Scottish shale Scottish shale

Duddingston No. 1 & 2 mines

Abercorn, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian
Seams worked:
Dunnet Shale
Current status of site:
Mine site restored and returned to agriculture
Regional overview:


Inclined adit

Serving Niddry Castle Crude Oil Works

Mines driven to exploit the Camps and Dunnet Shales beneath the Hopetoun Estate, linked to Niddry Castle Crude Oil Works by electric tramway. Duddingston was the first completely electrified mine in the Scottish shale oil industry.

Shale-field: Duddingston shale-field.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1917, showing Duddingston No. 1 in production.

  • Location & workings at Duddingston No.1 & 2 mines
    • Show seams:

  • Detailed maps
  • Drawings

    Recent images

  • Newspaper references
    • There were, he said, two mines; No.1 was the haulage road, and No.2 the travelling road. These two roads were connected by cross-cuts. There was a double set of rails on the haulage road, and it was worked on the endless tow-rope system. The hutches were fastened to the tow-rope by means of a chain 12 ft. long.....The system was one of the most modern. The travelling road was 10ft wide by 6ft high, and the haulage road about 12ft wide by 7ft high.

      Enquiry into the deaths of George Stirret and Harry Feeney, quoted in Linlithgowshire Gazette, 5th August 1912


      The Barracks seam has been reached in the section of No.1 mine where it had been cut off by a fault, and a test has given yields of 20.5 gallons of crude oil and 40.5 lbs of Sulphate, the oil yield being better than usual for this seam. (March 1924).

      From Scottish Oils Ltd, Managing Director's Monthly Report to the Board. (BP Archive No. 215662)



      The Oakbank Oil Company, who some time ago obtained a lease of the shale on that part of the Hopetoun estate between the village of Winchburgh and the Firth of Forth, have sunk two pits near the village of Duddingston. The shale covers a large area, and the seam is a thick and rich one. The company are at present erecting a block of houses in tlie neighbourhood of the mines to accommodate a number of their workmen engaged there, and are also making preparations for the erection of crude oil and sulphate of ammonia works near the ruin of Niddry Castle. The works and the mines, which will be two miles apart, are to be connected with a railway. Sixty houses have also been erected in the village of Winchburgh, and the School Board are contemplating an extension of the Winchburgh Public School to give accommodation to tho additional children that will require to be provided for.

      Edinburgh Evening News, 21st April 1902

  • External references
    • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. 13131, showing workings in the Barracks and Dunnet Shales from Duddingston No. 1 and No. 2, abandoned in 1941.

  • Additional resources
      • Oral history transcript: Mr William Gibb
      • Oral history transcript: Mr James Hanlon & Mr Irvine Hanlon
      • Oral history transcript: Anonymous, Mr & Mrs W
      • Oral history transcript: Mr John McRiner
      • Oral history transcript: Mr James Paterson
  • Related file records