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Grangepans Oil Works

Alternative names:
Thirlestane Oil Works
Borrowstouness & Carriden, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
Presumably dismantled after 1868
Current status of site:
Industrial use or waste ground

Redwood refers to the site as Thirlstane Oil Works, operated 1866 to 1867 by John Nimmo & Sons, equipped with 27 round retorts made at Inverkeithy (Inverkeithing?) and 15 flat retorts made by Ballantine at the Grange Foundry, producing crude oil only. Redwood states that the original intention was to manufacture oil from waste Parrot coal, but finding it unprofitable, they used Boghead Parrot and Methyl (Methil?) coal. "The later was shipped for the north side of the Forth and yielded about 40 gallons of 880 specific gravity crude oil per ton. Although a refinery was erected it was never put into use, and was eventually pulled down and sent to Slammanon" (sic), see Limerigg Oil Works.

The precise location of the oil works remains unclear, however the description of the works as being located "on the shores of the Forth", coupled with the use of the place name "Thirlstane" and its listing under Carriden (rather than Bo'ness) parish narrows down the likely site considerably. The first edition OS map shows a number of industrial properties on the foreshore between the parish boundary (to the west) and Grangepans salt pans (to the east) which might have subsequently been redeveloped as the oil works.

James Salmon, describes many of the industries of Bo'ness in his book "Borrowstounness and district, being historical sketches of Kinneil, Carriden and Bo'ness", published in 1913. but makes no reference to the short-lived oil works.

  • Rateable value by year
    • Date Rateable Value Owner Occupier Notes
      1868 £60 John Nimmo John Nimmo
      1869 £50 John Nimmo John Nimmo
      1870 £15 John Nimmo John Nimmo
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  • Newspaper references
    • GRANGE CHEMICAL WORKS, situated Grangepans, the Parish of Carriden, consisting of Large Shed, 64 feet x 46 feet; 44 Horizontal Retorts, with Buildings, Condensers, Tanks, &c.; 1 Cast Iron and 3 Malleable Iron Stills, Stock Tanks, Donkey Engine aud Boiler, and all necessary articles requisite for the Manufacture of Oil; Small Shed, Office, Weighs, &c. The Sheds and Stills be sold separately, if required, and would be very suitable for small Refinery. The Works are conveniently situated on the shore of the Firth of Forth, and within half a mile of Bo'ness Station and Harbour. For further particulars apply to Mr Nimmo, Hillhead Cottage or James Burns, Grange Chemical Works, Bo'ness.

      Falkirk Herald, 29th August 1867