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British Industrial History

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W. H. Gillespie

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W. H. Gillespie ( -1875)

1875 Obituary [1]

The death was announced last week of Mr. W. H. Gillespie, the owner (through his wife) of the estate of Torbanehill, in Linlithgowshire, where the famous cannel was got and worked, which was the subject of the memorable "Coal or no Coal" trial fully twenty years ago, probably the greatest trial on record, so far as the employment of scientific evidence is concerned. The lessees, Messrs. James Russel and Son, were victorious, as the judges of the Court of Session pronounced the disputed mineral to be coal.

The mineral was practically exhausted two or three years ago; but during a portion of the time that it was an article of commerce it commanded from 70s. to 80s. per ton. It was the mineral in question which Mr. James Young first used at Bathgate in the manufacture of paraffine oil, of which, in the crude form, it yielded about 120 gallons. It was the richest gas coal ever used, its yield being about 15,000 cubic feet of 40-candle gas.

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