David Astley was born in Newtown, Central Wales, in 1852. He came to Bradford in 1870 and worked at the Black Dyke Mills, Queensbury.
Later he went into business on his own and developed a successful fish and poultry wholesale business based on James Street Wholesale Market in Bradford. Later he developed a similar business in Hull which was managed by his eldest son.
He was for many years involved in charity work and was a Poor Law Commissioner. He stood for election to the council as a Liberal candidate on a number of occasions. He became a Liberal councillor on the Bradford Borough Council in 1921. He died in 1925 aged 73.