Scottish shale Scottish shale

Woolfords colliery

West Calder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
Seams worked:
Hurlet Coal
Current status of site:
Waste ground with two buildings and loading bank extant in a derelict condition
Regional overview:


Vertical shaft

Supplied coal to Tarbrax oil works and various works of the Pumpherston Oil Co. Ltd

Until its collapse in 1903, the Caledonian Mineral Oil Company Ltd worked the Hurlet Coal from Viewfield pit to provide fuel for Tarbrax Oil Works. The Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd subsequently acquired Tarbrax and the Cobbinshaw shale field, but chose to access Hurlet Coal workings via a new pit at Woolfords rather than re-open Viewfield pit. New workers houses were constructed at Woolfords.

The presence of Old Woolford Rows and the industrial debris shown on the 1898 OS map suggest that the site of Woolfords coal pit had been scene of earlier mining activity.

Shale-field: Cobbinshaw shale-field.

Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1911. Seems to show the pit in production, but prior to construction of many buildings currently extant.

  • Location & workings at Woolfords coal pit
    • Show seams:

  • Detailed maps
  • Archive images

    Recent images

  • Recent images - 2019
  • Recent images - 2020
  • Newspaper references
    • Further information is now to hand from those fields that a pit has been sunk to a depth of 23 fathoms, the seam being four feet thick, and lying in a good position. The importance of this latest development is apparent at this time when fuel is at such high prices, as it will permit the coal to be supplied to the Tarbrax Works at cost price, with a trifling charge for railway haulage, and also to the oil works at Pumpherston; whilst in the course of a few months there will be a surplus for sale in the open market. This is possible from the fact that the operations meantime are to be confined chiefly to the winning of about 200,000 tons of coal lying in stoops since the days of the Caledonian Oil Company, which worked this coal at an adjoining pit.

      West Lothian Courier, 11th October 1907


      The sinking of the main dook had been suspended in order to reduce the cost (April 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. 4425, showing workings in the Hurlet Coal from Woolfords and Viewfield, abandoned in 1903.
      • Coal Authority Mine Abandonment Catalogue No. 8602, showing workings in the Hurlet Coal from Woolfords and Viewfield, abandoned in 1926.
  • Related file records