Description: Oil Retort House
Date Listed: 16 November 1984
English Heritage Building ID: 265166
OS Grid Reference: ST1445244313
OS Grid Coordinates: 314452, 144313
Latitude/Longitude: 51.1916, -3.2256
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ST14SW KILVE CP KILVE PILL
5/125 Oil Retort House
Oil retort house. Circa 1924. Red brick, irregular bond, and cast iron. Roughly square in plan, a rectangular block
about 4 metres high and 2.15 x 2.45 metres square. Flat roofed, divided by recessed string course with inset cast iron
bar on East front, corbelled projection below on all fronts, irregularly placed square ventilation holes, majority on
East and West fronts; segmental headed loading opening on West front at ground floor level with cut off pipe above,
angled segmental headed opening on North front above low external stepped plinth partially damaged. Surrmounted by cast
iron chimney with flange attatched on West side, thought to have been an attachment to carry away and condense the
vapours, in all about 5 metres high. In 1916 it was discovered that the shale beds of the North Somerset coast were
rich in oil and in 1924 Dr Forbes-Leslie founded the Shaline Company to exploit them. This retort house is thought to
be the first structure erected here for the conversion of shale to oil but the company was unable to raise sufficient
capital and this is now all that remains of the anticipated Somerset oil boom. Listed primarily for historical
interest. (Country Life October 26, 1967; photograph in NMR).
Listing NGR: ST1445244313
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.