Asbestos warning to workers who built Corby’s Golden Wonder factory in the 1960s

The original Golden Wonder factory in Corby, which was the largest crisp factory in the world when it was built in 1964
The original Golden Wonder factory in Corby, which was the largest crisp factory in the world when it was built in 1964

The daughter of a man who helped to build the Golden Wonder factory in Corby in the 1960s is urging his former colleagues to get themselves checked out after he died from mesothelioma.

George Usher, of Cumbria, who was 77, died last month after a short battle with the disease – a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

George Usher, of Cumbria, who was 77, died last month after a short battle with mesothelioma. He worked on the construction of the Golden Wonder factory in Corby in 1964

George Usher, of Cumbria, who was 77, died last month after a short battle with mesothelioma. He worked on the construction of the Golden Wonder factory in Corby in 1964

The former electrician believed he was exposed to asbestos dust during his short period of employment with Yorkshire-based engineering and construction firm NG Bailey in 1964.

He worked for the firm for about six months, during which he worked on the construction of the original Golden Wonder crisp factory in Rockingham Road, Corby.

When it opened it was the world’s largest crisp and snack factory.

The firm moved to its current location in Princewood Road in 1989 following a fire.

We hope raising awareness of mesothelioma will lead to more people getting checked out for the effects of asbestos exposure.

Charlotte Usher

Mr Usher’s role involved the installation of electrical systems at the factory, a job which required him to work side by side with laggers, who would mix asbestos paste to lag the pipework used in the factory.

He recalled the atmosphere in the boiler house, where he was posted for the majority of his time, as very dusty, with plumes of asbestos dust rising into the air regularly.

Now Mr Usher’s daughter, Charlotte, 48, of West Yorkshire, has instructed lawyers to investigate how and where her father was exposed to asbestos.

Roger Maddocks, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Charlotte, said: “Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer that causes a significant amount of suffering for victims like George.

“Action Mesothelioma Day, which took place on Friday, July 3, aims to raise awareness of the terrible disease and the importance of diagnosing the disease early so treatment can be provided.

“It can take decades for the symptoms of the disease to become apparent, so we need to hear from George’s former colleagues, and anyone who worked as a contractor on the Golden Wonder crisp factory construction, about the working conditions they were exposed to and details of the lagging process.

“Charlotte, her sister Caroline and their mother, Jean, want answers about why this happened to their husband and father, as well as to encourage those who worked with George, or anyone who may have been exposed to asbestos to visit a doctor as soon as possible to be X-rayed.

“Employers have known of the dangers of asbestos for decades and should have taken action to protect workers and contractors, such as George, from the deadly substance.

“Therefore, we would urge his former workmates and contractors who worked on the construction of the factory to come forward with the crucial information we need.”

Charlotte said: “Mesothelioma is a terrible disease and we would urge anyone who worked with Dad to go to a doctor and get a chest X-ray as soon as possible.

“We hope raising awareness of mesothelioma will lead to more people getting checked out for the effects of asbestos exposure.

“If we help convince one person to visit their doctor, have a chest X-ray and access the treatment they need so they can live longer and spend more time with their family then something good will have come from the experience our family has had.”

NG Bailey declined to comment.

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to contact Kirstie Devine at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors on 0191 279 0136 or email Kirstie.Devine@irwinmitchell.com.