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Asbestos claims in Derbyshire & the East Midlands

Derbyshire & the East Midlands have shown year on year increases in the number of people developing mesothelioma and other asbestos related illnesses according to the Health & Safety executive.

Over the last 25 years the number of people diagnosed with mesothelioma in the region has increased significantly, at a rate in excess of the national trend.  This proliferation is the legacy of the region’s varied industrial heritage, and many claims have been pursued against those employers who have wrongfully exposed their workforce to asbestos. 

Notable employers in the East Midlands region

Power Stations 

The Central Electricity Generating Board operated a number of coal fired power stations in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.  These power stations used significant amounts of asbestos insulation during their construction, and the insulation was repeatedly disturbed during the operation of the power stations.  The region was home to power stations at Drakelow, Willington, Castle Donnington, Cottam, High Marnham, Ratcliffe on Soar, West Burton, Staythorpe, Immingham, Keadby and Killingholme

British Rail 

The Midland Railway Locomotive Works in Derby was known locally as "the loco".  The locomotive works, which was nationalised into British Rail in 1947, produced steam and diesel locomotives.  Steam locomotives were built at Derby until June 1957 after which locomotives were repaired at the Derby site for many years. Between 1958 and 1966 over a thousand diesel locomotives were built in Derby.  The “loco” continued to operate until 1990.

Steam locomotives were constructed using significant amounts of asbestos insulation material which would often be disturbed during repair work.  This caused a hazard, not only for those involved in the work, but also for people who worked nearby.  Whilst asbestos was not as prevalent on diesel locomotives it was used as an insulator and those handling or disturbing that insulation were put at risk of developing an asbestos related illness.

Rolls Royce – Derby

Rolls Royce’s history in Derby dates back to 1908 and it remains the largest private sector employer in the city.  Over many years, claims have been brought against the company due to their historic use of asbestos.  This includes exposure from asbestos lagging on pipework and in the ceilings which during testing would release dust due to vibration of engines.

Leys Malleable Castings Ltd

Leys Malleable Castings was founded in 1874 and traded at various times from Vulcan Ironworks, Osmaston Road, Derby.  The company became the largest malleable iron foundry in Europe. It specialised in manufacturing castings for motor cars until its closure in 1986.  Asbestos was used in the furnaces on site and furnace bricklayers were exposed to the harmful dust and have subsequently gone on to develop asbestos related illnesses.

Boilermakers & heating engineers

We have acted for employees of Babcock & Wilcox, International Combustion, Foster Wheeler, John Brown Boilermakers Ltd, Rolls Royce Industrial Power (India) Ltd and many other businesses who operated  as boilermakers in the region.  Asbestos was commonly used as an insulator and the men who used it were put to significant risk of the development of an asbestos related illness.

Ceiling tiles 

Asbestos ceiling tiles were commonly used in many suspended ceilings in shops, offices and schools.  The men who erected these ceilings were exposed to asbestos dust when they cut and handled the ceiling tiles.  Local companies specialising in suspended ceilings included Courtis Contracts Ltd of Nottingham and Concorde Ceilings Ltd of Nottingham (who contracted to Boots the Chemist).


Ferodo manufactured brake linings, brake pads and other friction products from premises at Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire.  During production employees were exposed to asbestos which for many years was used to create these materials.  Following the purchase of the company by Turner & Newall claims arising out of asbestos exposure at Ferodo can proceed against the T&N Asbestos Trust.

Other notable local employers

  • Bryan Donkin Valves Ltd, Derby Road, Chesterfield
  • British Celanese, Spondon, Derbyshire (subsequently Courtaulds after 1957)
  • Gleesons
  • Alfred McAlpine
  • Henry Boot PLC
  • George Wimpey
  • McLeans
  • Tarmac
  • Dernie & Bell Sons.& Co.Limited

We have acted for a number of joiners, plumbers and electricians – often employed by local councils – who have been exposed to asbestos on construction sites and have subsequently contracted asbestos diseases 

Bringing an asbestos disease claim

At Leigh Day we have an expert team of specialist asbestos solicitors with many years of experience of dealing with compensation claims on behalf of asbestos disease sufferers. 

Helen Ashton is based in our office at Chesterfield in Derbyshire.  She has extensive experience of acting for asbestos disease sufferers and recovering significant amounts of compensation for victims of mesothelioma.

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