Collection DAL - Alan Dalton papers

Identity area

Reference code

GB 249 DAL


Alan Dalton papers


  • 1899-2003 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.15 metres

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Alan Dalton was born in May 1946. He was a chemist and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years. In the late 1960s, he was the workplace safety and environmental campaigner for the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, and, throughout the 1970s, led its campaign on asbestos. In 1970, he helped found 'Hazards Bulletin', a grassroots safety magazine. In 1979, he published 'Asbestos: Killer Dust' and was subsequently sued for libel by a doctor whom he criticised in the book for his pro-industry views and advocacy of the safe use of asbestos. Dalton lost the case and was bankrupted by the legal bill. He continued, however, to champion grassroots workplace and environmental activism. In the 1980s, he was a journalist at the Labour Research Department, a trade union safety tutor and then lecturer in occupational health at South Bank University. From 1995 to 1998, he was health and safety co-ordinator for the Transport and General Workers’ Union, where he nurtured a new network of union safety representatives and forced environmental issues to the centre of the union safety agenda. From 1998 to 2002, he was a community representative on the board of the Environment Agency. In 2000, he published 'Consensus kills'. He died in December 2003.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Correspondence and papers from most of Dalton's career. The collection includes:

  • papers on Dalton's career and bankruptcy

  • subject files on environmental and occupational health issues, particularly asbestos

  • correspondence with fellow activists, occupational health experts, academics, doctors, politicians, trade unionists, asbestos victim support groups and others

  • publications by Dalton and letters to the press

  • consultancy and expert witness work

  • notes and papers from conferences and meetings

  • press cuttings on asbestos and other environmental and occupational health issues

  • Dalton's library of books, academic papers, reports and other publications on asbestos and other environmental and occupational health issues

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Most of the collection is open. Some items are restricted in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

This collection is in the process of being catalogued. A full catalogue will be available soon. Please ask for further information.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

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Accession area