Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Feb/1852) - Holmfirth Flood: Opening of the Coroner’s Inquisition on the Bodies

The edition carried a large number of articles relating to the flood, which occurred in the early hours of 5 February 1852. The majority of the articles can be found here:

In general, spellings of places and names have been left as originally printed, even if inaccurate.

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors.


To-day at noon, George Dyson, Esq., the coroner for this division of the county, arrived in Holmfirth, and at once proceeded to the Town Hall, for the purpose of formally opening the inquest on 59 of the bodies up to that time rescued, in order that interment might take place as speedily as possible—a step the more necessary in consequence of the rapid tendency to putrefaction in cases of exposure in water after death. At an earlier hour in the morning the jury commenced their melancholy duty of inspecting the bodies, a task which compelled them to travel over several miles of ground, the bodies being lying in all directions from Holmfirth to Armitage Bridge ; and it was near two o’clock before they had completed this sad office. After some little time permitted them for refreshment, the jury met the coroner in the Town Hall, about half-past three, and answered to their names in the following order ;—

Mr. Godfrey Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge, Foreman.
Mr. Thomas Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
Mr. Thomas Moorhouse, gentleman, Holmfirth.
Mr. Thomas Dyson, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
Mr. James Brooke, manufacturer, Bridge Mill, Holmfirth.
Mr. W. D. Martin, clock and watch maker, Holmfirth.
Mr. Joseph Crawshaw, saddler, Holmfirth.
Mr. Charles Taylor, linen draper, Holmfirth.
Mr. Joshua Moorhouse, shopkeeper, Holmfirth.
Mr. John Burton, schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
Mr. Richard Bower, manufacturer, Holmfirth.
Mr. Joseph Crosland, bookseller, Holmfirth.
Mr. John Wylie, schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
Mr. James Horncastle, gentleman, Holmfirth.
Mr. Thomas Hinchliffe, manufacturer, Upperthong.
Mr. Ralph Carter, manufacturer, Upperthong.
Mr. David Brook, manufacturer, Burnlee.

The Coroner then, in his address to the jury, expressed the sorrow he felt in having to meet them on so’ melancholy an occasion, and where, the confined locality considered, the visitation had been of the most awfully destructive character. He then added that he did not that day propose to go into the evidence, — for in fact, amid such melancholy evidences of destruction around them, no material evidence, bearing on the case, could be collected in so short a time — but he was desirous that the jury should go and inspect the reservoir, that they then adjourn to some future day — that in the meantime the reservoir be properly examined by competent men, and that Government should be communicated with, in order that they might, if they saw fit, send down a competent engineer on their behalf ; to make an inspection and watch the proceedings. This he thought was only fair and just between the public who had so awfully suffered, on the one hand, and the proprietors of these reservoirs on the other, the latter of whom would thus have an opportunity of giving any explanation, and of satisfying their neighbours as to what measures of precaution they had taken in the past ; and that at all events, through this means they might hope to re-assure the inhabitants of this valley that they might rest secure from such awful calamities in the future.

The jury concurred in the view taken by the coroner, and, after some further consultation in which they agreed to inspect the reservoir this afternoon, the inquest was adjourned until half-past ten, a.m. on Wednesday, the 18th of February, when it will be opened for the receipt of evidence bearing upon these most melancholy disasters.

Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Feb/1852) - Holmfirth Flood: Opening of the Coroner’s Inquisition on the Bodies


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This page was last modified on 13 January 2016 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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