Addiewell's geology

Photo:Squares of shale on the wall of a pub in Pumpherston

Squares of shale on the wall of a pub in Pumpherston

© Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Minerals - shale, coal and clay

A small vein of lead ore was discovered a number of years ago in this whinstone, in the little burn, Scato or Scolly Burn, to the west of Addiewell Chemical Works.  About sixty fathoms below this whinstone, we get a seam of limestone and coal - the limestone about six feet thick, and the coal, which lies close under the limestone, is about four feet thick.  This limestone and coal appear to have been worked in olden times along the crop from Breichwater, at Addiewell Toll, southward to Baadsmill Burn.  The Addiewell Company have also wrought a portion of this lime and coal. 

Down through the layers

About eighty fathoms below this limestone and coal, we come to the shale-fields, the first seam of importance being known as Raeburn’s shale, about sixty fathoms below which we get a shale known as Grey Shale; and, ten fathoms below that, we come to a seam of coal about five feet thick, known as the Houston Coal.  This coal also appears to have been worked along the crop in olden times near Briechmill and Blackbraes, and has also been wrought by the Addiewell Company to some extent. 

About twenty-six fathoms below this coal, we come to the seam of shale known as Fell’s Shale, being the first shale wrought by Mr Fell at Gavieside in the year 1862.  The Addiewell Company have taken out many acres of this shale.  About forty of fifty fathoms below Fell’s Shale, is another seam of shale known as the Broxburn Shale, many acres of which have been taken out around West Calder.  About forty or fifty fathoms below the Broxburn Shale, we get another seam of shale known as Dunnet’s Shale, being the shale wrought by Mr Dunnet at Hermand. About fifty fathoms below this shale, we come to the lowest mineral worked in the parish of West Calder, viz., the Harburn or Bellsquarry limestone of good quality and many feet in thickness.


A History of West Calder: compiled from various sources of information
By ‘A Native’  (i.e. the Rev. William C. Learmonth)
West Calder, 1885

(pages 259-61)


This page was added by Sybil Cavanagh on 05/04/2012.

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