Scottish shale Scottish shale

Pumpherston Oil Works

Parish:
Midcalder, Midlothian
Local authority:
West Lothian
Irano Products Ltd
Opened:
c.1882
Closed:
Crude Oil works closed c. 1926, refinery closed 1964, detergent plant closed c. 1993
Current status of site:
Golf course
Regional overview:
Oil works in the Broxburn area

Including Pumpherston Refinery, Pumpherston Detergent Works, & Pumpherston Brickworks

A crude oil works and associated refinery established by the Pumpherston Oil Company in 1882, and fed by nearby mines in the rich, but steeply inclined, Pumpherston shales (Pumpherston No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 & No. 6 mines). The company subsequently developed or acquired crude oil works at Seafield, Deans, and Tarbrax, from where crude oil was transported by rail for refining at Pumpherston. Housing for the workforce was constructed in the nearby Pumpherston North and South villages.

Following the formation of Scottish Oils Ltd, the crude oil works at Pumpherston were closed in c.1926 as local supplies of shale could no longer be worked economically. The refinery however became the heart of the Scottish shale operations, refining the output of all the remaining crude oil works. Cracking plant were construced in the refinery c.1929, greatly increasing the output of road fuels that enjoyed a government tax preference.

In the later 1930's, a brickworks were on the former site of Pumpherston Mains to produce Scottish Oils Ltd (SOL) shale bricks from spent shale quarried from the adjacent bing. A synthetic detergent plant, fed by shale oil products, were established within the refinery c.1947. As part of BP, Pumpherston Refinery processed crude oil from various parts of mainland Britain and continued as a refinery after closure of the Scottish shale oil industry, processing crude petroleum from oil wells in Nottinghamshire. On closure of the refinery in 1964, the site became devoted to detergent production, laterly (and confusingly) under the banner of "Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Company Ltd".

The detergent plant remained in operation until c.1993. Following an extended period of site clearance and extensive land remediation works, a new golf course was opened on the site in 2002. The brickworks remained in production until c. 1993; although not laterly using spent shale in the manufacturing process. This site remains derelict (in 2013).

  • Rateable value by year
    • Date Rateable Value Owner Occupier Notes
      1889-91 £6860 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £999 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 164 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      1891-92 £6860 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1892-93 £6860 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1893-94 £6200 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1894-95 £6000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1895-96 £6000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1896-97 £6000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1220 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      1897-98 £5400 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Cycling Track
      1898-99 £5400 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1899-1900 £5400 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1899-1900 £5400 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1900-01 £5400 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1901-02 £1233 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1902-03 £6720 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1320.15/- Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 209 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1903-04 £6300 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1438 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 220 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1904-05 £6300 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1438 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 220 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Smithy
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1905-06 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1438 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 220 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Smithy
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1906-07 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      £1438 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd 220 Houses
      £12 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Store
      £3 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Motor-car House
      £5 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Bowling Green
      £16 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Recreation Ground
      1908-09 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1909-10 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1910-11 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1911-12 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1912-13 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1913-14 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1914-15 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1915-16 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1916-17 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1917-18 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1918-19 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1919-20 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1920-21 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1921-22 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1922-23 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1923-24 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1924-25 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1925-26 £6750 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1926-27 N/A Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Valuation Roll missing
      1927-28 £5600 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1928-29 £5600 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1929-30 £5600 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1930-31 £6000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1931-32 £6500 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1932-33 £6600 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1933-34 £6645 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1934-35 £6645 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1935-36 £6645 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1936-37 £6645 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1937-38 £7000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1938-39 £7300 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1939-40 £7582 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1940-41 £7193 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1941-42 £7501 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1942-43 £7791 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1943-44 £8000 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1944-45 £8140 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1945-46 £8072 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1946-47 £8251 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
      1947-48 £8251 Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Pumpherston Oil Company Ltd Chemical Works
  • Location map
  • Detailed maps

    Archive images

  • Archive images - official views c.1925
  • Drawings

    Recent images

  • Newspaper references
    • OIL WORKS EXTENSION

      Alterations and extensions have been the rule at the works of the Pumpherston Oil Company during the past few months, and when these are completed this company will be in a position to vindicate its claim to be the most progressive in the oil trade. While some of the neighbouring companies have always used oil or gas as illuminants, Pumpherston Company pinned its faith in electricity, and now they have had erected a plant embodying the most modern ideas about generating electricity. A large power station has been built, and in this building is housed the plant, which was erected by Messrs. Bruce, Peebles of Edinburgh.

      Linlithgowshire Gazette, 8th December 1905

      .......

      BATHS FOR OIL WORKERS

      A set of baths provided by Scottish Oils Ltd., for workmen engaged at Pumpherston Oil Works have just been opened. The baths, of a most artistic design, are about 200 feet long and 47 feet wide. They are built with bricks produced at the local oil works. The baths have 572 lockers for the men's working clothes, and a similar number of clean clothes lockers, also 38 cubicles. There has also been provided an ambulance room, a mess room, a drying room, and a boot and shoe cleaning room, with electrically-driven brushes.

      Scotsman, 22nd June 1939


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