For over a century, West Lothian lay at the heart of Scotland's shale oil industry. The industry was a major employer and many moved to the area in search of work within the shale mines, oil works and refineries.
During late Victorian times oil works were established across much of the eastern half of the county, new villages were built to accommodate the workforce, and new communities developed in the shadow of the bings.
Almond Valley holds the Scottish Shale Oil Industry collection, recognised as a museum collection of national importance, and is custodian of the BP shale archive, comprising the surviving official records of the shale oil companies.
Regrettably very few employment records have survived from the industry, however those that do still exist have been transcribed and can be searched on-line through the museum website.
A band of staff and volunteers is currently engaged in the epic task of digitising the shale oil archives, and sharing these on-line with researchers throughout the world.
The shale oil museum is open every day of the week as one of the many attractions of Almond Valley Heritage Trust - see our general website.
Our museum website www.scottishshale.co.uk is a mine of information on people and places associated with the shale oil industry; but if the website doesn't answer your questions; we'd be delighted to hear from you and see if we could help you further.
Almond Valley Heritage Centre
Daily throughout the year from 10am to 5pm
(except Dec 25 & 26, Jan 1 & 2)
Almond Valley is only two miles from junction 3 of the M8, and is signposted with a succession of brown signs from the motorway, leading you along the A705. We've ample free parking.
Livingston north railway station is just under a mile from Almond Valley, linked by footpaths, taxi, or local bus services. Please see Traveline Scotland for route numbers and timetables of local buses.
We can help you discover your Scottish Ancestors.
West Lothian is a place full of history and heritage. Begin your ancestral journey here.
The Bennie Museum opened in 1989 as a museum of Bathgate’s history and life. It has been commended by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.