DIY was popular in the 1950s, as there was a shortage of people to do jobs around the home, and some items were still difficult to get hold of. The magazine 'Practical Householder' contained instructions on many DIY projects and advertisements for tools, materials and kits. A lot of these projects used asbestos. Some of the articles have been photographed and posted below. These are taken from my family's collection (Sarah, DAST)
Mr G remembers: "No-one said it was dangerous. My father worked in the same place and he died put I never put two and two together. I thought it was a good place to work."
Mr H remembers: "When I first started people used to literally use asbestos as snowballs."
Asbestos was widely used in schools - so much so that DAST have launched a new project specifically to warn those who work in school buildings (see the main DAST website, www.asbestossupport.co.uk). One school employee, Mr S, remembers "One school I worked in had long corridors and the children used to jump up and poke their fingers in the ceiling..." Ceiling tiles were notoriously coated with asbestos.
Mr H remembers: "Very few people that I worked with have survived to retirement."
Mr T remembers: "People were dismissive of the dangers when I worked with the substance in the 1980s. If someone coughed in the workshop, others would laugh and say "Oh you must have got asbestosis." "
Asbestos in the 21st century
Asbestos was banned in 1999, but it was used to such an extent that there are huge amounts of the substance still present in older buildings and vintage artefacts.