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Mesothelioma and Asbestosis Claims in London

Asbestos-related diseases in London can be common due to the amount of unregulated building work that took place in the capital between from the 1950s onwards.

Work at London docks, factories, building and construction sites led to many workers being especially at risk of developing pleural thickening after coming into contact with asbestos. London’s industrial heritage meant for some, exposure to asbestos was a daily occurrence in their working lives. 

As a result of this, at Leigh Day we deal with many asbestos claims in London and the Greater London region – including for cases of mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Across the UK, in 2017 the Health and Safety Executive reported that there were 2,526 deaths from mesothelioma.

Ready to talk? Contact our specialist team about your claim for asbestos in the London and South East area. Call freephone 0800 6895854 or

Asbestos sources in London

There are many places where the use of asbestos was commonplace across London and the South East. From power stations to construction sites and housing, asbestos was used in the building of most structures in the capital in the mid-20th century, exposing many tradesmen across a number of occupations.
Some of the most affected occupations include:
  • Builders
  • Joiners
  • Engineers
  • Dockyard workers
Areas which were particularly badly affected include:
  • where asbestos was used to make numerous products in factories, such as the infamous Cape Asbestos.
  • Essex and Kent – where a high number of mesothelioma cases have been recorded, according to government statistics released in 2016.
  • Castle Point – has more than twice the national average number of deaths due to mesothelioma. The area has the fourth-highest national rate in England and Wales. 
  • Brentwood – the town in Essex has the eighth-highest rate in England and Wales.
  • Medway, Swale and Thanet – large concentrations of industrial activity meant these areas in the South East were also badly affected, particularly in the Medway docks where asbestos arrived in shiploads and was used extensively in shipbuilding and repairs.

Factory and mill workers

Many factory and mill workers who worked across London were exposed to asbestos. At the Cape Asbestos factory in Barking, asbestos insulation materials were manufactured. Cape also operated factories around Uxbridge where asbestos sheets and other building materials were made, exposing a large workforce who may have gone on to develop asbestos-related diseases in London and the South East.

Anthony’s story

Anthony secured compensation after suffering from pleural thickening. He worked as an apprentice for five years then qualified as a fitter machinist at the Reed Paper Mill in Thatcham, Berkshire. 
He was not provided with a mask or any protection when removing asbestos lagging from the steam pipes as part of his role. As a result, he inhaled a lot of dust and has been diagnosed with pleural thickening.
Leigh Day’s expert asbestos lawyers in London secured Anthony compensation in a claim against his employer without having to go to trial, with the help of a respiratory specialist. 


The docklands in Kent saw many people from the area employed by Chatham Naval Dockyard. Here asbestos was commonly used for insulation in ships thanks to its fire-resistant properties. Dockworkers may have been exposed during their work and could have contracted asbestos-related diseases. 

Rail workers 

As a major railway hub to the rest of the country, many of the London’s railway workers could have been exposed to asbestos. This could be in a number of roles including station staff, cleaners and engineers. 

Lewis’ story

Lewis was exposed to asbestos while working as both a cleaner and fireman at Faversham Railway station, where he was employed by British Rail from 1957 to 1977.

As a cleaner his role included cleaning the steam trains, scraping off dust and oiling. He worked closely with engineers who removed pipes that were concealed behind asbestos lagging. This meant lots of dust was inhaled by Lewis on a daily basis. 

In June 2019 Lewis was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which he later passed away from in January 2020. The Department for Transport admitted liability and a settlement was secured for Lewis during his lifetime.


Engineers in and around London worked across many different areas and could have been exposed to asbestos when carrying out their daily tasks, such as insulating pipes in the city’s power plants.

John’s story

John worked for the Greenwich and Bexley area health authority. His role involved assisting an engineer, by repairing the heating pipes in the underground service tunnels beneath Bexley hospital.  
John experienced a cough and chest pains in 2017 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2018. He has since been undergoing immunotherapy treatment for his condition, which is not available on the NHS.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social care admitted liability for John’s claim and he secured a six-figure settlement in March 2020, which helps to fund his treatment. 

Asbestos treatment and research in London

London is a leading region when it comes to asbestos treatment and research. Bart’s hospital has one of the UK’s largest outpatient clinics for patients with mesothelioma. The team of doctors and nurses here are committed to improving the treatment for mesothelioma and lung cancer and increasing the understanding of these conditions. Clinical trials and treatment pioneered here has been used to inform and educate around the world. 

Bringing an asbestos claim with Leigh Day

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and think it may have developed due to exposure at work in London or the South East, you may have a claim. Even if you were exposed to asbestos in London a long time ago, your claim may still be valid.
At Leigh Day, our expert team of specialist asbestos lawyers are experienced in successfully securing compensation for sufferers and their families. 
We have a team of expert lawyers based in the capital who have extensive experience of supporting those with asbestos-related diseases in London and their families. Each has experience securing significant sums for asbestos illnesses such as pleural thickening and mesothelioma compensation. 
Our solicitors may be able to advise on whether you have a claim, assess your case and establish any next steps. 

Contact Leigh Day in London

If you’re ready to discuss your asbestos claim in London, get in touch with our specialist team at Leigh Day:

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