In his autobiography "Travels in search of New Trade Products", Arthur Robottom describes how he and three partners purchased Coppa Colliery, and built an oil works "upon a piece of land near the colliery".. Soon, he states "The Coppa Colliery Company were in full swing making crude oil, while Robottom and Co., in the wooden house, negotiated the sale of the bulk of the oil." He goes in to describe how the Coppa Oil Company was then started, and a large refinery was built
It appears that brothers, Henry Griffiths, Richard Griffiths, and Robert Griffiths were the Birmingham-based proprietors of Coppa Colliery, one of the major producers of cannel coal. In c.1862 an oil works was constructed close to the colliery, seemingly by, or in association with Birmingham businessmen Thomas Short the Younger and Matthias Royce Griffin. Henry Griffiths, Short and Griffin became the first directors of the Coppa Oil Co. Ltd. when this was formed in 1864. Arthur Robottom subscribed to the new company, but was not a director.
It seems likely that the early Coppa Colliery oil works became subsumed into the Coppa Oil Works as this was developed.
Mapped by the Ordnance Survey of c.1869, the long rectangular structure (circled) might represent a bench of retorts associated with Coppa Colliery which would have been in operation prior to construction of the Coppa Oil Works. See Coppa Oil Works for full progression of images.
Number of retorts: not known.