Scottish shale Scottish shale

Addiewell No.1 pit

West Calder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
Seams worked:
Fells Shale, Houston Coal
Opened c.1864?
Perhaps active until the end of Fells shale working in 1883
Current status of site:
Woodland within landscaped area. No trace remains of surface structures
Regional overview:


Vertical shaft, 34 fathoms to coal, 51 fathoms to shale.

Serving Addiewell oil works

No. 1 Pit appears to have been sunk to exploit the Houston Coal. A cross-cut mine was then driven from the coal workings to access reserves of Fells Shale. This shale was also exploited by Addiewell No. 2 Pit, Addiewell No. 5 Pit and Addiewell No. 6 Pit, and presumably their workings linked underground. These workings seem to have been extended north eastwards, by means of cross cut mine through a fault, to a small area of Fells Shale beneath Tenantsmarch, which in turn was linked to the workings of Polbeth No. 10 Pit. Mining plans suggest that Houston Coal workings were abandoned in 1867, but that Fells Shale continued to be worked until 1883. A report from 1870 (see snippets) indicates that the shaft of No. 1 was used to pump water from No. 2 Pit into the nearby reservoir.

See "Early mines and pits in the Addiewell area for further background.

Surface features of the pit seem survived in a disused condition when mapped by the Ordnance Survey in c.1893.

  • Location & workings at Addiewell No.1 pit
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  • Newspaper references
    • No.1 adjoining is in communication with No.2 below, and the water which accumulates in both pits is extracted by a powerful pump, which, operating by three lifts in the shaft of No.1, pours out perpetually a cascade of water into a pond near at hand. From this pond the steam power of the huge chemical works hard by is supplied with abundance of water - a most convenient circumstance during the recent very dry season.

      Glasgow Herald, 20th October 1870

  • External references
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. S2873, showing workings in the Thick Shale from "Addiewell", abandoned in 1866.
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. S2874, showing workings in the Houston Coal, Grey Shale, and Thick Shale from "Addiewell", abandoned in 1865.
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. S2875, showing workings in the Thick Shale from "Addiewell", abandoned in 1866.