Scottish shale Scottish shale

Hurlford Oil Works

Former parish and county:
Parish of Hurlford, Ayrshire
Local authority:
North Ayrshire
J & R Howie
Presumably c. 1864
Presumably after 1876
Current status of site:
Uncertain : Fireclay works site remains in industrial use


Redwood notes the Hurlford Oil Works operated between 1864 and 1876. Small advertisements in the Scotsman suggest that Mr. Howie of Hurlford had an interest in the oil trade during the early 1870's, and John Howie is listed in the 1868 and the 1872 Kilmarnock Post Office Directory both under "Oil works" and under "Hurlford Colliery". At that time J & R Howie operated the Hurlford Fireclay Works, therefore it seems possible that the Hurlford Oil Works might have shared a site with the fireclay business.

Valuation Records

Listed in valuation records for 1885 as empty - rateable value £5; John Howie, Coalmaster, Hurlford the proprietor.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1895.

  • Location map
  • Detailed maps
  • Newspaper references
    • HURLFORD CHEMICAL COY. are prepared to supply at very Moderate Prices, the Finest Paraffin Oil, Machinery Oil, Hutch Oil, Cart Axle, Mill Wheel Hutch and Machinery greases, Black and Brown varnish, etc.

      Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18th December 1869


      ENGINE, Boiler, Pithead Frame, Pulleys, Ropes, Pumping and Winding Gear, 35 fathoms of Pumps and Rods and Slide Rods, for Sale at Barbush Shale Pit, Johnstone. Apply Mr. Howie, Hurlford Colliery, Kilmarnock.

      Scotsman, 27th July 1872


      PARAFFIN OIL REFINER Wanted. Apply Mr. Howie, Hurlford Oil Works, Kilmarnock.

      Glasgow Herald, 10th October 1872


      WAGGON-TANK (1200 Gallon) for Crude Oil Wanted to Hire or Purchase. Particulars to Mr. Howie, Hurlford, Kilmarnock.

      Scotsman, 24th January 1873


      A black bituminous shale almost constantly overlies the Tourha' Coal, throughout the whole of northern Ayrshire and measures from 3ft to 8ft in thickness. An attempt at distillation was made some 40 to 50 years ago at Hurlford, but though 30 galls. of oil per ton are said to have been got, the venture does not appear to have been a success.

      Memoirs of the Geological Survey in Scotland Vol XXIV Cannel Coals, Lignite and Mineral Oil in Scotland by W. Gibson, 1922