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Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association (William Ashton Tait) Archives
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Original papers to be copied

File of correspondence and papers, many of which have been marked for photocopying. Papers cover all aspects of SPAID and OEDA functions and includes networking correspondence, correspondence with politicians, newspaper clippings, extracts about occupational health from magazines and publications, and enquiries.
-letter from Jon Snow, ITN, declining to be a patron of OEDA but showing support, 1998
-letter to Nancy Tait from W F Leslie, Health and Safety Executive, about Asbestos Fire Blankets
-letter from the Ministry of Defence- answer about an enquiry on widows pensions
-copy of clippings from 'Engineering Safety' magazine stating that there is no cause for concern over asbestos
-Extracts from ‘Asbestos: Properties, Applications and Hazards (Volume 1)'
-letter to Lord Avebury from Nancy Tait about a case and chrysotile, 1982
-copy of a letter from the Department of Health and Social Security about an enquiry to the department for financial help for research
-letter from James Halstead Ltd to Nancy Tait about co-operation with the company, a donation and event
-copy of standard letter/ wording for chasing up enquiries on SPAID headed notepaper
-original letters from Lord Avebury to Nancy with updates on his questions he put to Parliamentary Questions
-copies of statistics
-copies of 'wording for Private Member's Bill' about the abolition of Pneumoconiosis Medical Panels, for Parliament, 1979
-correspondence with funding bodies such as the 'Commission of the European Communities'
-correspondence with the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council, 1982
-a 'list of Nelson-Jones Cases'
-some trustee correspondence
-copies of extracts from Factory Inspector Reports
-circular about Richard Peto and his research
-copies of correspondence about Artex, asbestos free texture coating
-correspondence about asbestos free brakes
-papers about asbestos in the construction of ships
-correspondence about asbestos in schools, 1980s
-papers and correspondence about Pneumoconiosis Medical Panels, 1983
-SPAID information about appeals against inquest findings
-photocopies of the 'Coroners Act 1980'

Correspondence volumes 1979-2007

Copies of outgoing correspondence in a series of originally 82 volumes, in chronological order.
Correspondence topics cover many of SPAID/OEDA's functions such as advocacy, networking and administrative communications however a large proportion of the correspondence is related to cases of asbestosis and compensation claims.

Incomplete. The following 35 volumes are missing:

  • vol 1 (? to September 1979)
  • vols 5-26 (October 1981 to April 1988)
  • vols 34-45 (May 1990 to January 1993)

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association (William Ashton Tait) Archives

  • GB 249 OEDA
  • Collection
  • 1969-2009
  • early correspondence and papers relating to Nancy Tait’s fact-finding mission regarding asbestos
  • minutes of meetings of the SPAID/OEDA Trustees, annual reports, strategic plans
  • registers and other finding aids for the extensive OEDA case file series (OEDA CF); see link below
  • information resources on employers and insurers and other materials for supporting compensation claims
  • some case correspondence, medical appeals correspondence, correspondence with the medical appeal administration, and with the social security commissioner
  • documentation of the different types of information services provided by SPAID / OEDA, among them series relating to occupational and environmental health enquiries; SPAID / OEDA publications and display boards; responses to requests for information from solicitors; and responses to requests for information from the media
  • records relating to SPAID/OEDA's research into asbestos related diseases, mortality statistics, latency periods; also testimony before commissions, consultancy reports
  • SPAID/OEDA's extensive advocacy work over four decades
  • interactions with victims support groups, unions, fellow activists, occupational health experts, historians, solicitors and legal scholars
  • conferences and meetings to which Nancy Tait and her organisation contributed or which she attended
  • information files compiled on specific topics
  • series of correspondence and telephone memoranda
  • SPAID/OEDA accounts; also fundraising activities including grant applications
  • some documentation of the creation and running of the Electron Microscope Research Unit
  • instructions and manuals relating to office procedures and information management in the organisation
  • reference library (OEDA/K) including the organisation's collection of scientific papers, deposits and judgements, statutory instruments, DSS claims forms 1969-2007, clusters of press coverage, etc


  • OEDA collection of printed material; see link below
  • ten series of case files (OEDA CF, see link below)
  • OEDA's copies of the Chase Manhattan Turner & Newall papers (OEDA CM, see link below)
  • several standalone collections accepted to the OEDA archive during the 1990s, including the research papers of M J Sanders, records of Cancer Prevention Society, Glasgow, and the papers documenting refrigeration management worker W H Knight's compensation claim; see links below

Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association

Judgements and legal opinions

Copies of judgements, legal opinions, advice on liability, occasionally dependancy schedules, affidavits, particulars of claim (including clinical information), skeleton arguments in preparation of a case, witness statements, transcripts of proceedings and press coverage. In alphabetical order.

  • front matter includes list of settlements (asbestos related, asthma, Berylium related) as well as summaries of selected judgements 1961-1984
  • occasional notes suggest that SPAID/OEDA supplied copies of judgements for a fee

Correspondence and papers re MOD

Correspondence and papers re policy and regulations covering war pensions, compensation from the Ministry of Defence for asbestos-related diseases, and exemption from inheritance tax in case of death from conditions attributable to war service.

Includes listing of 'Forces cases' with asbestos-related diseases, including diagnosis.

Further includes copies of 'Veterans world: newsletter for all those who serve the ex-Service community', 2006, and press coverage 1982-2006.

Matthews v. Ministry of Defence

Papers and correspondence (chiefly with Cliff Poole of Bond Pearce LLP) over Alan Robert Matthews v. Ministry of Defence (MOD). Includes

  • correspondence re National Forces Asbestos Outrage petition 2006
  • copy of opinions of the Lords of appeal for judgement in Matthews v. Ministry of Defence, February 2003
  • copy of judgement Matthews v. Ministry of Defence, High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division, 22 January 2002
  • press coverage
    Matthews claimed he had sustained personal injury caused by exposure to asbestos while serving in the Royal Navy 1955-1968. However, until 1987 the Crown enjoyed an immunity under section 10 Crown Proceedings Act 1947 from liability in tort for things done by members of the armed forces and for the nature or condition of land, premises, ships, aircraft or vehicles used for their purposes. The repeal (in 1987) of this provision did not help Matthews because it made tort claims possible only for events after 1987.

Information exchanged with American visitors, 1985-1986

Correspondence and papers (including reports and press cuttings).


  • 'Visitors from America and information they were interested in': correspondence, chiefly with Terry Richardson of Blatt & Fales, South Carolina, and papers relating mainly to Dr R Doll, among them copy of a letter from Doll and a photocopy of the HSC-commissioned report by Doll with J Peto, ‘Asbestos: effects on health of exposure to asbestos’ (1985)
  • 'Information from American visitors': photocopies of court papers from actions against Turner & Newall Ltd, left by Terry Richardson

Correspondence with US contacts 1982-2005

Correspondence and papers (including reports and press cuttings), 1982-2005, with some earlier material (1973-1979).

Correspondents include

  • eminent scientist Prof Irving Selikoff, Dr Andrew Churg and environmental consultant Barry Castleman
  • lawyers, among them from Armstrong, Gordon, Mitchell & Damiani, Cleveland; Jane B Cantor of Garruto Cantor Trial Lawyers, NJ; Patrick Guilfoyle, Washington; Leonard C Jacque of Jacque Admiralty Law Firm, Detroit; Michael O’Connor; Peters & Peters, Santa Monica; Terry Richardson of Blatt & Fales, South Carolina; Speights & Runyan, Attorneys at Law, South Carolina; Wallace & Graham, North Caroina; and Marc P Weingarten of Greitzer & Locks, Philadelphia
  • also Dwight E Brown of Asbestos Hazards Programs
  • writer Paul Brodeur


  • copy of documents relating to the Ahearn class action: US District Court, Eastern District of Texas [c.1993] 'Overview of and questions & answers on the global settlement agreement and the Ahearn class action'; copy of notice of class action [c.1994] Gerald Ahearn et al. v. Fibreboard Corporation et al., US District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division; and copy of notice of pendency of defendant class action [etc.], Continental Casualty Company et al. v. Daniel Herman Rudd Jr. et al., US District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division
  • photocopy of court summons Beatrice Angio v. Celotex Corporation (May 1983)
  • magazine articles and press cuttings, including re houses in Laguna Beach and Malibu being spared by recent fires in California, in part due to the use of asbestos tiles, in part due to substituting ice plants for the native sagebrush
  • conference information (participants lists) for 'Biological Effects of Mineral Fibres', Lyon, France, 25-27 September 1979

Continues exchanges begun 1975-1977; see link below.

'Asbestos - what next?', London, October 1982

Correspondence and papers re meeting ‘Asbestos – what next?’, Grand Committee Room, Westminster Hall, Houses of Parliament on 20 October 1982. The meeting was sponsored and arranged with SPAID by Nigel Spearing MP, Jack Ashley MP and Alan Clark MP. It focused on prevention (controls to protect workers and the general public) and help (for victims) regarding the threat posed by asbestos in home and environment. These and absence of control limits were issues not addressed by the recent Simpson Committee.

Structured as follows:

  • report on the meeting, SPAID discussion paper, list of those invited and signature sheet of those who attended, correspondence with MPs
  • correspondence arising from the meeting, October 1982 - January 1983
  • correspondence July to October 1982 (prior to the meeting)
  • papers c. 1971-1982

British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) conference ‘Occupational hygiene ‘98: promoting a healthy working environment’, London 1998

Correspondence and papers re Nancy Tait's “lung cancer paper”, presented at session 10 (epidemiology) at the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) conference ‘Occupational hygiene ‘98’, Institute of Education 31 March – 2 April 1998.

Includes abstract, copy of paper, research material for preparing the abstract and the talk itself. Also conference programme, list of participants, preliminary correspondence with Robin Howie (occupational hygiene consultant and past president of BOHS), correspondence arising.

Further includes subsequent BOHS conference announcement.

Contains photocopies of SPAID/OEDA index cards listing individuals suffering from lung cancer and their case numbers.

GMB Asbestos Awareness Campaign conferences October 1995 and April 1996

Correspondence and papers (including Nancy Tait's notes and printed conference materials, among them a poster) re two conferences organised by the GMB in the Liverpool & North Wales & Irish Region, at which Tait spoke on the issue of compensation.

The seminars formed part of the GMB Asbestos Awareness Campaign and took place in Liverpool (11 October 1995) and Belfast (30 April 1996) respectively.

Includes photocopy of solicitors' case file in William John Willmitt v. Spousal (Midlands) Ltd and Ellesmere Port Insulation Co Ltd 1994.

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