This week in history: Pembury tenant takes five bags of dead flies to Hackney Town Hall to prove mysterious plague

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

A mystery plague of flies was making life miserable for Pembury Estate tenants.

Baffled council officials who had battled to wipe the flies out, had no idea where they had come from.

Swarms of fruit flies had invaded the estate in Lower Clapton, gathering inside homes, stairs and walkways.

Insecticide had not worked to wipe them out.

Edith Turner, 87, said: “I am scared to eat because of them. No matter how much we try to keep our food covered, the flies get at it. I spread a lump of butter on some bread and found four dead flies in it.

“They get in our eyes, our ears, our hair and our clothes, and there’s nothing we can do.”

Neighbour Pauline Budmish collected five bags full of dead flies to show town hall officials.

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Tenants thought the flies were breeding in skips filled with rubbish.

A council spokesman said: “Unfortunately they are fruit flies which breed like crazy.”