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I was instructed in October by the family of Timothy who passed away due to mesothelioma in the previous July. He left behind three children who were understandably devastated by the death of their father due to this asbestos related cancer.

Bells Asbestos and Engineering Company Limited

Before he passed away Timothy told his son that he was employed by Bells Asbestos in the Farnham Road in Slough.  Timothy’s father worked there in the accounts department. Timothy worked for Bells for four years from 1945 until 1949.  He told his son that he operated presses that punched out washers from asbestos mill board. The washers were about ¼ inch thick and he believed that they were then compressed together to form a roller and that these rollers were then sold to Pilkington where they were used in the rolling out of the glass. Timothy would often help the men operating a band saw that was used to cut up the asbestos mill board sheets. Sanders were then used to grind the edges of the asbestos sheets. Bells was the only employer where he was exposed to asbestos. Timothy then returned to Bells for a further period of employment between 1951 and 1953 after he undertook National Service.

Defendants’ stance

The insurers of Bells Asbestos were willing to consider the claim once I had notified them. However, the family had no written proof of employment with Bells Asbestos. Although I applied for Timothy’s Inland Revenue Schedule (a document which lists all of the client’s employers from 1961 onwards) as the employment with Bells Asbestos was in the 1940s and 1950s, the company did not appear on Timothy’s Inland Revenue Schedule. 

The insurers indicated that they would be unwilling to progress the claim further until proof of employment was received. 

We therefore obtained statements from Timothy’s siblings, one of whom was living in Australia to confirm that Timothy did indeed work at Bells Asbestos during the years in question and that he worked with asbestos. 


The insurers were then willing to settle the claim without the issue of proceedings and without me obtaining a full medical report which would need to be produced for the Court. The insurers for Bells were satisfied with a report form Guys Hospital that had been prepared for the Coroner and the post mortem report that was undertaken and conclusive of mesothelioma.

Although Timothy did not leave behind a widow, the claim was brought on behalf of the estate and included an amount for the pain and suffering that Timothy experienced and the care that his daughter provided to him (in addition to any other expenses that were incurred due to the illness).

The mesothelioma was incredibly debilitating; Timothy was often unable to breathe and was not able to sleep lying down at night. He was unable to shop, cook, clean and do laundry. Although he wanted to appear strong and not to worry the family, he was in a lot of pain and lost weight over the months. Although no amount of money will compensate the family for their loss, they were pleased with the quick resolution of the case, it being settled by the beginning of May.