Son of ex-worker at brickworks in Lanarkshire seeks information about working conditions there after his mother’s death

The son of a Wishaw woman is hoping former colleagues at a former Cleland brickworks can help him shed some light on the root cause of her death.

Isabella Boyd was born on Orchard Street in Overtown in 1935. She worked for the Auchinlea Quarries and Brickworks Company after leaving school aged 15 before marrying on Valentine’s Day 1959 and moving to Cumbria where she raised her family.

Isabella passed away in November 2020 at the age of 85. In the months leading up to her death, she suddenly became seriously ill. An autopsy later confirmed that she had mesothelioma. The condition is caused by exposure to asbestos.

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There are no obvious symptoms for mesothelioma for decades after exposure to asbestos, it develops slowly and then becomes very aggressive in its later stages. Even if caught early, it is incurable.

Her son Tom Farrer, 53, is looking for his mother’s former colleagues to connect with him so he can better understand the conditions workers endured at the Cleland brick plant, which closed 45 years ago.

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Asbestos has been widely used in brick manufacture since the 1950s, adding heat resistance and strength while being lightweight. Many kilns in which the bricks were fired also contained the material either in their own brickwork or behind it.

Isabella Boyd from Overtown worked at Auchinlea Brickworks in Cleland (Image: UGC)

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The grandmother fell seriously ill with the aggressive mesothelioma (Image: UGC)

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