Last reviewed 26 July 2021

Cancer caused by asbestos is traditionally associated with people who worked in heavy industry. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the presence of the substance in buildings, such as schools and hospitals, has shortened the lives of the people who worked there.

This warning comes from law firm Leigh Day after one of its clients, Christopher Larkin, died aged 73 on the day that the BBC admitted liability in his legal case against the broadcaster regarding the asbestos-related cancer that caused his death.

An inquest held into Mr Larkin’s death concluded that the cause of death was mesothelioma caused by exposure during his work at the Maida Vale Studios as a BBC Symphony Orchestra horn player.

Leigh Day partner Harminder Bains, who is also representing the family of another former member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra who has died of mesothelioma, said that she was gravely concerned about the number of people who may have been exposed to asbestos at Maida Vale Studios, due to be closed by 2023.

She pointed out that a major reason for closure has been given as the cost of refurbishment due to the presence of asbestos in the building.

Mr Larkin’s family want to raise awareness of the danger to other musicians and technicians of the presence of the lethal substance on the Maida Vale premises.

Before his death, Mr Larkin recalled that when he began work at Maida Vale the building, which dates back to 1909, “was rather down-at heel . . . with various old redundant air conditioning and lots of exposed ducting and lagged pipework”.