THE son of a former Bradford maggot farmer says he “never recovered” after closing his business following complaints from residents moving to new houses near the site.

This week the T&A ran a look-back feature on the Wrose maggot farm owned by the Hainsworth family. Established by Albert Hainsworth in 1907, it was in-demand as a supplier for animal feed and fishing bait. Maggots were shipped to countries including the Netherlands and Belgium and across the UK for anglers, zoos, laboratories and bird-keepers.

But when housing was built near the farm in the 1960s the stench from large quantities of maggots was not to the liking of some people in the new houses. “Add to that the foul smell of rotting meat - which was food for the maggots - wafting on windy days over areas beyond Wrose and mass breakouts of bluebottles escaping from sheds. The farm became the focus of complaints,” wrote historian Dr Christine Alvin in the T&A feature.

Andrew Pedley, whose father ran the farm in the 1960s, said it was well respected, adhered to public health rules, and was there long before the new housing. “The developers knew full well there was a maggot farm there, and the people moving into the houses knew. So to complain about a business that had been there since the early 1900s seemed very unfair,” said Mr Pedley.

“I worked there from the age of 13 to 15, when I was still at school and we lived at the end of the track, near the farm. I don’t believe the smell went as far as Idle and Thackley, as the article said. It was my dad Bernard’s farm, it had been my grandad Fred’s before that, and his father, Albert, had started it. It was a long-running family business with an excellent reputation - we supplied to Harewood House tropical bird gardens and cases of maggots used to go all over the country. My dad had a van with a pink elephant on the side, everyone knew it was Hainsworth’s van. It said ‘The best maggots for miles around’.”

Mr Pedley claimed complaints about the farm caused his father great stress and led to its closure in the 1970s. “The farm had been there for years before the housing, but there was so much pressure from the complaints, it broke my dad in the end,” he said. “It was his livelihood, it was all he knew, and he lost it. They ended up shutting him down and he never recovered. It made him ill in the end.”

The farm, by Catstones Wood, was accessible only by cart tracks prior to the new housing development. In 1965 the T&A reported that more than 30 residents petitioned Shipley Council complaining of flies and smells coming from the maggot farm.

In 1968 T&A reporter Jim Appleby visited the farm and found thousands of maggots feasting on fish and meat. He wrote that “it was well-run and hygienically clean and operating within the rules of public health.”

He said Bernard Hainsworth, who took over running the farm in the 1950s, “is openly concerned about the complaints and has followed to the letter every piece of advice the council has given on the subject of preventing bluebottles escaping.”

The report also said First World War soldiers returning with tuberculosis had been taken to Hainsworths’ maggot sheds, where the smell was said to be good for the lungs.