THE last fish hook maker in Redditch has finally ceased production, bringing a poignant end to more than 200 years of traditional fish hook making in the town.

Fish hook making was started in Redditch at the beginning of the 19th Century by companies such as Henry Millward, Samuel Allcock and William Bartlett.

Vince Green founded Sprite Fish Hooks in 1974 following the death of his father, Ted Green, who had learned the trade of hook making first at John James at Studley and then at Samuel Allcock in Redditch.

Following the acquisition of the Allcock Company in 1969 by Norris Shakespeare, Ted Green was made redundant as Shakespeare ceased manufacturing in Redditch.

He then went on to start his own business making commercial sea hooks for the North American market.

When he died in 1974 his son Vince, who had done an engineering apprenticeship at Entaco, an amalgam of the Redditch needle and fishing tackle manufacturers formed in the 1930s, felt he had the skills necessary to carry on his father’s business but decided to concentrate on sporting fishhooks for salmon and trout fly dressing.

Initially the hooks were made by hand but as the pool of skilled fish hook workers steadily dried up, Mr Green decided to automate some of the processes, increasing production, at the same time.

Sprite hooks gained a good reputation over the years for consistent quality and reliability and hook sales steadily increased.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately this came to an end in July when Vince had a stroke.

“He decided at the age of 73 it was time to retire. It was decided not to sell the company to someone else since they would be unlikely to have the necessary skills needed to carry on hook manufacture.

"This has brought to an end fish hook manufacturing in Redditch after more than 200 years.”