Scottish shale Scottish shale

Holmes mine

Uphall, Linlithgowshire
Local authority:
West Lothian
Seams worked:
Pumpherston Shale
c. 1884
Current status of site:
Derelict ground
Regional overview:


Inclined adit

Serving Holmes Oil Works

One of a sequence of steeply inclined mines following the outcrop of Pumpherston Shales along the western arm of the Pumpherston anticline, Holmes mine exploited seams of Pumpherston Shale that lay west and north of the mine entrance. The shale was then taken northwards by tramway, crossing the Edinburgh - Bathgate railway to reach Holmes Oil Works.

Shale-field: Pumpherston shale-field.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1897, showing Holmes Shale Mine intact, with a tramway heading northwards toward Holmes Oil Works.

  • Location & workings at Holmes mine
    • Show seams:

  • Detailed maps
  • Drawings
  • Newspaper references
    • Unfounded rumours has also been in circulation that this shale mine was full of troubles, and that it would last for two or three years. The shale-field of Holmes was not a large one, but a good one. He could assure them, on the best authority, that their present mine, unless something unforeseen occurred, would last for twenty years to come, the output continuing the same as now, and at this rate would only exhaust one-third of the area of the field. But the directors looked forward to increasing their present operations and for his end they had secured the shale-fields of Knightsridge and Dechmont, in the vicinity of their present works, and had already proved by boring a seam of shale fully six feet thick at a depth of 34 fathoms, and which, by analysis, was equal in quality to the seam they were presently working.

      AGM of the Holmes Oil Company Ltd reported in Glasgow Herald, 20th June 1885

  • External references
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. 4239, showing workings in Jubilee, Maybrick, Plain, Wee, Plain, and Bottom Shales, also Houston Coal, abandoned in 1900.
      • Catalogue No. 2491, workings in Houston Coal from Holmes, abandoned in 1890