Living With Mesothelioma -My Diary- I have dragged Rays Asbestos Story out of him. We just didnt stand a chance

Today has been a day where you ask just where the time has gone. We have been out dog walking so at least we have done something.

My poor fox that Louis tried to wake up is just a fur coat. I know its nature but the thought that  ants of flies have been doing a cleaning job is just nature but I still cringed as walked past and Louis didnt want to know either.

I have been researching today as a coincidence is that my next door neighbour had a brother die of Mesothelioma in the 1970’s. He went to court and won a sum of money enough to buy a house but he died soon after. I was trying to find his case but I cant at the moment. It was on front page of the daily papers.

I came across British Uralite and that was where Ray had worked when he left the Dockyard. He only worked there 6 months.

But it only takes one fibre as I keep saying.

We couldn’t make a claim here as a secondary claim as it was still before the 1964 point that they claim they didn’t know it was dangerous.

Of coarse if Ray (God forbid) ever needed to claim then old cases are great to have evidence of people have won claims.

We were very interested to see my Solicitor has won such a case.

The photo was taken in the 1940’s

Harminder Bains acted on behalf of Mrs Joyce Holley who worked at the British Uralite asbestos factory in Higham from
1943 to 1949.
Initially she worked in the women’s pipe shop and then finally in the canteen. She was exposed to asbestos whilst making
asbestos products such as pipe bends, pipe terminals, pipe cowls and garden boxes.She also cut wet asbestos sheets, wrapped the asbestos around moulds and finally took the moulds to a fire to dry out.After drying she would smooth the asbestos products down with an emery board and polish them with French chalk.
Mrs Holley was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2009

At the British Uralite factory in Higham, chimney pots, pipes and tiles were made from raw asbestos. Similarly, it was also used in power stations and heavy engineering plants in the Towns.

I cant believe that Ray hasn’t told the story of the 6 months employment he did here. He said when I interviewed him “You have never asked, but I have written it down for our Solicitor.

Ray said “We were manufacturing window boxes, which entailed multiple trips to the hopper, where sheets of wet asbestos were laid out on giant tables, about 6 ft x 8ft long. Using a giant rolling pin between, two men, we would roll a sheet onto the rolling pin and carry it back to our work stations, there it would be unrolled on the table and various sizes would be cut from the wet sheet. These would be placed in wooden moulds and beaten into shape with a metal spatulas.

These moulds would be placed in a rack over night.

The following day these moulds would be back on the bench where the semi hard asbestos would be trimmed with a knife or hack saw blade, the mould placed back in the rack.

The following day these moulds that had been trimmed would be dismantled to remove the window box, these window boxes would be stacked on the floor around the work area, where they would be left to cure or harden.

The next day the cured window boxes could then be filed, sand papered and all edges cleaned, they would then be dusted down with a powder where they would be taken to the stores.

With all the filing and sand papering being carried out this inevitably created Asbestos dust, which settled on the benches on the floor and on your clothes and all other sections in the open factory area, the same dusting cleaning sawing and sandpapering created dust everywhere and on everything as no attempt by management to clean the area.

In the event that the window boxes or other asbestos items were damaged and refused acceptance in the stores they would be broken up and the pieces thrown in the bin.

When there was a strike you was made to tear open the sacks of asbestos ready for the hopper in an enclosed area in which asbestos dust and fibres were over all the machinery, up the walls and about half inch all over the floor. The air was thick with dust. At no time did British Uralite offer any breathing protection nor off any warnings.

Asbestos was also used as a building material in schools and homes between the 1950s and 1980s. While the dockyard and British Uralite have long since closed they have left behind a legacy of death.

Ray lost a wonderful friend that we visited. A 31 year old fit man that died with cancer ??? was this our first meeting with Mesothelioma.


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