Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Mar/1852) - The Holmfirth Catastrophe

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This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project and its content is believed to be in the Public Domain.

The following are the items relating to the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 that appeared in this issue of the newspaper.


The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.

PUBLIC NOTICES.

HOLMFIRTH FLOOD.

PEREMPTORY NOTICE.

All PERSONS who have SUSTAINED any LOSS, by reason of the late Catastrophe, and who have not already sent in the particulars and amount of such Loss, are requested to forward the same, sealed up, to the Office of Mr. Kidd, Solicitor, Holmfirth, on or before Monday next, 15th March inst.

Forms of Schedule for this purpose, may be obtained on application to Mr. Joseph Crosland, Printer, Holmfirth. No Schedule or Claim will be received after the above date.

JOHN BROOKE, J.P.,
Chairman of the United Committees.

Holmfirth, 8th March, 1852.


THE HOLME RESERVOIRS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT.

Much of our space this week is taken up in rejoinders from two of the Commissioners of these Reservoirs, who took no small share in the opposition which has long beset the Commissioners in and out of Parliament, and who feel called upon, as they allege, from the verdict of the jury, our strictures of last week, and the narrative history of this undertaking supplied to us by a correspondent, to speak out in self-defence. Other communications on the same subject have also reached us, which shall have place in our next.

We have not done with the Commissioners their management, or present position ; but having started the discussion we are disposed to withhold our parting word of advice, caution, and counsel, until the facts are struck out somewhat further by our correspondents, and that done we shall pass in review the arguments and facts they adduce, and, if the “history” still remain imperfect a few further facts from our own repertoire shall be forthcoming in order to make this chequered scheme stand in a clear light before the general reader.


HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.

STATE OF THE “RUINS.”

Friday Night.

We have during the present week taken a superficial review of the state of things up the valley of the late disastrous flood. It has occurred to us that a short sketch of things as they are at present would not be out of place, as we are frequently assailed with the question — “How are they coming on at Holmfirth?” Beginning at the disrupted reservoir, and proceeding down the stream, we come first, as most of our readers are aware, to Bilberry Mill. Here, soon after the flood, a considerable number of men were set to work to collect as many of the building stones and other materials as could be found among the rubbish below. Others were employed in clearing away the debris from the foundation of the mill, and making other preparations for its re-erection, which, we are informed, is to be proceeded with as fast as possible. The men employed here have received the stipulated allowance from the committee. A little below this place, and above Upper Digley Mill, belonging to Messrs Shaw and Whiteley, a considerable number of men, employed solely by the committee, have been at work a considerable time in opening the watercourse, which was in this place filled up to the height of several yards with earth and large stones. The great object seems to be to get the water to the last-mentioned mill. As soon as this can be accomplished it will commence working. At Digley Mill but little as yet seems to have been done, beyond the collecting together of a few of some such materials as could be identified. At Bank-end Mill. belonging to the Messrs. Roebuck, nothing had been done on Monday last, beyond collecting together a few of the scattered materials. How soon the repairs will be commenced, or how long it will be before work is resumed there, we have not been able to ascertain.

At the commencement of the present week Holm-bridge Church was in the same condition in which it had been left by the waters. Preparations were, how-ever, being made for the repair of the churchyard, and a temporary wooden bridge has been erected at this place at the expense of the county. Proceeding down-wards, we come to Hinchliffe Mill, where they have almost wholly resumed work, and in this neighbourhood several parties of men are employed in the watercourse. We next come to Bottoms Mill, belonging to Mr. John Harpin, at which they have resumed work ; as also at Victoria Mill, except in the bottom room, and in this they are repairing such machinery as the flood left in a repairable condition. Here, also, they have begun to of which the three cottages which were swept away, two of which will be again inhabited by the families driven out by the waters. Dyson’s Mill has been at work some time, and the work of making up the road between this place and the turnpike is in a rather advanced state.

Below this point several parties of men are employed at the expense of the Relief Committee in clearing out the watercourse. We next come to Farrar’s Upper Mill. The ruins of the extensive dye-house adjoining have been removed, and another building is rising on the former site. In the mill itself a great many of the hands have again resumed employment. The next building was occupied by Richard Woodcock and family and the family of Hellawell, and the re-building of this is nearly completed. Opposite the Lower Mill, belonging to Mr. James H. Farrar, from where a bridge had been swept away, a new arch has been thrown across, and a roadway will soon be open. The Lower Mill itself is still in a very dilapidated condition, but its owner is doing all that he can to get it in order. One of the firm, however, informed us that at the soonest it will yet be six weeks or two months ere it is in working condition. We next come at Upperbridge, which still remains in the state in which it was left by the flood. It separates the townships of Cartworth and Upperthong, and it is the business of the two surveyors to get it repaired. It is on the Greenfield and Shepley-lane-end turnpike road. The Huddersfield and Woodhead turnpike road has suffered rather severely at various places by the burr wall adjoining the water course being injured, but we understand that the road had been delivered up to the Commissioners only the day before the flood occurred, so that the township of Upperthong will be saved considerable expense. Down Hollow-gate a number of men are employed by the township of Cartworth in erecting a wall between the street and the river, on the site of that washed away. A party of men are also at work on the water course at this place. During the present week it has been generally reported that it is contemplated by the owners of the dye-house, barn, and other buildings washed out of Stocks Bottom, to use the materials in building a new row of shops opposite those already situated in Victoria-street. How much reliance is to be placed on this report we are not prepared to say. Victoria-bridge is still in near the same state in which it has been left by the flood, though a temporary wall is now in course of erection. Opposite the White Hart Inn the authorities of Wooldale have taken steps to rebuild the wall, and at Holmfirth Mill they have succeeded in repairing the dam and getting the water to and from the mill. We may, however, say that in a part of the premises the machinery has been for some time running by steam power. They are also clearing away the rubbish from, and collecting the materials to the site of the dye-house near the end of the mill. From Messrs. Roberts’ dye-house, in front of the mill, the rubbish has been removed, but nothing done towards rebuilding it. The end of the Norridge School-room has been rebuilt. At the Wesleyan Chapel, the corner of the vestry has been rebuilt, and the appearance of the grave-yard, which suffered so severely, has been very much improved. We next come at the bridge near the railway station, on which temporary walls have been erected. A great many of the shops have been again opened with new stocks, the owners having disposed of their damaged ones by public auction.

We, however, regret to say that in several instances the tradesmen have transplanted themselves to other localities. Having known the people individually for some years, we have since the catastrophe been painfully impressed with the idea that those who lived within range of the flood, appear one and all to be several years older than they were before, but in some cases this is much more apparent than in others. It would scarcely be possible to find a people of more independent principles, or more persevering habits of industry than the people of the Holme Valley, and nothing would be more repugnant to their nature than under ordinary misfortunes to receive charity from strangers ; yet, such has been the effect of this calamity, that a feeling of thankfulness seems to pervade all breasts for the noble efforts which have been made to assist them in their hour of need.


LOCAL INTELLIGENCE.

REGISTER OF RAIN AT LONGWOOD. — We understand that the quantity of rain registered as having fallen during the month of February last, on the instrument belonging to the Huddersfield Water Works Commissioners, at their reservoir, at Longwood was 4.99., or nearly five inches.

THE CHORAL SOCIETY AND THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS. — We observe with great pleasure that the members of the Choral Society will perform the Messiah, on Friday night next, the proceeds to be devoted to the fund in behalf of the Holmfirth sufferers. Mrs. Sunderland gives her services for the occasion. The performance will take place in the Philosophical-hall, and we doubt not the public will appreciate the charitable intentions of the members of this society, by honouring them with a full house.


THE HOLME RESERVOIRS.

THE HOLME RESERVOIR COMMISSIONERS AND THEIR MANAGEMENT.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE.

Sir
A duty I owe to myself as a Commissioner of the Holme Reservoirs, and in justification of the steps taken by the firm with which I am connected, in opposition to the Commissioners’ application to parliament, compel me very reluctantly to offer a few observations to the public through the medium of the press. It is almost unnecessary for me to say how deeply sensible I feel the extent of the suffering caused in the valley of the Holme, by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, and I trust I have not been unwilling to assist, to the best of my ability, in alleviating such suffering. Still, Sir, I feel that after the verdict of the jury, and the severe strictures passed on the Commissioners by the leading national and local journal of the day, the strong feeling which naturally pervades the public mind, and the further “statement” in your paper of Saturday last, from the pen of a gentleman whose knowledge of these transactions throughout, you say is extensive and complete, &c., I feel that I should stand compromised, after the fair offer you make of your columns, if I did not at once defend the course I have taken throughout these harrassing and unsatisfactory disputes.
With the origin of the scheme, with the application for the act, with the construction of the reservoirs in question, I will state in the outset I had nothing whatever to do. I took no part, had no interest, direct or indirect, and therefore it is not my province to praise or blame, nor shall I say anything as to the expenditure or management of the commission in its earliest stages, but leave it to those gentlemen who were the original promoters of the scheme and who had the management throughout, to defend themselves as they best can.
I never have and never can sanction the steps taken by several of the millowners on the stream to thwart the levying and collection of the rates authorised to be levied under the act. I have always said to them “If you are aggrieved you have your redress in the arbitration clause of the act,” and had the Commissioners felt called on to make application for further powers, simplifying and enabling them the better to collect the rates which the act empowered them to lay! we should never have taken a step in opposition ; but so far from that being the case I leave the public to judge from what follows.
In 1845 we took on lease from the owners of the Lockwood Estate a mill and waterfall called “Lockwood Mill.” We were aware at the time of contract that an act of parliament had been obtained by which certain rates could come against such waterfall the maximum of which rate might be 90s. per foot of fall.
We were at the same time aware that the act provided that in no case in any one year should the Commissioners levy more than ninety shillings per foot of fall ; and also, that the mills on the stream were to be rated according to the relative benefit derived by each mill from the water flowing from such reservoirs. Consequently we had data to go on in making our bargain with the owners of the Lockwood estate. I wish you and the public clearly to understand that the “benefit clause” enables the assessor to charge the mills on the top of the stream, who derive the principal benefit from those reservoirs — (for without them in the summer season, the owner could not run his mill at all, and, consequently, his property would be worthless) the maximum rate, and so on proportionately less according to the lesser benefit derived by the mills lower down the stream ; for let it be understood that when we get down the stream as far as Lockwood it would be as well if not better for us that the stream should be allowed to have its natural course rather than be pent up in these reservoirs at the top.
The Commissioners, however, in their application for an amended act actually abolished the clause limiting the maximum at 90s., and left themselves an unlimited margin — even to go to 500s. per foot, if requisite, to enable them to pay all interest on all moneys they either had borrowed or might borrow, but what was the worst part of this business they wanted to erase the “benefit clause,” so that the millowners at the foot of the stream like ourselves (except those below us who got clauses originally, which were not to be disturbed or very little) were to pay the same per foot as those at the top — next the reservoirs — with this additional consideration that those below the junction had to pay the rate levied on all the three streams — whereas those on any one of the “forks” had only the rate leviable on such fork to pay — notwithstanding that they derived a far greater benefit from the making of a reservoir than those below on the main stream. Had the millowners on the lower part of the stream allowed the Commissioners to obtain the powers sought it would have been tantamount to a wholesale confiscation of their mill property.
Finding that we had taken our mills on the faith of an Act of Parliament, which guaranteed to us that the water rate should never be more than 90s. per foot, I ask if we, being no parties to the formation of the reservoirs ; being no parties to the borrowing and expending of this money, were not justified in opposing the obtaining of such additional powers by the Commissioners? But, sir, before we took that stop what did we individually do? We proposed to enter into an agreement with the Commissioners, binding ourselves and our property to pay annually the full maximum rate, although by the proper application of the “benefit clause,” we ought not to have paid one half ; for the benefit we receive is nominal if any at all. However, our offer was rejected, and we had no alternative but for the first time to be in opposition and open conflict with the Commissioners ; and now, let us see how far your informant is correct. I was one of the oppositionists in London, but so far from asking the promoters to withdraw their bill, we went to them on the morning of the day we went into committee and made this, what I think and what the public will think, more than fair offer to them, viz., to withdraw all opposition, to allow them to get their bill, giving the Commissioners power to levy rates to pay five per cent on all money borrowed, and on such further sums as would be required to completely finish the Bilberry Reservoir, and to pay all just and honest claims against them, provided that such rate should be levied on the various mills according to the respective benefits derived, such respective benefits to be ascertained by arbitrators appointed by the promoters, and by the opponents to the then application, and the two to appoint a third to decide ; and further, that all expenditure of promoters and opponents should be paid out of such funds thus raised. Could anything be fairer or more reasonable than this proposition coming from parties conscious of the justice of their opposition? Indeed, so reasonable did our proposition appear to some of our opponents whose minds were not warped by prejudice or self-interest, — that one of the gentlemen present on behalf of the promoters when the proposition was made, said — “Well, gentleman, I never heard any proposal more just and fair than this appears to me to be, and I say we ought at once to agree to it.” But unfortunately he was fettered in action, and out-voted by such gentlemen as Mr. David Hinchliff, Mr. Littlewood, and others, who thought they saw in our proposition the white feather, and the ultimate answer we received was, “You can withdraw your opposition if you like, but you shall pay for your lolly in coming to oppose us here.” We had then no alternative but to meet the promoters in the committee-room, and I shall never forget the rueful countenances of these gentlemen when Mr. Parker, the member for Sheffield, after counsel had opened their case, told them that in his opinion parliament could not interfere, — that whilst the act they had gave them power to levy certain rates, it at the same time was a guarantee to the mill-owners that the rates should not exceed the sum named. However, ultimately Mr. Green, the general chairman of committees, was appealed to, and he confirmed Mr. Parker’s views. The chairman then told the promoters that the committee would give them time to try and arrange with their opponents, and intimated at the same time that it they did not agree they had no occasion sion to come before the committee again, which was virtually throwing out their bill — that was the light in which it was viewed both by promoters and opponents — and I say we should have been justified, after the proposals we made had been so contumaciously and insolently rejected, if we had refused to listen to any terms ; but what was the fact? Notwithstanding the treatment we had received at the hands of the promoters, we told them we would assist them if they would act honestly, and prepare a bill for the following session, in which the “benefit clause” should be left intact. Such was the basis of the agreement entered into between the promoters and the opponents — they went before the committee to withdraw their bill. Thus ended the first parliamentary contest, and I leave the public to judge on whose heads rests the defeat of that application to parliament. Messrs. Littlewood, David Hinchliff, and a few others were the men, and let the country know it. The expenses of the opponents were over £600 ; what if cost the Commissioners I never knew.
But how happens it, you will ask, that the above avengement was not earned out? I will tell you. It did not suit some of the Commissioners : they knew that an extended maximum rate, with the benefit clause in force, meant that those at the top of the stream who derived the benefit, would have had to pay their fair proportion of ratal. Against a fair proportion of ratal their grasping selfish nature rebelled, and the public will scarcely believe it, that the next thing we heard about it was that the Commissioners had given the requisite notice without even having consulted the late opposition about their intended application to parliament. The Commissioners themselves defeated this attempt ; but another year passed on, and the mortgagees determined to apply, the Commissioners remaining neutral.
We have always felt and still feel for the poor mortgagees who were induced, in many cases, to embark their whole in these undertakings. We again offered to treat but with the same result as before. They admitted the justice of our individual claim, but refused us redress. The result was the bill was ultimately thrown out. We, individually, had to pay costs of £400 to £500, other opponents about £1500. The mortgagees never told us what they had to pay, but it must have been an enormous sum.
Such are the facts connected with this unfortunate affair. I leave the public to judge who were the parties to blame. I think I have shewn that, as millowners, we had no alternative but either to submit to an unjust embargo and weight being laid on our property, or to take the steps we did in self-defence.
I do not envy the feelings of those men whose wrongheadedness prevented these arrangements being brought about. I leave them to just public indignation and condemnation. I felt that I had a duty to myself to perform, and I have endeavoured to discharge it fearlessly. To the veracity of the above statements I have many living testimonies.
The jury have, however, brought in a very sweeping verdict, one which I look upon as manslaughter morally against every Commissioner, and as I do not wish to be considered in that light, I feel called on, and justified in saying a little on that subject.
It was stated in evidence that at a meeting of the Commissioners it was resolved that the water in the Holme-styes reservoir should not be allowed at any time to accumulate to a greater depth than forty feet. We had the assurance of a competent engineer that the reservoir was safe at that depth. The order was communicated to the “drawer” of that reservoir, and the resolutions were also passed ordering the waste-pit or bye-wash of Bilberry reservoir to be lowered to the height of 18 feet. This latter order was placed in the hands of Mr. Joshua Littlewood, to see that it was properly executed. He engaged, as he states before the inquest, Messrs. Thorpe, but being threatened by force if he persisted, he neither carried out the order of the Commissioners nor reported to them that he had neglected to do so, or why. Now, I state as a Commissioner, that I was not aware on the morning of the awful calamity, but that the order for lowering the waste-pit had been carried out ; and I am sure a great number of the Commissioners were as ignorant as myself. It was not the business of the Commissioners to go personally and see that their orders were carried out, I charge the blame on the officials, by whose culpable neglect of duty a prosperous valley has been desolated, and an amount of human life sacrificed which is truly appalling to contemplate. These are the men who ought to have been subjected to the verdict of the jury, and not men who were as innocent of sacrificing the lives of the inhabitants of the valley of the Holme as the jury themselves.
So much for the Bilberry — now with regard to the Holm-Styes Reservoir. How have the orders of the committee been carried out there? How? Why, it is incredible ; but the truth must be told. Instead of keeping it at forty feet on the morning after the sad event at Bilberry, the parties in charge of the Holm-Styes actually had the temerity, the fool-hardiness, to allow it to stand at fifty-seven feet. The bye-wash had been walled up with puddle and stones, as if determined to burst the reservoir under any circumstances. Such men are not fit for places of trust and responsibility ; and if the jury could have brought in a verdict that would have subjected them to the severest punishment ; the public safety fully demanded it.
I am sorry to trouble you and the public with this long letter, but I felt in honour bound to clear myself, even if in doing so I was forced to inculpate others.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully,
THOMAS PEARSON CROSLAND.
Crosland Moor, March 8, 1852.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE.

Thongsbridge, March 11th, 1852.
Sir,
As the verdict of the jury which sat to enquire into the cause of the lamentable loss of life at Holmfirth seems to condemn the whole body of Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs, I think it right to state that myself and several other gentlemen who became Commissioners since the whole expenditure was incurred upon this most unfortunate scheme, have always urged (whenever the state of Bilberry or Holm-styes Reservoirs has been brought before us) the necessity of keeping them empty until they could be made perfectly safe. An opening in the waste-pit of Bilberry Reservoir has been ordered to be made since I became a Commissioner in 1848, and I am satisfied had we had as clerk a non-professional man, who would have personally seen that the orders of the Commissioners were duly attended to, this catastrophe would in all probability have been avoided. As to the trifling expense to be incurred for this purpose, it is ridiculous to mention it, when the Commissioners have an annual income of £1,200 per annum.
I am bound to state that the clerk, of late years, has attended to nothing but promoting bills in parliament and making and collecting rates, which have been made at all sums, and in all shapes, in fact, —
“To one thing constant never.”
When the opposing mill-occupiers, at a large expense both to the Commissioners and themselves, had succeeded in obtaining a decision as to the principle and amount of the rates to be levied, one would have thought this would have settled the matter and put a stop to litigation. No such thing. Parliament must be appealed to ; and when parliament would not interfere, Mr. Jacomb immediately decided to increase the rates £400 per annum. By conduct like this he has succeeded in keeping the Commissioners in constant litigation, and thus brought “grist” to his own mill.
It is the duty of the drawing committee to attend especially to the reservoirs ; but had the conduct of those who have lately had the management shown a criminal neglect and a trifling with the lives of individuals, they could easily have screened themselves from the legal consequences by the fact that their term of office had run out and they had not been re-appointed.
I can only account for Mr. Jacomb’s want of attention to this matter from the fact that this committee is to be appointed at the annual meeting, when the accounts are produced and audited, and as Mr. Jacomb has not thought proper to produce these accounts for two years, neither has he thought proper to call a meeting to appoint a drawing committee.
As Mr. Jacomb has latterly, in my opinion, virtually assumed both the duty of the Commissioners and the office of treasurer, it is high time that he should be relieved from the burthens of office, if either the reservoirs that are left are to be repaired or the mortgagees to receive any interest.
As some parties may say that I have now only exposed this mis-management in consequence of the catastrophe, and that I could not before see the necessity of a non-professional man as clerk to carry out the orders of the Commissioners, I feel I am bound to send you for publication the following letter which I addressed to the gentleman who usually acted as chairman before this sad event happened.
I am, Sir, yours very respectfully,
GEORGE ROBINSON.

Thongsbridge, January 29th, 1852.
Dear Sir,
I had intended to have waited upon you on Tuesday, to have informed you that I had settled the matter in dispute between the Holme Reservoir Commissioners and ourselves on the basis of our last conversation, and therefore there can be no reason why Mr. Jacomb should not at once lay the financial statement before us, as this has been now delayed for two years, in direct contravention to the provisions of the act The reason why I more especially trouble you with this letter is that myself and several other Commissioners have long felt that it would be to the interest of all parties if a non-professional gentleman was substituted as clerk, in the place of Mr. Jacomb. I say this without any disrespect to him, having a high opinion of his industry and talent, but simply because the concern has long been involved in difficulties, and is likely to be so for some time to come, and of all parties I consider a legal gentleman is the least likely to extricate it, since legal proceedings are his peculiar province, and he would naturally be the least likely to steer clear of circumstances which involve legal difficulties and consequent interminable expense. I am satisfied that an expenditure of £50 per annum would amply remunerate a nonprofessional man, who would also collect the rates, and although he might not bring the same legal acumen to bear upon questions pending, he might bring his share of common sense and thus tend to keep us out of law. The great body of the Commissioners at Holmfirth have been astonished for some time that yourself and Mr. John Brooke and others, who are pecuniarily interested, should not have looked into this matter, and proposed a remedy, and I can assure you that we should have moved long ago, but whenever I have mentioned it to the gentlemen with whom I usually act they always replied—”Mr. Jacomb is a protégé of their own. They appointed him. It is their money that is at stake, and if they are satisfied to see it thrown year after year into the bottomless pit of the law, why should we incur the odium of resisting it?” I know it is very easy for some parties to retort and say I have had my share in causing it, but they forgot that I was only protecting my father’s property from a grievous tax, and that my opinions have always been confirmed by every legal and parliamentary decision that has yet been given. I have never yet attempted anything that was untenable, and have, whether I have the credit for it or no, refrained from exposing the defects of the act, when I knew I could have done so. Since Mr. Jacomb’s appointment nearly £7000 has been collected in rates. Still no interest paid, nor has much of the debt of the company been liquidated. The application to parliament in 1846 could not have cost much, as the bill was only two days before committee, and the expense in 1847 rested entirely with Mr. Jacomb, when the Commissioners protested against it, and he even then intimated he would consider whether he should act for the Commissioners or the mortgagees. The pretended opposition by Mr. Jacomb, in 1849, had no other result but a considerable lawyer’s bill, and as to the rates, the action to try the validity was in Mr. Floyd’s term of office, and therefore he ought not to have expended much upon this head except the payments for the awards. I am aware up to the close of 1849, the accounts have been audited, but what did the auditors do? Merely look over his bills and accounts, and see that they were arithmetically correct. There has been no attempt to reduce these bills. Since then £2400 has been received, and the other day I called and found not a shilling accounted for in the cash books. Is Mr. Jacomb to appropriate this as he thinks proper, and thus assume the functions of both clerk, treasurer, and commissioners? I hope, Sir, as chairman, you will give him to understand that the Commissioners intend to appropriate their own money themselves, and if you have any misgivings as to the notice which Mr. Jacomb will give for this meeting not being sufficiently ample as to justify either myself or any other gentleman from proposing that he be relieved of the burthens of office, and some one else appointed, you will take care that the notice is amplified. I would much rather that yourself, or Mr. John Brooke would take this matter in hand, than that other parties, who have infinitely less influence, should be compelled to do so. The interest of the body corporate require now decided measures, and though the malady under which it suffers has almost extinguished all vitality, yet, by decided treatment, I believe it is possible to restore a part from the jaws of the law, and thus, at the eleventh hour do what we can for the mortgagees. As a millowner, it matters little to me what becomes of the money ; it would not alter the amount or legality of the rate a shilling ; but, as Commissioners, we are in trust for our creditors, and amongst all the numerous misappropriated and inefficient trusts in our country, I will challenge the Holme Reservoir Commissioners for such an exhibition of apparent imbecility and incapacity to control and manage their officers .
It is not too late, Sir, if you will lend the cause your enlightened judgment and business tact.
I am, yours, very respectfully,
GEO. ROBINSON.
Joseph Brook, Esq.

HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.

CAUTION TO THE BENEVOLENT.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE.

Sir.
The occurrence of any local disaster is notoriously a staple material of begging imposture, and I regret to find that the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir has not proved an exception to the truth of this remark. The noble manifestation of Christian munificence which that calamity has produced, has abundantly supplied the means, and the effective organisation of the committee on whom that duty devolves, guarantees the machinery for providing substantial relief for every case of destitution in the locality, notwithstanding this, it has come to my knowledge that a local band of music, not a member of which, as far as I am aware, has suffered by that calamity, has been lately traversing the neighbouring towns and villages, using the plea of personal suffering by the flood as their appeal to the charity of the public — and that as I am informed, with considerable success.
Under these circumstances I feel it my duty, through the medium of your journal, to caution the public against this unwarrantable and degrading system of mendicancy, arising out of the catastrophe at Holmfirth. Under whatever form it may present itself, its real character will be found to be fraud and imposture.
I am, Sir, your faithful servant,
J. Fearon.
Holme Bridge, March 5th, 1852.

[This letter was unavoidably omitted last week.]


DISTRICT NEWS.

HOLMFIRTH.

SERMON FOR THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS AT MARPLE. — On Sunday the 29tli ultimo, a sermon was preached in the above church, on behalf of the sufferers by the recent calamity in the valley of the Holme, when the rem of £17 16s. was collected.

DISTRIBUTION OF THE REWARD FOR THE DISCOVERY OF THE BODY OF MR. SANDFORD. — It will be in the recollection of our readers that a reward of £10 and subsequently of £100 was offered by the surviving relatives for the discovery of the body of Mr. Jonathan Sandford, of Dyson’s mill. The body was discovered on the 20th of February, in the stream near the tail-goit of Messrs. Robinson’s mill, at Thongsbridge, and as several parties put in their claims for the whole or portions of the reward, and being unable amongst themselves to agree as to the division of the money, it was ultimately agreed to leave the matter to the equitable decision of C. S. Floyd, Esq., solicitor, all the parties signing a memorendum to that effect — the fathers of the two boys, William Broadhead and Joseph Earnshaw also giving their consent to this arrangement. On Saturday evening last, Mr. Floyd accordingly met the whole of the parties, and after hearing their several statements, be apportioned the reward as follows :— William Broadhead, £50 ; John Crosland, £22 ; Hiram Earnshaw, £22 ; Joseph Earnshaw, £5, (the amount to be placed in the Savings’ Bank for his benefit) ; and Abel Goldthorp, £1. It gives us great pleasure to be enabled to state that the above mode of distribution gave general satisfaction to the whole of the claimants present on the occasion. It is needless to add that the money was immediately paid over to the respective parties named.

SADDLEWORTH.

HOLMFIRTH CALAMITY. — On the afternoon of Sunday let the Rev. William Simpson preached a very impressive sermon, in Holy Trinity Church, Dobcross, on behalf of the Holmfirth relief fund. The attendance was very good, and at the close of the service a collection amounting to the handsome 6um of £15 15s. was made in aid of the sufferers.