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Barrow In Furness

Barrow in Furness and Cumbria

Working for victims of asbestos exposure in Barrow in Furness and Cumbria

35 + years' experience in the field

Asbestos claims in Cumbria are slowly increasing as a consequence of the region’s long history in the shipbuilding industry with Barrow-in-Furness having an above average number of asbestos related deaths.

Since 1981 over 300 people in Barrow have died as a result of an asbestos related cancer – mesothelioma. The death rate in the region is much higher than anywhere else in Britain with 11.57 death per 100,000 of the local population compared with the national average which is 4.51 per 100,000 of the local population.

As many asbestos-related diseases develop over a few decades, it is only now that individuals who were exposed to asbestos in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's are showing symptoms of mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.

If you or a loved one have received a diagnosis for any of these diseases and believe you were exposed to asbestos during your time working in the region, you may have a strong asbestos claim. Call us today on 0151 305 2760 or fill in our short form.

What the directories say

Leigh Day has a highly respected industrial disease practice offering first-rate representation to claimants suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

Chambers and partners 2023

Sources of asbestos in Cumbria and Barrow-In-Furness

Once a small village with a population of 300, Barrow expanded to become a large, thriving, industrial town with a population of 80,000 during World War II. The area had strong rail links that complimented the shipbuilding industry and the Barrow shipyard, owned by Vickers Armstrong, became one of the largest shipyards in Britain by the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Asbestos use was prominent in the shipbuilding industry and many more during the 1960’s.70’s and 80’s. Some of the most commonly exposed occupations included:

  • Laggers
  • Engineers
  • Shipwrights
  • Joiners
  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Boilermakers
  • Labourers
  • Dockworkers
  • Fitters
  • Welders
  • Painters
  • Electricians
  • Ceiling fitters

If you worked in any of these positions and have developed an asbestos-related disease, then you could be eligible for compensation. We can help you to investigate whether you have a claim against your past employer. Call us today on 0151 305 2760 or fill in our short form.


Despite having a proud history of building and repairing ships, the industry has left a terrible legacy in the region.

Vickers & Armstrong/Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd were involved in the construction of military vessels and built some of the largest battleships in the world. The shipyard at Barrow is the only site licenced to build nuclear -powered submarines which have been tested at the site since 1958.

Asbestos was a cheap product known to be good for fire prevention and insulation and was heavily used in the construction, refitting and repair of ships. Workers were exposed to asbestos lagging on the pipes, asbestos spray and other asbestos materials. They worked in cramped and dusty conditions with little access to fresh air. They were not given any training or information about the risks to their health when working with asbestos. Many workers have gone on to develop asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.

There have also been cases of secondary exposure in the region as the workers went home to their families in their overalls which were covered in asbestos dust and particles and often washed by a family member.

Our Cumbrian asbestos claims experience

Shipyard workers

One of our clients, Stuert Galbraith, was a former apprentice plumber at Barrow shipyard from the age of 16. He spent five years working onboard vessels and submarines that were being constructed in the yard. He worked in close proximity to others who were mixing and applying asbestos lagging. He worked in confined conditions where he breathed in asbestos dust on a daily basis. Stuert developed mesothelioma as a result of this exposure. Compensation was recovered which included provision for the defendant to pay for any future treatment costs that he might incur.


Our client, Roy Fry, developed mesothelioma as a result of working as a draftsman for Caston Barber Limited. The company made fireproof doors for ships including the SS Oriana for Vickers & Armstrong. He would cut up and fit sheets of asbestos in a workshop using a mechanical saw. Insurers were identified for the period 1960-1962 and compensation was recovered despite the company no longer trading. Settlement was agreed for Roy with provision that he could return to Court for more compensation to fund medical treatment that he paid for privately.

What our clients say

“Thanks to Kevin, my claim and its expeditious settlement can be summed up by the Latin Nulli Secundus [second to none]. I would have no hesitation in referring prospective claimants to Leigh Day and Kevin in particular.

Client of Kevin Johnson

Our team in the region

Kevin Johnson heads up asbestos cases in Cumbria. Kevin qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and has specialised in asbestos and mesothelioma claims since then. He has worked on claims for asbestos in the Cumbria area from 2002. Kevin joined Leigh Day in 2016.

Kevin’s work has involved representing asbestos disease sufferers in high value and complex claims – securing compensation for more than £500,000 in some cases. Get in touch with Leigh Day to discuss your asbestos claim in Barrow or the wider region today. Call 0151 305 2760 or email the team.