Lambeth man exposed to asbestos urgently seeks help

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Lambeth man exposed to asbestos urgently seeks help

4th October 2011

A Lambeth man who grew up near an asbestos factory and developed an asbestos-related lung cancer more than 40 years later is appealing for anyone who may be able to help in his fight for justice to come forward.

John Buchanan, 64, of Herne Hill Road, lived with his parents on the Neckinger Estate in Bermondsey, Southwark, until 1967. He believes his illness can be attributed to the asbestos dust he was exposed to whilst on his way to school each day as a child.

“There was an asbestos factory on Horney Lane, which is now Grange Road, right around the corner from the Neckinger Estate where I grew up,” said Mr Buchanan. “I believe it produced asbestos cement and was run by a firm named Central Asbestos Company Ltd.

“I used to go to Boucher Junior School when I was a boy and I must have passed this factory every time I walked to school and at least four times a day,” he added. “I also went to another school named Bacon Junior School which was also very close to the same factory.

“My older sister Jean even remembers having to walk past an asbestos factory near our house with a handkerchief over her mouth as the dust from the factory buildings was often so thick,” said father-of-two Mr Buchanan, who is married to his wife, Jennifer.

Edmund Young, an industrial diseases expert with Fentons Solicitors LLP, is representing Mr Buchanan. He said his now retired client spent 45 years working as a librarian.

“Around December 2010, John started to develop a persistent cough,” said Mr Young, an associate with the firm. “In March 2011, his weight suddenly plummeted, he completely lost his appetite and he had significant problems with his breathing. After seeing his GP, John was referred to Kings College Hospital for tests which later confirmed he had mesothelioma - a particularly cruel and painful cancerwhich is caused by exposure to asbestos and has no cure.

“I am aware of a number of mesthelioma cases across England where victims developed the cancer as a result of growing up near asbestos factories,” added Mr Young. “These include a 28-year-old Greater Manchester woman who became the youngest ever mesothelioma victim in 2008, after being exposed to dust from an asbestos factory every day on her way to primary school in the 1980s.”

Mr Young said there were also numerous mesothelioma cases reported amongst residents living near an asbestos factory in Dagenham, East London in the 1960s.

“John started chemotherapy four weeks ago,” he said. “He urgently needs anyone who lived in Bermondsey in the 1960s who remembers coming into contact with asbestos or who suspects that they may have been exposed to the deadly material, to come forward and help in his fight for justice. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have worked for Central Asbestos Company Ltd or who lived in the vicinity of the factory and can remember works being carried out in the area.”

If you remember living or working in Bermondsey throughout the 1960s, specifically for Central Asbestos Company Ltd, please contact Edmund Young on 0844 893 6769or e-mail