Water from Redcraig

Water supply and a managers houses for Oakbank oil works

F17038, first published 22nd October 2017

For almost seventy years, the oil works at Oakbank produced crude oil from local shales and a range of refined products from Scottish crudes and from imported petroleum. The works were closed and demolished in 1932, however parts of Oakbank village, built north of the works to house the company's workforce, survived into the 1980's.

The works manager enjoyed a spacious villa at Redcraig, built during the 1880's on a hillside to the south. This commanded a panoramic view across the works, while set appropriately apart from the homes of the workers. At the rear of the managers house lay a pleasant reservoir, fed with water from the Pentland hills, which provided the water supply for the works.

No.1 Redcraig, once the residence of works manager James Reid, continues to provide a substantial home, while close-by homes built c.1910 to house the company chemist and other senior officials now forms part of Redcraig B&B, offering comfortable four star accommodation and, by all accounts, a delicious breakfast. The embankments of the reservoir remain, although now retain little water, but unfortunately the delightful circular filter house has not survived.

Across the road, are the ruins of Redcraig Farm, once owned by the oil company, but no trace survives of a substantial tileworks that existed a little to the north of the farm before the advent of the oil industry.

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