Holmfirth Flood (Wildman, arr. Perkin)

"Holmfirth Flood" was published in November 1852 in commemoration of the devastating flood of February that year.

The words are by Abraham Wildman (1803-1870), a now forgotten poet who was born in Keighley and campaigned against the mistreatment of children in mills. In later life, following his wife's death, he was reduced to poverty and would likely have died in misery if not for his friends, who made an appeal for charity. When Sir Titus Salt heard of his plight, he immediately arranged for Wildman to move into one of the Almshouses in Saltaire and be given a weekly allowance.

The original arrangement was by Joe Perkin, best known as the arranger of "Pratty Flowers" (aka "The Holmfirth Anthem"), but the arrangement shown here is by George Wadsworth (c.1854-1919). 


It rushed down the hill when people lay still,
Rolling and roaring like thunder;
It came in its might like a demon at night,
And left the survivors in wonder.
It bore its course a battle field force,
defying what stood in its way;
It recognised none, but travelled along,
Like a giant in fearful array.

It hurried along the weak and the strong,
And crushed all around in its power;
It rushed down the hill, took village and mill,
The garden, the cottage, and bower.
It rolled through the glen, hurried women and men,
Whilst peaceful and happy in slumber;
It wrecked up the dead from their cold, cheerless bed,
And its victims were lost in great number.

It left thousands of sighs beneath the cold skies,
Heart-burnings of trouble and sorrow;
But it never can cope with the Angel of Hope,
In a peaceful and joyful to-morrow.
Alas! there were those who never felt care,
Such slumbers had sealed up their eyes;
Ere morning awoke, all pleasures were broke.
And sorrows made deeper with sighs.

For there rolled the father, and there passed the mother,
Both hurried along in the wave;
And thence shrieked the sister whilst pass’d by the brother,
Engulfed in a watery grave.
The babe at the breast, the mother at rest,
The lovers which parted at night,
No more will they gather from mother or father,
The joys of a home or delight.

They are gone to their doom, alas! a cold home,
Few kindred amongst them were found
To follow the bier, or shed the sad tear
At the grave where afflictions abound.
Come, Charity, lend, for thou art a friend
Which soothes down man’s sorrows and griefs;
Come forth with thy power, for now is the hour
To aid and assist with relief.


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tags:1850-59, 1852, Abraham Wildman (1803-1870), Holmfirth, Holmfirth Flood of 1852, Joe Perkin (1809-1868), Sheet Music
date added:29 December 2016

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