William Briggs and Sons
Dealers in fuel oil and bitumen,
of 17 Cowgate Buildings, Dundee. (1921)
of Camperdown Refinery, Dundee; of Vauxhall Grove, S.W.8. (1949)
1865 Company founded by William Briggs.
1865 His experience in the chemical industry led to the establishment of his own works to distil bitumen from coal tar at Arbroath.
1866 The company went bankrupt but Briggs was able to repay the creditors in six years.
1892 he bought the North British Chemical Works at Downie Siding, Elliot Junction, near Arbroath.
1898 The original Arbroath plant was dismantled but Briggs had other plants at Ladybank and Kirkcaldy, Fife.
1898 The company went public, with William Briggs as chairman.
1904 The Downie plant was rebuilt.
1907 William's son, James Alexander Briggs (1871-1961), became chairman.
1920 The share capital was reconstructed
1931 The works were moved to Dundee.
1931 Built refinery in Dundee adjacent to the Gas Works, to process the coal tar produced at the gas works but subsequently switched to recovering the more valuable fractions from bitumen.
1935 Opened refinery at Dundee.
1949 Branches in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool and Norwich.
1960s Dundee was the one of only 2 oil refineries in Scotland, the other being the Grangemouth complex
1968 The Dundee refinery was sold to Tarmac but has retained its own identity.
1992 The Dundee refinery was sold to the specialist Swedish refiner Nynas Petroleum Group
Sources of Information
- The Times, 19 November 1973
- Bitumen companies 
- Archives of the British chemical industry, 1750-1914: a handlist. By Peter J. T. Morris and Colin A. Russell. Edited by John Graham Smith. 1988.