Collection TN - Clydeside Action on Asbestos: copies of Turner & Newall corporate archive

Identity area

Reference code

GB 249 TN


Clydeside Action on Asbestos: copies of Turner & Newall corporate archive


  • 1920s - 1990s (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

19.6 metres

Context area

Name of creator

(Established 1984)

Administrative history

Charity established in 1984 in Glasgow, Scotland to provide advice, support and information to all those affected by asbestos-related illnesses.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Turner & Newall (T&N) was a leading manufacturing business based in Manchester, UK. The company was one of the first to industrialise asbestos. Its demise in 2001 left an aftermath of asbestos litigation.

The business originated with Turner Brothers, founded in Rochdale in 1871 to manufacture cotton-cloth-based packaging. In 1920 Turner Brothers merged with the Washington Chemical Company, Newalls Insulation Company, and J W Roberts to become Turner & Newall. That year T&N also became listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Subsequently the company acquired Bells' United Asbestos Companies and several asbestos insulation companies in the UK, among others operating a plant in Armley, West Yorkshire, and an asbestos mine in Bulembu, Swaziland, Southern Africa. After World War II T&N diversified into components for the automotive industry (including gaskets). In 1953 it also bought Porters Cement Industries Ltd, a major producer of chrysotile asbestos products based in Salisbury and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (at the time: Southern Rhodesia).

In 1998 T&N was acquired by Federal Mogul, which as a result of a surge of asbestos-related personal injury claims filed for Chapter 11 protection. In the UK the business went into administration in October 2001, leaving a pension fund deficit estimated at £400 million.

Parts of T&N continue trading. Porters Cement Industries Ltd, for instance, which had been renamed Turnall Fibre Cement Ltd after becoming part of T&N in 1952, continues to operate as an independent company in Zimbabwe, mainly producing asbestos cement sheets and pipes.

The T&N Subfund of the Federal Mogul Asbestos Trust was organised to process, liquidate, and pay all valid Asbestos Trust claims for which T&N entities have legal responsibility. The Trust was created 27 December 2007 as a result of the confirmation of The Federal-Mogul Chapter 11 Joint Plan of Reorganization. For claimants whose principal exposure to asbestos was in the UK or one of several other non-US countries, a UK Asbestos Trust was established to provide for the payment of asbestos claims.

Archival history

Copies of parts of the Turner & Newall corporate archive were made by Chase Manhattan Bank as part of the discovery process during legal proceedings begun in 1987 in the USA by the Bank against Turner & Newall. On the completion of the court case, the Bank gave the copies to interested individuals and groups, including Clydeside Action on Asbestos, to use as a research resource.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Phyllis Craig, Director of Clydeside Action on Asbestos, November 2013.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Copies of parts of the corporate archive of Turner & Newall, one of the world's leading asbestos manufacturers. The records copied date back to the 1920s. The copies were owned by Clydeside Action on Asbestos and used as a research resource.

These copies are significant since the original Turner & Newall archives are not accessible. The only time that the company granted access to its archives was during the legal proceedings initiated by Chase Manhattan Bank against Turner & Newall in 1987 when these copies were made. The copies of the archives remain the only primary evidence of Turner & Newall's activities.

Contents include board minutes and correspondence and papers relating to: the health risks of asbestos; asbestos industry regulations; the company's medical arrangements; employees with asbestos-related disease; the company's relations with the media; the company's submissions to parliamentary select committees; Chase Manhattan Bank vs. Turner & Newall trial documents; company histories.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Some records may be restricted in compliance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 1998.. Please contact repository to request access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

    Language and script notes

    Physical characteristics and technical requirements

    Finding aids

    This collection is not yet catalogued.

    Allied materials area

    Existence and location of originals

    Existence and location of copies

    Related units of description

    Two other sets of copies of the Turner & Newall corporate archive ended up in the possession of the Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association and Professor Geoffrey Tweedale (see links below). Whilst there is some duplication of content, it is believed that no single set of copies is comprehensive.

    Notes area

    Alternative identifier(s)

    Access points

    Place access points

    Name access points

    Genre access points

    Description identifier

    Institution identifier




        Accession area