0370 1500 100

Son Of Former Clay Dryer Calls On Late Father's Colleagues For Help After Industrial Disease Death

Expert Industrial Disease Lawyers Investigating Exposure To Dust At Work


The son of a former clay dryer is appealing to his late father’s former colleagues in St Austell, Cornwall for information on the working conditions he endured as exposure to dust at work contributed to his death.

An inquest into the death of Walter Patton, 83, found that he died in February 2013 of bronchial pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer related to his employment.

Mr Patton, from St Austell, worked for English Clays Lovering Pochin & Company, which was later known as ECC International Limited in the 1950s and 1960s at the Methrose and Blackpool Dryers sites as a clay dryer.

His son Brian, 62, has now instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where his father was exposed to high-quantities of dust that contributed to his respiratory conditions and lung cancer.

Brian told his legal team that he recalls his father coming home from work covered in white dust from the clay he handled on a daily basis and that as far as he knows his father was never provided with protective equipment that would have prevented him inhaling the dust present in the atmosphere.

Brian and his legal team at Irwin Mitchell are now appealing for anyone who worked with Walter at the Methrose and Blackpool Dryers sites in the 50s and 60s to come forward with information on Walter’s exposure to dust in the workplace and what measures, if any, were taken to prevent workers from inhaling dust in the workplace.

Walter’s brothers-in-law Wilf, Dennis and Ken Blight, worked in the same role for the company in the 1950s and 60s, but also passed away as a result of a clay related illness.

Alex Shorey, an expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said:

Expert Opinion
“Exposure to dust over long periods can have a devastating impact on workers not provided with the correct protection by their employers. Working with clay can lead to the creation of very fine dust, which is often breathed deep into the lungs and causes a range of respiratory conditions and lung diseases.

“The inquest into Walter’s death indicated his job played a significant part in the conditions he developed later in life and we would like to hear from anyone who worked alongside him at English Clays Lovering Pochin & Company (ECLP) or at ECC International Limited / Imerys Minerals Limited as the company was later known.

“We hope anyone who remembers Walter will come forward with information on the roles he carried out at the firm, how he was exposed to the clay dust and what steps were taken to reduce the likelihood of workers inhaling the dust at the Methrose and Blackpool Dryers sites.”
Alex Shorey, Associate Solicitor

Brian said: “Dad was always a very private man and he didn’t tell me about his illness until a few weeks before his death. Unfortunately, this means we didn’t have time to discuss how he was exposed to dust during his time as a clay dryer.

“I remember visiting him at work and seeing him shovelling dust without wearing any protection. I hope that his former colleagues who remember him will come forward and help us by providing the crucial information we need to get justice for my Dad.

“It is absolutely heart-breaking to know that my Dad died from an industrial disease caused by simply going to work every day to provide for his family. We hope that we’ll now be able to find some answers about how he was allowed to work without protection and see those responsible for exposing him to high quantities of dust held responsible for their lack of safety precautions.”

Anyone with information on the working conditions at English Clays Lovering Pochin & Company or ECC International Limited / Imerys Minerals Limited should contact Alex Shorey on 0121 214 5493 or email Alex.Shorey@IrwinMitchell.com