Scottish shale Scottish shale

Newliston No.29 mine

Kirkliston, Linlithgowshire and Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
Seams worked:
Dunnet Shale
Current status of site:
The mine site is now irregular pasture with remains of some foundations still evident. The site of the service pit has been fully cleared and returned to agriculture


Inclined adit and vertical shaft

Serving mostly Uphall Oil Works (Shale transported by main line railway)

Extensive workings in the Dunnet Shale lying beneath the Newliston Estate.

From maps and plans it appears that the main mine adit emerged at a site south of the Broxburn to Newbridge road where hutches were hauled onto an elevated staging from where shale was loaded into standard gauge railway wagons. In an unusual arrangement, a service pit (for winding miners?) about 250 NW of the adit, provided a vertical shaft to the Dunnet Shale seam. Plans also suggest underground links were eventually created between No. 29 and workings from the Broxburn Oil Company's Dunnet Mine.

Shale-field: Ingliston and Newliston shale-field.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1895, showing main pithead in operation with an adit heading north west.

  • Location & workings at Newliston No.29 mine
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  • Detailed maps
  • Drawings

    Recent images

  • Newspaper references
    • ... the Chairman referred to the advantages accruing to the company by the acquirement of the Uphall, Newliston, and Kilpunt Works, by which the company would be provided with a supply of shales equal in all respects to those of any other company. The Newliston shale is 10 feet to 12 feet, and could be worked at a cost of about 3s 6d per ton as compared with the Addiewell cost last year of 5s 9d per ton. The whole seam is unusually rich in scale and ammonia, the only two products in the mineral oil trade which at present are really remunerative.

      Annual general meeting of Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd, quoted in Glasgow Herald, 21st June 1884


      ...In opening out the Newliston mine, an old riverbed was encountered, consisting of gravel and running sand which required the utmost caution and retarded the work of excavation. In consequence of this only 2,400 tons of Newliston shale were distilled during the year, but all difficulties having now been overcome, the output is now increased.

      Director's report of Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd, quoted in Glasgow Herald, 1st June 1885


      At Newliston Mine, the machinery and relative equipment are unusually strong and serviceable; and the electric light has been adopted to admit the proper examination of the shale at the surface during the darkness of winter. The output at present is about 300 tons per day, but will in a week or two be 400 tons. When the working faces are fully opened up it can easily be further increase, as the mining plant is capable of dealing with 600 tons per day. Such a large accession of valuable shale, taking place of a similar quantity of comparatively unremunerative shales from the districts around Addiewell and West Calder, will have an important bearing on the future of the company.

      Annual general meeting of Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd, quoted in Glasgow Herald, 18th June 1885


      The re-opening of Newliston is progressing and repair works on the surface (buildings and branch railway) are going on steadily(July 1923). An output of 2,300 tons has been got from the work of reconstruction underground, and a commencement has been made with the installation of the electric haulage engine at the top of the slope dook (August 1923). The new air shaft at Newliston has now reached the seam, and the improved ventilation will enable us to push on with stooping (January 1925). The cost is steadily improving, as a fair proportion of the output is now coming from the full thickness of the seam. We are still encountering some falls but these sometime yield a fair quality of shale (April 1925). An effort has been made to drive a road from the slope dook, but, owing to a very heavy fall in the main dook, had to be abandoned (June 1925).

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

  • External references
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. 12032, showing workings in the Dunnet Shale from Newliston No. 29, abandoned in 1937.
      • Agreement No. 533. Registration of premises at Service Shaft, Newliston for keeping gunpowder, December 1913. Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd; Inventory of Leases, Agreements &c. BP Archive 215854
  • Additional resources
      • Oral history transcript: Mr Grant Bernard
      • Oral history transcript: Mr James Tafts