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Research and expert witnessing

Nancy Tait viewed her organisation as an asbestos action group with a research agenda, rather than simply a victims support group. This perception is very much in line with the charity's trust deed, which lists research into the causes, prevention and treatment of asbestos related disease as its primary objective.

By the mid-1970s, the investigations Nancy Tait had begun following her husband's death in 1968 earned her a fellowship from the Churchill Trust, which allowed her to travel and to seek out international specialists in person. She began to publish her own asbestos literature and to testify as an expert witness, initially on the strength of her intimate knowledge of the impact of a mesothelioma diagnosis, but also of her readings, her exchanges with medical and environmental authorities, and her sheer determination to get to the bottom of how asbestos operated on the human body over time.

As SPAID / OEDA developed, Nancy Tait's investigations drew also on a growing knowledge base of case histories, with detailed medical and legal information. From 1988 onwards that knowledge base was enriched by the evidence provided by the SPAID electron microscope laboratory.

There are four series:

  • Research correspondence
  • Expert testimony and consulting
  • Mesothelioma mortality and death certification
  • Criticism of fibre counting

These are followed by smaller aggregations.

Other types of research (e.g. legal, health & safety, industrial injury claims-related, and so forth) can be found throughout the collection, in particular in Sections E (Advocacy) and F (Networking). Research outputs are in OEDA/C/2 (Publications by SPAID / OEDA).

Advocacy

12 series:

  • Early campaigning
  • Correspondence with MPS
  • Legal Working Party
  • Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC)
  • Health & Safety Executive (HSE)
  • Coroners and medical boards
  • Compensation recovery
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health Asbestos Sub-committee
  • Asbestos ban campaign
  • Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947
  • Ministry of Defence (MOD) Joint Compensation Review
  • Consultative panel: pathology of asbestos disease

Networking

Networking was a core activity for Nancy Tait's organisation, and one she pursued through the so-called 'SPAID Fellowship' (imagined as a supporters' club), through an extensive series of conferences and meetings, and through information exchange and the development of professional contacts and alliances with a range of organisations and individuals, notably unions, victims support groups, and legal experts. Primarily these were based in the UK. But Tait also maintained a North American correspondence, in particular with personal injury lawyers and with asbestos critics, and she avidly followed news on European health & safety regulation.

Biographical and corporate documentation

Three series:

  • materials relating specifically to Nancy Tait and her charity
  • corporate records including SPAID trustee correspondence, OEDA management committee correspondence and minutes of meetings
  • assessments of the organisation, business plans and measures of improvement

The section closes with a file relating predominantly to SPAID / OEDA's status as a charity.

SPAID Trust Deed is at "Early correspondence with SPAID trustees" (OEDA/A/2/1/1). OEDA Memorandum & Articles of Association is at "Correspondence with L B Horam, 1988-1995" (OEDA/A/2/3), January 1994.

Providing information

Six series, each of them representing a type of information service provided by SPAID / OEDA. As follows:

  • fielding occupational and environmental health enquiries
  • publications by the organisation
  • display boards and posters generated for use at meetings, conferences and around the office
  • responses to requests for information from solicitors
  • responses to requests for information from the media
    The section concludes with a small series relating to compensation claims against the Johns-Manville Corporation / the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust.
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