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Occupational and Environmental Diseases Association (William Ashton Tait) Archives
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Expert testimony and consulting

From the early to mid 1970s, Nancy Tait fashioned herself into a lay expert on occupational and environmental health hazards, initially chiefly those posed by asbestos.

This took several forms, such as: testifying before commissions and committees, advising and consulting during ongoing inquiries, participating in relevant panels, or commenting on consultation papers. The boundaries between Tait's expert witnessing / consulting work and her advocacy activities (see link below) are somewhat blurred.

Legal action relating to the former site of Cape Asbestos factory, Barking

  • correspondence and papers re Rita Ann Ashdown, mesothelioma victim, who had lived in a Council flat on the Harts Lane Estate in Barking, the former site of a Cape Asbestos factory. Includes particulars of claim Rita Ann Ashdown v. London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, 2002; press coverage 2001-2003
  • correspondence and papers re Barbara Ann Mead, d. 2002 of mesothelioma: transcript of coroners proceedings
  • correspondence and papers re Barking, 1993-2001, including telephone memoranda, solicitors’ correspondence and press coverage
  • copy of a report by Dr Kevin Browne, 25 January 1995, on a recent claim brought against Cape by a Barking resident
  • correspondence with Peter Brady, Dublin, 1986, on his own case against Cape, including photocopy of minutes of a meeting of directors of Cape Insulation (Ireland) Ltd, 1977
  • SPAID correspondence re Barking 1983-1986
  • articles on SPAID‘s work 1984-1985, typescript of case notes Homerton University Hospital, Hackney, from Nancy Tait’s presentation (with Dr V J Harvey), ‘Mesothelioma patients referred to Hackney Hospital – a preliminary report’, Anglo-French Social Medicine conference, Winchester, 1983
  • reports (1983) on safety arrangements at Cape Asbestos, Barking, and copies of related records 1956-1968, received through Anthony T Mendelle via litigator Richard Meeran. Including photocopies of Cape Asbestos Barking Factory Annual Report 1961 & 1962, also report on a visit to Cape subsidiary plants in the USA (n.d.). Mendelle was products manager (1956-1960) and production manager (1960-1968) at Cape Asbestos Company Ltd, Barking

South African law suit against Cape Asbestos

Correspondence and papers (chiefly papers) relating to the South African law suit against Cape Asbestos.

Includes papers of BAMCWU, the Black Allied Mining and Construction Workers’ Union, which organised workers in the Penge mine in the Sekhukhune District, South Africa. Also includes a photocopy of extract from Union of South Africa, Department of Mines and Industries 'Annual report of the Government Mining Engineer for the calendar year ended 31 December 1915'.

Turner & Newall 1969-1986

  • correspondence with and re T&N 1976-1986
  • press coverage on T&N, 1975-1986, including news on the company's search for alternatives to its asbestos products 1977, and on the reintroduction of white asbestos by Eternit TAC Ltd, 1986
  • material relating specifically to the Shabani mine (since 1983: Zvishavane), Zimbabwe, including copy of an offer of employment dated 1981
  • photocopies of various undated typescripts on T&N and public health risk, T&N research on asbestos substitutes, assessment of health & safety equipment, copy of T&N shop steward Norman Pollard’s report ‘Unsafe at any level: asbestos as a hazard to health’
  • photocopy of T&N ‘Q&A: the Asbestos Regulations, 1969’ (1969)

Turner & Newall 1940s-1998

Papers (including press coverage) documenting Turner & Newall plc activities, attitudes to health and safety, working conditions (etc.) 1940s-1998. Includes:

  • copy judgement (1998) in Eileen Hare (suing as executrix of Joseph Arthur Hartles and Annie Hartles, both deceased) v. TAC Construction Materials Ltd, Liverpool County Court
  • T&N gas contracts (UK) 1995-1998
  • annotated copy of draft judgement (1 May 1996) in David Stanley Durham v. T&N plc and Annette Beryl Durham v. T&N plc, Court of Appeal
  • statement by former engineer Peter Turnbull Smith (September 1993) on his working history and the impact of asbestos exposure on his health; the statement prompted Nancy Tait to ask ‘do we have a T&N file? Other than Chace [sic]. Please start one’
  • copy of House of Commons Trade and Industry Committee, ‘Competitiveness of UK manufacturing industry: minutes of evidence Wednesday 23 June 1993: Rover Group plc – Mr George Simpson, T&N plc – Mr Colin Hope’
  • copy of ‘T&N 1982 review’
  • photocopy ‘Selected written evidence submitted to the Advisory Committee on Asbestos 1976-77’, pp. 134-147, 'The production and use of Turner & Newall asbestos products'

Turner & Newall 1995-2007

Correspondence and papers (including press coverage) relating to the administration of global manufacturer of automotive & vehicle safety products Federal Mogul's chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Federal Mogul had acquired the international asbestos manufacturer Turner & Newall in 1998. In 2001, Federal Mogul sought chapter 11 protection in the US and Administration under the Insolvency Act 1986 in the UK.

Correspondence is chiefly with solicitors, also with Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG).

Correspondence about active cases, autumn 1997

Correspondence and papers relating to at least eight cases Nancy Tait dealt with in September and October 1997. Includes:

  • note on Nancy Tait's disagreements with Dr A Gibbs concerning the interpretation of fibre counts on a case
  • summary findings / diagnosis of another case
  • correspondence and papers re suspected pesticide poisoning, a third case
  • electron microscope findings for a fourth case
  • correspondence re case five (deceased)
  • papers re case six (deceased) including postmortem report, coroner’s verdict, 1997
  • correspondence re histopathology of case seven, 1997
  • plaintiff’s medical evidence and defendants’ medical evidence in Edna May Gibbons v. British Gas plc [1993]; also draft of Nancy Tait's summary of the court case
  • correspondence re case eight, 1992
  • copy of opinion of Lord Kirkwood in causa Mrs Esther Susannah McAnerney or Vize et al. v. Scott Lithgow Ltd et al., December 1990, with Nancy Tait's typescript notes (smoking, lung cancer)
  • copy judgement Parkes v. Port of London Authority, 1987
  • photocopy of index cards of SPAID lung cancer cases
  • graphics of the lung
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