Nowhere was that old Yorkshire saying where there's muck, there's brass' truer than at Esholt sewage treatment works.

When Bradford's textile industry was thriving, Esholt works seized upon its waste, purging it and extracting everything from grease to paint and sheep dye, which were sold back to the trade for a handsome sum.

It was stinking work, carried out by a workforce whose members considered themselves part of a big family.

That golden age of sludge has been celebrated in a display of photographs from the Yorkshire Water archives and former workers and families of the sewage treatment plant.

The images were displayed alongside photographs by Yorkshire Water photographer-in-residence Ian Beesley, an internationally-renowned photographer who began his working life at Esholt.

Among former workers marvelling at Mr Beesley's pictures of his old mates was Barry Tetley, who spent 28 years at the site.

"It was dirty, filthy work, but the people here were like one big family," he recalled of the early 1970s when Bradford Corporation ran the site.

"You were working with human and industrial waste. It was absolutely disgusting, but you worked with it day in, day out, and you stopped noticing it."

Barry was a bus driver, a job which saw him fetching workers, most of whom did not have their own transport, to and from work.

The business end of the sewage treatment work happened in the press house, where numerous steam filter presses compressed the sludge, wringing out the grease and leaving behind a product suitable as fertiliser which could be sold to farmers.

Other by-products included grease for railway axles, battleship grey paint and even blue and green stain for marking livestock.

"The lads in the press house had their own canteen because no-one would sit with them because of the smell," recalled Barry.

But the boom did not last. As the textile trade dwindled so did the amount of raw material available to Esholt and the market for its by-products.

Yorkshire Water took over in 1975 and has been pumping investment into the 300- hectare site ever since.

A special event for all residents who donated their photographs and recollections to the exhibition is being planned for the future.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Esholt memorabilia can contact Karen O'Rourke on (01274) 692653. Donated photographs can be returned to the owners.