley:

  • LIDDELL, James & Co., Crude Oil Makers, East Fulton Oil Works (1874-78)
  • LIDDELL, James & Co., Crude Oil Makers, East Fulton Oil Work, residence, Hagg Crescent, Johnstone (1879-80)

See James Greenshields & Son for listings of that company in Glasgow post office directories.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1897.

  • Rateable value by year
    • Date Rateable Value Owner Occupier Notes
      1868 £40 James Greenshields & Son James Greenshields & Son
      1869-70 £100 James Greenshields & Son James Greenshields & Son
      1871-72 £150 James Greenshields & Son James Greenshields & Son
      1873-75 £50 James Liddell James Liddell
      1873-75 £100 James Liddell James Liddell
      1876-77 £100 James Liddell James Liddell
      1878 £100 Works
      1879 £50 James Liddell James Liddell Retorts (Empty)
      1880 £120 James Liddell James Liddell
      1881-85 £150 Walkinshaw Oil Company Ltd Walkinshaw Oil Company Ltd
      1886 -- Entries scored out Entries scored out Empty
  • Location map
  • Detailed maps
  • Newspaper references
    • CONTRACTORS WANTED, to work coal and shale, at Fulton Works, near Johnstone. Offers must be lodged not later than the 1st of July with the subscribers. The terms of contract, together with any information, can be obtained from Jas. Greenshields & Son, 33 Virginia Street.

      Glasgow Herald , 27th June 1866



      Yesterday morning the oil refinery situated near the South-Western and Ayrshire Railway, between Johnstone and Bridge-of-Weir, and belonging Messrs James Greenshields & Son, Glasgow, was struck by fire. The conflagration, which took place between 4 and 5 o'clock originated from the man in charge having gone to the still with his lamp burning, and the gas, when the still was running, ignited at the mouth of the worm and ran along to the tanks, the oil in which immediately caught fire. The flames, which rose to an immense magnitude, and continued for some hours, illumined the sky to a great distance, and had more the appearance of a city on fire than a single work, however large. Fortunately, the gearing and the apparatus connected with the pit from which the shale is got were not attached to the shed containing the oil, and consequently were uninjured; otherwise, the damage would have been much greater. As it is, the stock of paraffine and lubricating oil in the sheds, which are completely consumed, is estimated at £1000, and of course, was uninsurable. The retorts are uninjured, being a considerable distance from the sheds. The appearance which the place presents is one of great devestation, the lubricating oil having run through the fields towards the railway, and the barrels being scattered throughout the open ground in confusion among the debris. The scene of the conflagration was visited in the course of the day by numbers of spectators from Johnstone and other places in the neighbourhood. Except, however for the loss of the oil and the refining machinery, there is nothing to prevent operations being resumed immediately, and Messrs Greenshields, therefore, intend at once to commence the erection, of the sheds, and to replace the tanks and refining apparatus which have been destroyed.

      Glasgow Herald, 2nd February 1871



      "The Walkinshaw Oil Company (Limited)" is intended to be formed for the purpose of acquiring- …. 2. The East Fulton Oilworks , situated in the Parish of Kibarchan, near Johnstone, belonging to Messrs James Liddell & Co., with the Leases for working Shale, Coal and Fire Clay held from the Trustees of the late Thomas Speir, Esq. Of Blackstone.

      Scotsman, 29th September 1880