Monument record MDR7781 - Silkolene (Dalton & Co.) Oil Refinery (site of), Derby Road, Belper

Type and Period (1)

  • (Early 20th Century to Late 20th Century - 1931 AD to 2000 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site

Full Description

Dalton & Co (Silkolene) were established in 1908 selling veterinary oils and medicines. The growth in car use led to expansion into mineral oils. In 1931 they moved the operation to the present site. At this time very little refining was done in the UK. In the late 1930's, as war loomed, their experience proved vital in developing the re-refining of used oils and helping the war effort. Many millions of gallons of re-refined oil were produced at Belper. The cottage at the heart of the site was the home for the family, but became the venue for meetings between government officials and technical advisers from Rolls Royce and Daltons. After the war the production of specialist refined oils for supersonic jets and the chemical industry became important elements in Silkolene's production, as well as continuing to supply petroleum jellies to pharmaceutical standards for use in creams and ointments. (1) An interesting example of a small early refinery on an inland urban site, re-used from the earlier textile industry. The site is being considered under the Monument Protection Programme for scheduling. (2) Dalton & Company moved to the site on Derby Road in 1931, in order to expand their lubricating oil business. They renovated the large former hosiery warehouse [SMR 17031] for use as their offices, using the southwest wing for the refinery, plant and storage tanks. By 1838 a further building had been constructed for the purpose of storing oil in drums and storing products ready for delivery. The cottage located adjacent to the warehouse, referred to as Brook Cottage, became the residence for the original founders of the Dalton Company. A fire in 1938 caused considerable damage to buildings and to company records. After the war the factory was turned over to the manufacture of high quality Silkolene lubricants alongside the development of re-refining for commercial customers. Further research in 1959 led to the production of petroleum jelly, while the 1960s saw considerable expansion of the site, with a new laboratory, warehouse and main tank farm. Further expansion took place through the 1970s, 1980s and, following takeover by Fuchs, through the 1990s also. However, after 1999 Fuchs Lubricants began to wind down their operations and by December 2002 the site was awaiting redevelopment. (3) A photographic fabric archive was made prior to redevelopment. They include the car park area, the former Brook Cottage, an engineering warehouse, the former hosiery building, a laboratory building, the main warehouse and a number of additional warehouses. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Article in serial: Crust, D. 1979. 'Dalton & Co. Ltd, Belper', Derbyshire Life and Countryside. 82-3.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Michael Trueman. 2000. MPP: Step 2 Report - Gas and Oil Industries. 121.
  • <3> Unpublished document: John Samuels Archaeological Consultants (JSAC). 2002. An Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment of Land at Fuchs Lubricants, Belper, Derbyshire.
  • <4> Unpublished document: John Samuels Archaeological Consultants (JSAC). 2002. A Photographic Fabric Archive of Land at Fuchs Lubricants, Belper, Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 3472 4711 (135m by 310m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR1630
  • EDR1631

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 7 2022 1:27PM

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