Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Five Sisters,shale bing south east of Mid Breich

A Scheduled Monument in Whitburn and Blackburn, West Lothian

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Latitude: 55.859 / 55°51'32"N

Longitude: -3.5849 / 3°35'5"W

OS Eastings: 300893

OS Northings: 664008

OS Grid: NT008640

Mapcode National: GBR 30DP.PJ

Mapcode Global: WH5RN.XZ2R

Entry Name: Five Sisters,shale bing SE of Mid Breich

Scheduled Date: 20 October 1995

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6254

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: mines, quarries

Location: Livingston

County: West Lothian

Electoral Ward: Whitburn and Blackburn

Traditional County: West Lothian


The monument consists of a substantial shale bing, the evidence of former extraction and processing of oil-shale.

The Five Sisters bing is the best-known example of a shale bing. It is of rather unusual form, with five distinct lobes formed by the method of tipping employed, and is a local landscape feature of some importance. The oil-shale was worked from a site immediately to the NE of the bing, but this has been redeveloped and is not included in

the scheduling.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, consisting of the bing and its immediate boundary walls and fences, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the most widely-known reminder of the important pioneering oil industry based on the mining of the West Lothian shales. This laid the foundations for the modern international petro-chemical industry. The bing, in addition to its value as a memorial and significany landscape feature, may contain evidence relating to mining and tipping procedures and types of equipment utilised. It is an element in the 'Paraffin Young' industrial heritage trail.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT06SW 22.1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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