Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Feb/1852) - The Lamentable Catastrophe and Fearful Loss of Life at Holmfirth

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

The edition carried a large number of articles relating to the flood, which occurred in the early hours of 5 February 1852. The other sections from this edition are:

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.



In order that our general readers may have before them as continuous an account as possible of the events, facts, and incidents arising out of the melancholy catastrophe in the valley of the Holme, we this week republish those portions of information which appeared in the several late editions of this journal published last week, thus tracing down the current of events from the commencement until the hour of publication in one continuous chain, and thereby enabling our readers, and specially those at a distance, to realise something like a faint idea — for faint, indeed, it must necessarily be — of the excitement, anguish of mind, and general gloom which have shone forth in the habitations and hearts of the sufferers from day to day. We are impelled to adopt this course because in our late editions of last week we found it quite impossible to fully meet the immense demand for copies of this journal, though our circulation was almost beyond precedent in the annals of provincial journalism. We commence, then, by the following revised information which appeared in our last Saturday’s impression, in the second and subsequent editions :—


Holmfirth, Saturday, 4 p.m.

About eleven o’clock this morning the body of the second daughter of Mr. Jonathan Sandford, was found at the Dam Head, and was conveyed to the White Hart Inn, where it was identified. In the reservoir of Bottom’s Mill, the bodies of two children have been recovered, and identified as those of Charles Crosland, aged 13, and of Sarah Hannah Dodd, 1½ years, both from Water-street, Hinchliffe Mill. In removing the ruins of Water-street, to-day, the excavators discovered, about two in the afternoon, the body of Nancy Marsden, one of the residents of Water-street. In addition to the list of lives lost from Hinchliffe Mill, given above, we have since learnt that there are two others, whose names we had not then ascertained, consisting of the wife (Lydia) and child of Joseph Brook, of Water-street. This gives a total of 40 deaths here, which we believe is an accurate return. The street, we are informed, contained eleven houses, and not six, as previously stated ; six of which are destroyed. Workmen are busily employed in every direction, removing the ruins, and further discoveries of bodies are anticipated.

Yesterday afternoon the following placard was issued by magistrates:—

To the Benevolent and Humanely Disposed.
The magistrates in petty sessions assembled, hope that parties from a distance will leave subscriptions at the railway stations, the bank, Mr. Crosland’s, stationer, and with the authorised collectors, towards affording immediate relief to those unfortunate individuals who are deprived of house and home by the sad and distressing calamity which has befallen this district.
(Signed) Joseph Charlesworth,
William Leigh Brook,
Joshua Mookhouse,
Magistrates acting at Holmfirth.

Friday Noon.

In accordance with this notice, a large number of the inhabitants have been appointed as collectors, and taken up positions in the different thoroughfares to solicit subscriptions from the passengers. A ladies’ and gentlemen’s committee, for the purpose of distributing clothing to the sufferers, was formed this morning, and consists of Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., John Farrar, Esq., Joshua Charles worth, Esq., James Charlesworth, Esq., George Hinchliffe, Esq., Mrs. Joshua Charlesworth, Mrs Leach, Mrs. H. Booth, Mrs. Boothroyd, Mrs. and Miss Gartside, Mrs George Hinchliffe and Miss L. Hinchliffe, and Miss Stephenson. The committee met at two o’clock this afternoon, and have since been engaged in the distribution of clothing and relief. A notice was also issued this morning, announcing that the relieving officer would sit at the Town-hall, during the day, to relieve the destitute ; and that officer, together with the guardians of the graveship, have been in attendance, to carry out that object.

The magistrates were to meet during the afternoon, and a public meeting is announced to be held at seven o’clock, at the Crown Hotel, to take measures for raising a general subscription. Such portions of the goods as were conveyed to the Town-hall have been laying there for identification and removal during the day, and the following notice has also been issued.

Holmfirth Flood.
Public Notice.
All persons finding any deeds, books, moneys, papers, and other portable valuable property, are hereby requested to deliver or forward the same immediately to Mr. Martin Kidd, magistrates’ clerk, Town-hall, Holmfirth, for safe custody ; and it is particularly requested that deeds or writings may not be washed, nor parchment dried by the fire.
By order,
Joseph Charlesworth,
William Leigh Brook,
Joshua Moorhouse,
Magistrates acting at Holmfirth.

The number of visitors present to-day has not been so large as was anticipated, which is probably owing to the unpleasant state of the weather. It is reported that special trains have been engaged to leave Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, and other towns to-morrow, and large crowds are expected throughout the day. With a view to preserve order, the officers of the Huddersfield troop of yeomanry cavalry kindly offered to muster, but the magistrates respectfully declined the offer, thinking that it would par take too much of a desire for mere display. Every man will be expected to do his utmost to prevent confusion, and we trust this expectation will not be disappointed.

CHRONICLE OFFICE, Saturday, 11 40 p.m.



An important and influential meeting of gentlemen connected with Huddersfield and its vicinity was held this afternoon, in the Commissioners’ large room, South Parade, for the purpose of devising measures for the alleviation of the sufferings caused by the disastrous calamity in Holmfirth and its neighbourhood. The meeting was convened by circular, sent out by Thomas Mallinson, Esq., our active Chief Constable ; and the response in attendance and result was everything that could have been desired. Among those present were John Sutcliffe, Esq. ; John Brooke, Esq. ; William Willans, Esq. ; F. Schwann, Esq. ; J. T. Armitage, Esq. ; the Vicar of Huddersfield ; Rev. N. Maning, Rev. J. Glendenning, Rev. R. Skinner, Rev. James Carr, Rev. John McOwan : Messrs. J. W. and H. Shaw, Mr. Wright Mellor, Mr. J. C. Laycock, Mr. J. Freeman, Mr. J. Beaumont, sen. and jun., Mr. William Moore, Mr. Edmund Eastwood, Mr. William Mallinson, Mr. Alexander Hathorn, Mr. Thomas Brook, Mr. Thomas Firth, jun., and Mr. Isaac Robson. John Brooke, Esq., of Armitage-bridge, having been called to occupy the chair, opened the business by expressing his deep sympathy with the sufferers by the awful calamity which had occasioned the meeting. Indeed, the scenes he had witnessed, and the sense he had of the deep and wide-spread suffering caused by the disastrous occurrence, affected him so deeply that he hardly hoped to be able to conduct the business of the meeting. He trusted, however, that the result of their endeavours would be to alleviate in some degree the large amount of distress and destitution all must he conscious existed.

A most interesting conversation ensued as to the extent of the relief winch the promoters of the contemplated subscription should aim at — whether it should be confined to the immediate relief of the actually destitute, or that it should take a wider range, and aid the bereft tradesman to regain, in some degree, his lost position. The general sense of the meeting was, that the aid to be afforded should not be confined to the mere supplying of food, raiment, and other necessaries to the actually destitute, but that a general appeal should be made to a generous public, and the means thus raised be disbursed by a committee, upon those whose claims upon the sympathy at the benevolent were considered to call for relief. The following resolution was adopted as the basis of the movement for what is intended to be a national appeal:—

That this meeting deeply deplores the awful calamity caused by the bursting of one of the Holme Reservoirs ; and that with a view of alleviating the sufferings occasioned by such disaster this meeting desires to promote a public subscription.

Upon the suggestion of F. Schwann, Esq., the subscription was opened in the room, and amongst the subscriptions announced were the following:— Messrs. John Brooke and Sons, Armitage-bridge, £500 ; Fred. Schwann, Esq. £200 ; W. Willans, Esq., £100 ; George Mallinson and Sons, £100 ; Joseph Beaumont, Esq., £50 ; and many other sums, amounting in the aggregate to between £1400 and £1500.

In addition to this, it was also resolved that a public meeting of the inhabitants should be convened for Monday evening next, at seven o’clock, in the Philosophical Hall, to take such steps as the urgency and magnitude of the case call for, and for the appointment of a committee to thoroughly canvass the town and district for contributions. A preliminary committee was appointed to arrange for such public meeting, and after a vote of thanks to the Chairman, the meeting separated.


Holmfirth, Sunday Night.

A private meeting of the magistrates has been held this afternoon at Mr. Lawton’s, for the purpose of authorising an official notice to Sir George Grey, Home Secretary, and for the transaction of such other business as required immediate attention. There were present Joseph Moorhouse, Esq., W. L. Brook, Esq., Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., and Mr. Kidd, magistrates’ clerk. In accordance with previous arrangement, W. L. Brook, Esq. laid before his brother magistrates a letter addressed to Sir George Grey, Home Secretary, briefly detailing the principal facts connected with this melancholy occurrence, and referring the Home Secretary for more minute particulars to the third edition of the Chronicle. The document having been read over, was immediately dispatched to Sir George Grey, together with a copy of the third edition of the Chronicle of Saturday last. The next subject entertained was the recovery and disposal of missing property, and after a short consultation, a notice was ordered to be issued early on the following morning, calling upon all persons in the possession of property which might have been recovered from the ruins caused by the late flood, and of which they are themselves not the owners, to take such property to the Town-hall, under pain of prosecution in default, and further announcing that the Town-hall will remain open from nine in the morning to five in the evening, to allow of the identification of the property at present lying there by its respective owners. It was also arranged during the meeting that Mr. Sidney Morehouse and Mr. Firth, surveyors, should proceed on Monday morning to a personal investigation of the damage sustained between the Bilberry Reservoir and Smithy-place, and to report such estimate as they were enabled to form to a future meeting of the committee to be held to-morrow (Monday). On such report being laid before the committee, W. L. Brook, Esq., Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., and Mr. Kidd will proceed to Huddersfield to attend a preliminary meeting of the Huddersfield committee, before whom the information thus collected will be laid. The deputation will also be accompanied, if possible, by Joshua Charlesworth, Esq. It will thus be seen that the magistrates for the district continue to engage themselves with a most praiseworthy energy and activity in the promotion of all available measures of relief and of propriety in connection with this melancholy affair.

During the past night there has been a heavy fall of rain, by which the stream was much increased. In consequence of the freshet of water, the abutments of Victoria Bridge gave way this morning, and sunk about five inches. Immediately precautions were taken, and all further traffic over it prohibited. The rain has continued with but short intercessions during the day, and the river has been much swollen, being about a yard higher than yesterday, a circumstance which has excited considerable alarm, in conjunction with a rumour that the Holme-sties reservoir was giving way. We are authorised to observe that such rumour is wholly groundless, and that no fear whatever need be entertained on this head, as the water in the Holme-sties reservoir has been reduced so low to remove all anxiety as to the recurrence of a similar catastrophe.

As anticipated the influx of visitors has been enormous, in spite of the almost incessant torrents of rain which have continued to fall throughout the day. Every train, from an early hour this morning, brought large numbers from all the large towns in the district, including Sheffield, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Rochdale, and Manchester, but we are happy to hear that nothing occurred to call for the interference of the authorities. In accordance with the arrangement of the authorities Mr. Superintendent Heaton, with the whole of the constabulary of the district, Mr. Superintendent Thomas, with a staff of eighteen of the Huddersfield borough police, and Mr. Superintendent Spiers, of the Halifax district constabulary, assisted by the special constables, were in attendance to preserve order, and through their efficient arrangements prevented the recurrence of anything of an unpleasant nature.

About four o’clock on Saturday evening the body of Mrs. S. Greenwood, the wife of Mr. Greenwood, the keeper of the Hollogate toll, was found in the shop of Mr. Joel Haigh, draper, Hollogate, on the opposite side of the stream. No bodies have been recovered to-day, nor is there any information as to the missing of others, in addition to those already mentioned. The following amended list of bodies recovered has been furnished to us to-night, and may be relied upon as correct.


New Inn, Hinchliffe Mill. — James Booth, 60, Nancy Booth, his wife, 44, William Heely, 45, Betty and Hannah Brook (two women), ages unknown, Elizabeth Dodd, 7, Sarah Hannah Dodd, 17 months, a child named Martha Hinchliffe, Nancy Marsden, 53, and Charles Crosland — Total 10.

George Inn, Holmfirth. — Jonathan Crosland, 39, and his son Joshua Crosland, 21, Mary Hellawell, 28, George, 9, Sarah, 6, Elizabeth, 4, John, 2, and Ann, 10 months, and Hannah Dodd, 30. — Total, 9.

Elephant and Castle Inn, Holmfirth. — James Lee, 65, Joseph Marsden[1], 14, William Exley, 26, Eliza Matthews, of Shepley, and servant of Mr. Greenwood at the tollgate, 12, and Lydia Greenwood, 45. — Total, 5.

White Hart Inn, Holmfirth. — Hannah Crosland, 19, Ellen Wood (Mr. Sandford’s housekeeper), 22, James Charlesworth, 14, Alfred Woodcock, 17, Emily Sandford, and a female unknown. — Total, 6

Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Holmfirth. — Emily Fearns, 30, Joshua Charlesworth, 16, and a boy unknown, about 11. — Total, 3.

Rose and Crown Inn, Holmfirth. — Eliza Marsden, 48. — Total, 1.

King's Head Inn, Holmfirth. — Abel Earnshaw, 3. — Total, 1.

Waggon and Horses Inn, Holmfirth. — James Metterick[2], 1, and a female unknown, about 4. — Total, 2.

Crown Hotel, Holmfirth. — Sidney Hartley, and his son George, 10 weeks, Charles Earnshaw, 25, John Ashall (Mr. Crawshaw’s the currier’s man), 32, and his wife, 30, Sarah Jane Sandford, 9, and Martha Crosland, 17. — Total, 7.

Rose and Crown Inn, Thongsbridge. — Hannah Bailey, 40, and an infant supposed to be hers, a few days old.[3] [We may mention here, as rumours have obtained currency, as to the unfortunate sufferer being drowned whilst in the pains of labour, that if this is her child, it bears evidence of not only having been born, but dressed, and is to all appearance of the age stated.] Ann Shackleton[4], 2. — Total, 3.

Royal Oak Inn, Thongsbridge. — Joshua Earnshaw, 70, Tamor Shackleton, 33, and her son James, 1, Elizabeth Hartley, 5, and a little girl unknown, about 3. — Total, 5.

Rock Inn, Smithy Place. — William Metterick, 38, and a daughter of Matthew Fearns, 6 months. — Total, 2.

Travellers Inn, Honley. — Mary Ann Hartley, 39, James Hartley, 3, John Metterick[5], 3, and a boy unknown about 4. — Total 4.

Jacob's Well Inn, Honley. — Martha Hartley, 16, Charles Thorpe, 14, Betty Heeley, 7, and a boy unknown, about 6. — Total, 4.

Golden Fleece Inn, Armitage Bridge. — A little girl identified by Abraham Bailey, as his daughter, and a little boy unknown. — Total, 2. The little girl was first stated to be one of Metterick’s daughters, but was afterwards sworn to as one of Hartley’s, and the inquest was opened upon it as such. Since that time it has been claimed by Abraham Bailey, as his child and was interred by him to-day.

Oddfellows Arms, Big Valley. — Rose Charlesworth, 40. — Total, 1.

The above list gives a total of 65 bodies found, and it will be seen that some yet require identification. Amongst those still missing are Jonathan Sandford, Jas. Metterick, Richard Shackleton, and his daughter Grace, Ashall’s child, and S. Greenwood.


To-day (Sunday) the friends and relatives of a large number of the victims of Thursday morning’s calamity, performed the last sad duty of following the bodies to their resting place ; and such was the interest felt in the proceedings that though the rain poured down in torrents, and the wind beat boisterously, yet large crowds assembled at each place to witness the ceremony. The following is a list of the interments at the various places of worship down the Valley, beginning with Holmbridge Church :—

Holmbridge Church. — It had been arranged that ten bodies should be interred here, and with that view the friends and relatives had them conveyed to this place. Owing, however, to the inclemency of the weather the ceremony of interment, and the usual service for the burial of the dead was deferred till Monday, the bodies being merely conveyed to the church, where they were lodged. The following are the names of those now lying in the church, viz.:— Joshua Crosland, Charles Crosland, Jonathan Crosland, Joshua Crosland, (the younger,) Hannah Crosland, Mary Crosland, and Charles Crosland, all of one family. One child unknown ; William Heeley, and Rose Charlesworth.

Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Chapel. — At this place there were nine bodies interred, and two deposited in the chapel, the ceremony over them being deferred till tomorrow. The following are their names ;— Eliza Marsden, Nancy Marsden, Joshua Marsden, William Exley, Jane Mettrick, William Mettrick, Joe Mettrick (all of one family), Abel Earnshaw, Elizabeth Dodd, Sarah Ann Dodd, and Hannah Dodd (all of one family). The interment of the two Miss Marsdens is deferred till Monday.

Upperthong Church. — At this place there were twelve bodies interred in four graves. In the first were John and Nancy Ashall ; in the second, James Lee ; in the third, Milly, wife of Matthew Fearnes, and two children ; and in the last, Mrs. Hellawell and five children.

Lane Chapel. — At this place six bodies were interred, viz., James Booth and Nancy, his wife ; Mrs. Joseph Brook and one child ; Mrs. Enor Bailey and one child.

Holmfirth Church. — It was expected that the family of Richard Shackleton, consisting of his wife and three children, would be interred here to-day, but in consequence of a desire on the part of the relatives that the body of the father (not yet found) should if possible be interred at the same time, the sad ceremony was deferred, in the hope that in the meantime his remains may be found.

Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel. — At this place there were two bodies interred, — viz., Alfred Woodcock and Sarah Sandford.

New Mill Church. — Here were interred the bodies of the family of Sidney Hartley, consisting of himself, his wife, and five children.

The whole number of burials during the day was 36, so that of those already discovered 29 remain uninterred, many of whom will be buried to-morrow.

Such is the melancholy catalogue of this most melancholy day, during which, perhaps in consequence of people having had more leisure to think, the weight of the catastrophe has pressed with full force on all minds. The private griefs of bereaved people found vent before the public gaze, and the whole of the inhabitants seemed more depressed with the extent of this awful calamity than before as the mournful cavalcades moved to the several places of interment.



In consequence of the Holmfirth Parish Church being deemed unfit for public service to-day (Sunday), by reason of the quantity of mud washed into it by the inundation, mid the portions of wreck therein deposited temporally for safe custody, the congregation assembled in the National School, at Underbank, in the morning for the performance of divine worship. After the morning service had been performed, and the Rev. R. E. Leach had taken his text, and was about to commence his discourse, immense excitement and alarm was created among the congregation by a woman rushing into the room, in an almost frantic state, and imploring those present to send the children home, as it was expected that the Holme Sties Reservoir, on the Ribbleden stream, would burst. Alarmed by remembrance of the fearful catastrophe which had so recently occurred and terrified as to the danger of its repetition (which in some measure received the air of probability from the swollen state of the Ribbleden stream, which runs within a few yards of the school-room,) the great body of the congregation speedily left the room, and the minister found it necessary to abruptly close the service without delivering his discourse. We have since learned that this unusual swell was caused in part by the late heavy rains, but on Saturday evening and Sunday morning mainly in consequence of the sluice of the Holme Sties Reservoir having been “drawn” to allow the water to get below the level at which it is considered safe.


This morning the congregation usually attending the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel assembled with the view to the performance of divine worship in the west gallery of the chapel, but in consequence of the serious damage which the chapel itself, the vestry, and the grave yard had sustained, and the great force of water which then swelled the stream, in consequence of the almost incessant rains of the preceding night, it was feared that the south east gable, next to the river, was not safe, from the washing of the foundations during the flood. The bed of the river having also been considerably raised, and the course of the stream thereby diverted, so as to cause it during the swell of Sunday to again reach the foundations of the gable of the chapel, the idea of performing worship was abandoned, and in this emergency it was suggested by the Minister and some of the leading members of the congregation that they should on the instant take measures to preserve the foundations of the chapel, thus in danger, a proposition instantly acceded to. For hours the Rev. J. Garbutt and the male members of the congregation might be seen busily engaged in throwing up a barrier of stone and earthwork, with a view to the greater safety of this portion of the chapel.

We may add that the rumour, very generally current for the last few days, to the effect that the body of Mr. Harpin, which lies in this grave yard, had been swept away is not correct, it having been satisfactorily ascertained on investigation, that though the tomb is destroyed the body still remains in the same spot as that in which it was deposited some short time ago.


In pursuance of the notice issued by the three acting magistrates of the Holmfirth district, Joshua Morehouse, Joseph Charlesworth, and W. Leigh Brook, Esqs., inviting the attendance of the inhabitants of Holmfirth, to arrange for the opening of a public subscription for the alleviation of the destitution and suffering caused by the above recorded disastrous calamity, an important meeting was held last evening, in the large room of the Crown Hotel, when conclusive proof was rendered of the strong sympathy felt by all classes for the sufferers, by the late unforeseen catastrophe. There were present on the occasion amongst others, Joseph Charlesworth, Esq., JP. ; W. L. Brook, Esq,, J P. ; Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., J.P. ; Sidney Morehouse, Esq. ; Charles Brook, jun., Esq. ; the Rev. E. Leach, Rev. T. G. Fearne, Rev. J. Fearon, Rev. James Macfarlane, Rev. Benjamin Firth, Rev. Thomas Garbutt, Joshua Charlesworth, Esq. ; James Charlesworth, Esq ; Messrs. Godfrey Mellor, Thomas Mellor, Messrs. Martin Kidd, C. 8. Floyd, Harry Booth, Charles Turner, Jehu Harpin, Thomas Moorhouse, Joshua Littlewood, Thomas Charlesworth, John Harpin, Joseph Mellor, Shaw Tinker, Abel Cuttell, and others.

Mr. Joseph Turner, of Huddersfield, attended as deputy from the Committee appointed at the preliminary’ meeting held in Huddersfield during the afternoon, as reported above ; and the news which that gentleman was enabled to impart to the promoters of the present meeting, in token that the sufferers by the recent calamity were not forgotten by their neighbours, hail a most cheering effect upon men struggling with most adverse and depressing circumstances.

After some preliminary conversation, on the motion of Mr. Sidney Moorhouse, seconded by Mr. J. Morehouse,

W. Leigh Brook, Esq., was with acclamation called to the chair ; and that gentleman, after expressing the sense of his own unfitness for the post he had thus been called upon to occupy, in consequence of Mr. Charlesworth declining to preside through a feeling of incapacity, from the anxiety he had undergone during the last few days, amid the appalling scenes of desolation and havoc he had been labouring amongst, — opened the immediate business of the meeting by reading the notice upon which it had been convened, and by lucidly explaining the object the magistrates had in view in thus convening the inhabitants together. Holmfirth by the late disastrous occurrence, had received a shock from which it could not recover for many a long year to come ; and one of the first effects of that calamity had been to plunge a large number of the inhabitants into the deepest distress and destitution. The appalling nature of the circumstances which had spread abroad this’ large amount of suffering, was such as to call for the liberal and practical sympathy of every man who had means ; and he trusted that the result of the effort they were about to make, would prove that Englishmen retained that character for benevolence and liberality which former manifestations of human feeling had secured for them.

The Rev. T. G. Fearne, incumbent of Upperthong, in a most appropriate and feeling address, moved, “That a subscription for the relief of the sufferers by the late fearful calamity be forthwith entered into ; and that a committee be appointed to solicit subscriptions throughout the locality.”

The motion was seconded by Mr. Joshua Charlesworth, and ably supported by

Mr. James Charlesworth, who implored the meeting to take active and immediate steps for the alleviation of the distresses of the necessitous. He described the condition of many as being that of sudden and extreme destitution ; a circumstance which could excite no wonder when it was remembered that there had been lost by tradesmen, in the small space between the Upper Bridge and Victoria Bridge — about 100 yards in length — stock to the amount of £5000.

The motion passed unanimously ; and then, on the motion of Mr. 8, Moorhouse, the following gentlemen were appointed a committee for the purposes of the last resolution, viz.:—Joseph Charlesworth, Esq., W. L. Brook, Esq , Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., Joshua Charlesworth, Esq , James Charlesworth, Esq., the Rev. T, G. Feame, the Rev. R. E. Leach, the Rev. Jas. Macfarlane, the Rev. B. Firth, the Rev. Thos. Garbutt, Messrs. C S. Floyd, Martin Kidd, Sidney Morehouse, George Hiuchliffe, Joseph Firth, Geo. Tinker, Thos. lveson, John Harpiu, and the Rev. J. Fearon, with power to add to their number.

On the motion of Mr. C. S Floyd, seconded by the Rev. James Macfarlane, Mr. James Charlesworth was appointed treasurer.

Mr. C. S. Floyd then, in a few appropriate remarks, moved a resolution to the effect that the bankers of Huddersfield and their London agents be respectfully requested by this meeting forthwith to receive donations in aid of the funds for the relief of the sufferers by the recent calamity ; and that the committee be requested to communicate with the several bankers in the United Kingdom urging them to assist in the benevolent object in view, by likewise opening subscription lists. This resolution having been seconded, it was also carried unanimously.

The Holmfirth subscription was then opened, and headed by William Leigh Brook and Charles Brook, Esqs. with £200 ; Joseph Charlesworth, Esq., £100 ; Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., £10 ; Joseph Firth, Esq., of Shepley, (for a friend) £100 ; for himself, £100 ; James Charlesworth, Esq., £50 ; Joshua Charlesworth, Esq., £50 Other sums of £25 each and under then followed, until the total subscribed in the room amounted to £1020 ; a most auspicious beginning for Holmfirth, now so much prostrated. Many gentlemen were present who promised to contribute, but who were not prepared to put down their names for any specific sum.

During the progress of this subscription a letter and parcel was put into the hands of the chairman, who opened the first and read it to the meeting. It was from Mr. J. J. Skyrme, transmitting a third edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle, containing the account of the meeting in Huddersfield that afternoon, and the truly liberal subscription opened at that meeting. The reading of Mr. Skyrme’s letter was received with much satisfaction by the assembly, and on the suggestion of Mr. C. S. Floyd the account of the Huddersfield meeting, as reported in the Chronicle, was also read by the chairman. That account was received with applause, as its various points were brought to the knowledge of the meeting ; and particularly the munificent donations of the parties who head the Huddersfield list, the reading of which was received with loud cheers. No doubt the news of the generous support thus promptly accorded by their Huddersfield brethren had a beneficial effect upon the Holmfirth list.

It was also, upon the motion of Mr. Sidney Morehouse, resolved “That the three magistrates acting in the Holmfirth division be respectfully requested to attend the public meeting at Huddersfield on Monday evening, as a deputation from Holmfirth :” a mission which the gentlemen willingly undertook.


At the public meeting, held at the Crown Hotel, Holmfirth, on Saturday evening, much excitement was produced by a statement that the party in charge of the Holme-sties Reservoir — the centre one of the three constructed by the Holme Reservoir Commissioners, and situate on the Ribbleden stream — was admitting and retaining a much larger quantity of water than he was authorised to do by the regulations of the Commissioners. An enquiry was immediately entered upon, when it appeared that it was recorded in the minute-book of the Commissioners that this particular reservoir was not considered safe with more water than forty feet in depth ; they having been advised by eminent engineers that with that quantity only the reservoir would be perfectly safe, allowing a margin also for sudden floods or supplies. Other enquiries also brought out the fact, that upon the reservoir in question being visited that day (Saturday), by John Earnshaw, the constable — who had been directed to go thither by the magistrates — he found the water therein upwards of forty-six feet in depth ; and that, as the sluice was only partially opened, he had, in opposition to the opinion of the reservoir keeper, drawn it up so as to decrease the quantity of water to the amount fixed. Constable Earnshaw also reported that he on a former visit found a depth of water considerably more than forty feet. This statement caused a great sensation in the assembly ; and it being stated that the reservoir keeper was in the house, the Chairman sent for him into the room, when he was examined as to the facts stated by Constable Earnshaw. He admitted that he had received the orders of the magistrates not to permit of more water in the reservoir than forty feet ; he admitted also that he had not obeyed those orders, and the reason he assigned for such disobedience was, that “he and Mr. David Hinchliffe considered it safe with more than forth feet depth of water in it.” He also corroborated Earnshaw’s statement as to the depth of water that day, forty-six feet. These avowals and reasons brought down the deep displeasure of the assembly, which was manifested by hisses and groans. An examination of the minute-book of the Holme Reservoir Commissioners, which was in the room, showed that the Commissioners had recorded the opinion set forth above. It also appeared as an instruction to the keeper that he was to record daily the height attained by the water in the reservoir ; and on examining this keeper’s book it was found that during 53 days he had only made eight entries. The keeper was most severely reprimanded by the chairman and the other magistrates present, and cautioned as to his future conduct ; a strong opinion being also expressed that he was utterly unfit for his situation. In justice to the keeper we must also record a statement made by him, that though the Commissioners had deliberately recorded their opinion that with more than forty feet depth of water in the Holme-sties reservoir, it would not be safe, such decision had not been communicated to him ; and he had not been instructed by the Commissioners to limit the water in depth to forty feet.


At the conclusion of the ordinary business of the meeting at the Crown Hotel, on Saturday evening, the gentlemen present placed £5 in the hands of each of the following clergymen, to be by them distributed among such of the destitute or necessitous as might come under their observation during the Sunday or until the meeting of the committee on Monday, viz., the Rev. R. Leach, Rev. T. G. Fearne, Rev. J. Fearon (of the establishment) ; Revs. B. Forth and T. Garbut (Wesleyans) ; and the Rev. J. Macfarlane (Independent).

We learn that the amount collected in the public thoroughfares, from casual passers-by, during Saturday, was £30.

Holmfirth, Monday 3 p.m.

During to-day the number of people who have visited the scene of devastation and ruin has been very great, though, perhaps, not quite so great as yesterday, The inhabitants on the whole do not seem to be spending their time in useless repining, but like men bent on making the most of a bad job, have set to work in many places to retrieve as for as possible their past misfortunes. The energy and enterprise which has characterised them in their ordinary trade transactions, now exhibits itself in full force ; and we have not the slightest doubt that, with what assistance may be kindly rendered them by those who sympathise in their distresses, but they will triumph ere many years have passed away, over this, the direst calamity that ever befel the people of any district in the United Kingdom. During the distressing scenes of the last few days there has been exhibited not a few traits of true nobility of character. We know one individual, an honest, hard working, industrious sort of man, who by economy and thrift had furnished his own and his wife’s wardrobe with a variety of articles of costly apparel, of which he was not a little proud. On the morning of the flood from the promptings of a noble heart, he opened his drawers and chests, and distributed to his ruined fellow-townsmen as long as he had an article left. Many other circumstances of a similar nature might be narrated, but we will give one or two of other kinds. A working man, poor as Lazarus, while engaged during Saturday in performing some useful offices for his neighbours, found a sum of money which he without the least hesitation carried to a place of safety, to go into the common hind for the sufferers. There have been scores of poor working men who have every day began early and continued to work late without any idea of remuneration, either in food or money.

The committee appointed at the meeting on Saturday night to collect and manage subscriptions, met in the forenoon of to-day in the reading-room of the Mechanics’ Institution. There were nine of the committee present, and the first business done was to elect the president and vice-president of the committee. W. L. Brook, Esq., was elected to the former, and Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., to the latter office. The chair, in the absence of the president, was occupied by Joshua Moorhouse, Esq. The first business done was to order a quantity of subscription books to be purchased, and signed by the treasurer of the committee, in order to prevent imposition. On the motion of Mr. Sidney Morehouse, seconded by the Rev. Benjamin Firth, it was resolved that the mill-owners and occupiers be requested to employ the hands thrown out of employment by the late visitation in recovering salvage and in cleaning and restoring the machinery, until their respective mills be again in working order, at a certain rate of remuneration, of which the relief committee were to find a portion.

Messrs Sidney Morehouse, Joseph Firth, and George Tinker, were appointed valuers, to ascertain the amount of damage occasioned by the flood.

Mr. Joseph Healey was appointed to superintend the collection of the property between the reservoir and Horbury Bridge.

The following subscriptions have been received towards the immediate relief fund, viz. — Mr. Tedbar Tinker, £1 1s. ; a Workman, 2s. 6d. ; Mr. Henry Lumb, of Wakefield, £5 ; and a shilling’s worth of postage stamps from his little grandson ; from the members of the Halifax Baptist Chapel, £4 4s. ; and £1 by the individual who brought the last, who is a minister of the same denomination ; Miss Margaret Malcolm, of Hull, £5 ; Mr. Henry Hawksworth, £2 2s. During the afternoon the committee again met, but little or no business was transacted.

During the day there have been a considerable number of interments, viz. — 14 at the Holmbridge Church, several at the Hinchliff Mill Wesleyan Chapel, five at Upperthong Church, and one at the Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel, making a total of about sixteen.

The ladies’ committee met during this afternoon for the purpose of distributing such articles of clothing as were likely to be of use under the circumstances.


Yesterday morning the Rev. J. Glendenning, the respected minister of Highfield Independent Chapel, in this town, alluded in the course of the service to the melancholy catastrophe which had taken place in the Holme Valley, and solicited his congregation for such portions of wearing apparel and small sums of money as they might have at their command, with the view of placing the same in the hands of the Rev. J. Macfarlane, of Holmfirth, to relieve the urgent wants of the many applicants for such assistance. The minister’s suggestion was silently but promptly and effectually put in motion the same day, and on Monday a sum of £20 and a cart load of wearing apparel, of various kinds, were placed at the disposal of Mr. Glendenning, who, no less gratified than surprised, immediately placed these Christian offerings at the disposal of the Rev. J. Macfarlane, of Holmfirth, and we need scarcely add that they were truly acceptable.


The following is the progress of events during the day :—

During the forenoon the men employed in clearing the Holmfirth Mill Dam of rubbish found the body of a female, about fourteen years of age, which was removed to the house of Mr. William Dyson, the White Hart Inn. It is supposed to be that of the daughter of Richard Woodcock of Scarfold. The body of a boy has been discovered at Whittaker Mill, Dalton.


Since the recovery of the bodies reported above, we have received a communication from Mr. Superintendent Thomas to the effect that the body of a boy, apparently about 14 years of age, was found this morning in the river at Dalton Lee, by a person named George Bottom and was removed to the Black Horse, Dalton, where it still remains. The inquest will be opened upon it to-morrow (Tuesday) at four o’clock. The body has not yet been identified, but no difficulty is anticipated in that respect, as there are marks which will be easily recognised. The poor lad appears to have been blind of his right eye, and when discovered he had on green shade, which had worked round to the left temple.


Yesterday (Sunday) an eloquent discourse was de livered in the above place of worship, by the incumbent, the Rev. Thomas James, in which the rev. gentleman alluded to the recent melancholy catastrophe, taking for his text the 1st chapter and 6th verse of Jonah, in the words following :—”What meanest thou, O sleeper Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.”

Huddersfield, Monday Evening.


We cautioned our readers yesterday, in our third edition, against the light fingered gentry, it having come to our knowledge that many depredations had been com mitted. Yesterday the system was practised to some ex tent at the Huddersfield station. Thomas Webb, Esq of this town, being amongst others, suddenly found himself deprived of his pocket handkerchief. Luckily the “sharpers” got nothing more. Again, therefore, we repeat our caution: let parties be aware of what is going on, and keep a tight hand on their pockets.


Great apprehensions for the last few days has been felt as to the safety of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway from Huddersfield to Holmfirth, in consequence of the effects, in many cases too apparent, of the recent heavy rains on the embankments near Deadmanstone, Park Grove, Ginn and Berry Banks, particularly since the giving way of the terminus embankment at Holmfirth. We know that many respectable parties were to-day (Monday) absolutely deterred, after taking their tickets, from venturing on the railway the rumours afloat, and also the heavy trains that were filled and despatched.

The 2 10 train did not leave the station at Holmfirth till 2 35, owing to the lateness of the arrival of the Bradford train in the first instance, and the tremendous rush, in the second place, made by the booked passengers. At length the train moved off, with two engines and 22 carnages attached, many being still left behind, some for want of room, and others from what some might call timidity, but which we fairly consider only proper precaution. We think it would be more wise for the company, during the present excitement, to visit Holmfirth, to despatch trains at regular intervals of one hour each, and say one engine with ten carriages, rather than, at longer intervals, two engines with 22 carriages. It behoves the company to have the line efficiently surveyed by their engineer, and if found safe, that public notice should be given of the fact, in order to ensure confidence.


We announced in a former edition that 4000 tickets and upwards had been issued at Holmfirth station. We are now enabled to state, on good authority, that the total number of tickets issued by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company alone on Sunday exceeded 9000. From Bradford the estimated number was 4000, in addition to the number of coaches, omnibuses, cabs, horsemen, &c., from that place, as well as from Wakefield, Halifax, Manchester, Sheffield, and other places. The Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Company also contributed very materially to the great influx of people into Holmfirth.

The innkeepers of Holmfirth and the neighbourhood were utterly impoverished in the victualling department. No refreshments of any description could be obtained after a short time, and people in crowds had to wend their way back again to Huddersfield, amidst the heavy rains, in the best way they could, to supply the wants of nature.

CHRONICLE OFFICE, Monday, 10 p.m.


In pursuance of a numerously signed requisition, presented to Thomas Mallinson, Esq., Chief Constable, on Saturday evening last, a public meeting was held in the Philosophical-hall to-night, “to take into consideration what measures should be adopted to alleviate the destitution occasioned by the late flood,” and was densely crowded by an enthusiastic audience. A preliminary meeting of the committee was held at six o’clock, at the Commissioners’ Rooms, at which the Rev. T. G. Fearne, incumbent of Upperthong ; the Rev. J. Fearon, incumbent of Holmbridge ; W. L. Brook, Esq., J.P., Jas. Charlesworth, Esq., J. Moorhouse, Esq., J.P., Mr. C. S. Floyd, Mr. Kidd, magistrates’ clerk, Mr. Firth, and Mr. John Barber, attended as a deputation from Holmfirth. There were also present John Brooke, Esq., chairman, the Rev. Josiah Bateman, vicar and rural dean, John Sutcliffe, Esq., J.P., Messrs. G. Crosland, T. P. Crosland, W. Willans, C. Brook, Meltham Mills, A. Hathorn, J. T. Armitage, E. L. Heap, T. Firth, jun., — Löwenthall, Jos. Beaumont, jun., W. Mallinson, J. Freeman, J. C. Laycock, Jos. Turner, Isaac Robson, and W. Moore. After arranging the business for the public meeting, committee adjourned to the Philosophical Hall. On the platform here, in addition to the names already given, we observed the Rev. J. Bensted, of Lockwood ; the Rev. G. Hough, of South Crosland ; Rev. J. Hope, Rev. L. Smith, Rev. J. Glendenning, Rev. J. K. Montgomery, George Armitage, Esq. J.P. ; Dr. Taylor W. Rhodes, Dr. Ramsbotham, Messrs. W. Barker, T. Hayley, E. Armitage, W. Oldfield, Bentley Shaw, Thomas Pitt, J. Wrigley, T. Varley, Jere Kaye, W. P. England, D. Marsden, Joe. Kaye, Charles Brook, jun., J. J. Skyline, Thomas Brook, Jos. Brook, &c., &c. We understand that a communication had been received from Mallinson. Esq., constable, apologising for unavoidable absence.

On the motion of Mr. W. Willans, seconded by Mr J C. Laycock, John Brooke, Esq., of Armitage-bridge, was called to preside over the proceedings.

The Chairman, on rising, was warmly received, and after referring to the melancholy circumstance which had called them together, said he was sure that the eloquence of their own hearts and feelings would be quite sufficient to urge them to a practical expression of their sympathy, and prove the most eloquent tongue by which they could be appealed to. (Hear, hear.) He should first call upon

The Rev. J. Bateman, M.A., Vicar, who rose to move the first resolution, and in the course of a most eloquent address observed that the crowded platform, and the meeting, containing, as he was well assured, the greatest part of the intelligence of Huddersfield, showed that public sympathy was strongly stirred in the matter which had called them together. (Hear.) It was but for them to give expression to those feelings which were working in every heart. There was great difficulty in the inability to describe the melancholy circumstances under notice. Every one said, “How describe that which is indescribable?” — and how, he repeated, describe that which was indescribable, — sorrows and desolation that must be seen to be believed. (Hear.) The resolution he had to move was as follows :—

That this meeting sympathises most deeply with the suffering inhabitants of the Valley of the Holme under the resent calamity caused by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, by which upwards of eighty persons have lost their lives (sixty-eight bodies have already been found), and a frightful extent of property swept away, reducing many of the survivors from comfortable circumstances in life to utter ruin, and depriving upwards of two thousand of operatives of employment for some time to come.

Their sympathies, he observed, had recently been stirred by other accidents. Not long since general attention was drawn to the terrible calamity in a coal mine, in the neighbourhood of Rotherham, and still more recently to that dire and terrible calamity which overtook the Amazon. Who had not, as they lay in bed, thought of the horrors of that fire, of the raging billows, the frail life-boat, and of the multitudes then hurried into eternity in a moment. There, indeed, had the midnight cry been heard, but here there was none, and the terror of the calamity was in its silence. At sunset, on the preceding day, all was quiet ; and if there were any forebodings in some minds and hearts, they produced but little effect. Parents and children retired to rest in confidence, and all was peace in that stirring valley, of which every Holmfirth man had felt so proud. In the morning they were gone, — the whole of the valley was strewn with dead bodies ; its factories wrecked, the houses ruined and swept away ; shops gutted of their property ; and the ruins of this terrible devastation scattered on every hand. (Hear, hear.) Such were the broad features of this event which had struck the people with so much of surprise and terror, that not a tear was observed by the visitors to the valley. A kind of silent awe oppressed the spirits of all men, who stood, as it were, panic-struck with the extent of the calamity which had so suddenly fallen upon them. (Hear.) These broad general features could be infinitely heightened, if he had the power to do it, by going into a detail of individual suffering, for it was individual sorrows which brought pain to the heart. As he had read these details in the fourth edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle, he noticed that yesterday, there was buried in the Church-yard a Jonathan Crosland, a Joshua Crosland, a Charles Crosland, a Joshua Crosland, jun, a Hannah Crosland, and a Mary Crosland, all of one family, and as it were in one grave. (Sensation.) What a tale of woe did that present? The whole family cut off, and yet it was but one of many similar instances. They might imagine that family retiring to rest in peace. In the middle of the night the strong current of the devastating flood entered the house and swept them in a moment into eternity. Imagine that family to be their own — their own dear wives and children, hurried in a moment from this world, and they might then perhaps form some conception of the amount of individual suffering. He had observed further in the same paper, an account of one of the victims, who was described as a fine young woman, unknown. Who was she? A young wife, a young mother, or the beloved of some fond heart? Who, he repeated, was she? (Sensation.) Then there was the account still more touching of the little babe some few hours old, and its mother, both hurried into eternity. He knew Yorkshiremen had strong minds, but they had also tender hearts, which could feel for others, and he asked if there was anything more touching than that single incident? And such details as these could be multiplied until the mind was harrowed up with the intensity and magnitude of the suffering brought before it. (Hear.) Those of them who had families could imagine the desolation of heart caused by such sorrows. The resolution stated that sixty-eight bodies had been actually found, and that the total number missing was eighty. Such a calamity was almost unprecedented in its extent, and called for their Christian sympathy and support. (Hear.) He now came to the second point of his resolution: the destruction of property. He could imagine some of them, fine Yorkshiremen, who, by industry from early life, had gradually risen into the ranks of the gentry, and who had just reached the summit of the hill, when there came this terrible night, and all was swept away. There was no insurance, no refuge for him, but all was gone. He said Christian sympathy was required for such a cause as that. (Hear, hear.) There might be some before him in the same position, and he appealed to the hearts of all — for there was something for mothers and fathers, and men rising in business, to reflect upon — a something which told them that such might have been their own fate, had it so pleased God to bring upon them such a calamity. (Hear.) Then there was the 2000 operatives thrown out of work. Who was to support them and their families ; and who was to restore to them the means by which they could again obtain their own livelihood? He begged of those manufacturers present, in the event of being called upon by a Holmfirth operative, who had been deprived of his work by this sad occurrence, to give him work, though it might be at some inconvenience. (Hear.) After alluding to some other minor matters, and the subscriptions already raised, the rev. gentleman concluded by a powerful application of his remarks, and by an earnest appeal to the liberality of the audience.

W. L. Brook, Esq., J.P. seconded the resolution. He said nothing but a sense of duty could have induced him to come forward on this occasion, but this was one of those calamities which necessitated public action, and that man must have a heart of steel, who after hearing such distress as he and his brother magistrates had listened to, could shrink from endeavouring to do his duty. (Hear.) Most of them were acquainted with the beautiful valley of the Holme, one of the richest and most beautiful vallies in the kingdom, covered as it was with cultivated fields and valuable mills. There, where they had heard the shuttle and the loom, they now saw lamentation and woe. Desolation and destruction had swept the valley — and mills, but the other day actively employed, were either destroyed or rendered useless. It was a question of serious moment what was to become of the poor people who had worked at those mills, and one which should be borne in mind. The accidents from coal mines and similar occurrences involved the loss of the capital of only one or two proprietors, and the men thus thrown out of work were soon re-employed ; but here, the very sources from which the people derived their means of subsistence were destroyed, and it would take years before this calamity could be overcome ; and he felt convinced that unless this matter was taken up as a national subscription, they could not meet even the more pressing necessities of the case. The people of Huddersfield and the district might subscribe liberally, but they must aim at making it known throughout the length and breadth of the land. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Brook concluded by alluding to the proceedings of the Holmfirth magistracy, and to the Holmfirth subscriptions, which, he said, considering the prostrate and paralysed position of the district, was a most handsome one. (Applause.)

The Rev. J. Glendenning moved the next resolution in an eloquent speech. He said he had just returned from the scene of desolation, and he felt, as he was sure they all did, that the present was a time not for speaking but for action. (Hear, hear.) Indeed, many amongst them were too much troubled to speak. The devastation which they deplored was in itself so astounding, and had created a feeling so profound as to seal their lips in silence, and they gave vent to their feelings in involuntary tears. But although their power of utterance was thus restrained, it was not at present needed, in order to produce deep sympathy, to create large heartedness, and to call forth a liberality such as the case imperatively demanded. (Applause) Already the silent eloquence of the event itself had done far more than the tones of man could have ever done, and had appealed with a power which nothing could resist to the deepest sensibilities of our nature It was one of those events which had absorbed all others, and required that their energies should be undivided in the great work of Christian benevolence. (Hear, hear.) He called it a for great work, it assumed a magnitude which passed all human measurement. Much as they knew of the doleful realities of this event, there was much they would never know. They saw only the outward visible scene — the result of this sad disaster, — but the blighted hopes, the blasted fortunes, and the broken hearts of their brethren at Holmfirth they might image to themselves, but they could not understand them. Looking at the mere loss of property, there was enough upon the broad surface to open the heart and hand of their population in the high work of Christian beneficence. To repair that loss was beyond the measures of any means they could supply ; but still, they could do something to relieve present distress and destitution, and to help forward into comfortable circumstances again, those who had been cast down into the deepest distress by this fearful calamity. (Hear.) He exceedingly liked the idea of Mr. Brook that it ought to be taken up as a national affair, and that the movement ought to extend from one end of the country to the other. (Hear) There was an important consideration, however, which must not be lost sight of : the country at large would look to Huddersfield as an example and impulse in this great business. (Hear.) It was then for them all to go forward promptly, and in one generous combination resolve that, by the help of God, and the means they possessed, they would strive to remove the destitution and supply the wants of their brethren. (Loud applause.) He had great pleasure in proposing

That this meeting feels called upon to use every exertion for mitigating the consequences of this great calamity, and that a subscription be immediately set on foot, and that the amount raised be applied (under the direction of a committee) for the immediate relief of pressing distress, and afterwards by affording such aid as the amount of the subscription will allow.

Mr. W. Willans seconded the resolution in a short speech, during which he read a list of the subscriptions already received, and concluded by observing that he was happy to find that the feeling of sympathy pervaded not only the more wealthy, but in the workshops ; and even in the domestic circles, he knew that there were many who were anxious to contribute their mite towards the relief of the sufferers.

The Chairman, in submitting the resolution, announced that the Huddersfield subscription amounted to near £4000, which was received with loud cheers He also stated, that by a communication which had been received, the Earl of Dartmouth had signified his intention of assisting them on this occasion. (Hear.)

Mr. James Charlesworth, of Holmfirth, supported the resolution in an impressive address. He said it was with mournful pleasure that he stood there on that occasion to give utterance to his feelings, and to call the attention of the meeting to the statements already made in the public journals. If there were any who had not seen this desolation, he said, “Go and witness for yourselves a practical exhibition, that the vale of the Holme is a scene of lamentation and mourning and woe.” He could state to them some harrowing cases of distress, but their sympathy required no such impulse. A reverend gentleman, who had preceded him, had alluded to one painful instance of the loss of life, and he might say that he knew of three fathers, left alone in the world, who had lest wife and children and home. (Sensation.) And, in looking around amongst the lost and ruined, he numbered many whom he esteemed as friends, and honoured for their probity of character. (Hear.) He appealed to the poor, whose sympathies would be enlisted in the distresses of their fellows, and he was glad that instances had already come under his notice where subscriptions had been made by working-people. There was one young woman in service at the parsonage at Headingley, had come over to see the destruction, and to mourn the loss of relatives but though her own friends had suffered, she said, on returning, “I cannot leave without giving a sovereign for the distressed.” (Loud applause.) He could not tell them what passed at the awful moment, though in the midst of imminent peril himself, but the scene was one which, when the shrieks of the sinking were heard above the rush of waters, would have pierced the heart of a heathen, and to a man who lived in a land of bibles, and where the gospel shone forth in all its meridian splendour, it would never be forgotten. Mr. Charlesworth concluded by supporting the resolution, which was unanimously adopted.

Mr. T. P. Crosland. in moving the next resolution, said that after the truly harrowing scenes he witnessed on Thursday, he felt it would be a sufficient apology for being unable to express the few observations which the resolution required. He did not conceive that a more melancholy and lamentable catastrophe had ever been witnessed than the beautiful valley of the Holme presented on Thursday’ morning. To describe it was impossible, and no adequate idea could be formed of it, unless by personal inspection. He trusted that the people of Huddersfield would respond nobly to the call made upon them, for, as it had been already said, Holmfirth had enough to do within itself, and it had suffered too much to contribute largely to the relief of the distress occasioned by this melancholy event Still, it had made a noble effort on Saturday, and they would find from the cordial co-operation they would receive from Huddersfield, that the Huddersfield people not only sympathised with them in their trouble, but were desirous of rendering them every aid and assistance, both in time and money, which they possibly could. But he. did not think this was simply a Holmfirth or a Huddersfield question, but a national one, and be would suggest that steps should be taken for bringing it under the attention of every mayor in the country, with a view of obtaining their co-operation and assistance ; and also of the distinguished lady who presided over these realms. (Cheers.) He thought it would be much better, in respect to the surrounding towns, that a deputation of gentlemen should wait upon the authorities, and consult with them as to the best mode of bringing the subject before their inhabitants. (Hear.) The resolution he had to move was as follows:—

That the extent of the devastation being such that mere local efforts, however liberal, will be quite inadequate to the wants of the case, other towns be requested kindly to aid us in this benevolent work.

He understood that it was the intention of the proprietors of the Chronicle to publish a fifth edition, containing a report of these proceedings, and he had great pleasure in placing at the disposal of the committee 500 copies for circulation. (Cheers.)

W. L. Brook, Esq., said, with the permission of the chairman, there was one thing he had forgot to mention as illustrating the distress of some families, and to which he would now allude. The committee had been applied to for clothing by a young lady, on behalf of a family who, prior to this accident, were worth £10,000.

The circumstance was corroborated by Mr. James Charlesworth, and produced an intense sensation.

Mr. J. C. Laycock seconded the resolution, and in doing so said a communication had just been placed in his hands, from which he learnt that a subscription had been commenced by the workpeople of John Brooke and Sons, Armitage-bridge, and amounted to £102. (Loud applause.) He hoped that as a list of the subscriptions was to appear in the fifth edition of the Chronicle it would contain such a demonstration of the heart and hand of the meeting as would unmistakably manifest its sympathy. (Hear, hear.)

The Chairman explained that he was wholly ignorant of the announcement made by Mr. Laycock, as to the subscriptions amongst his workpeople, until read by that gentleman, after which the resolution was put and adopted.

Dr. Taylor moved the next resolution in an appropriate speech expressive of his sympathy with the object of the meeting.

That the Huddersfield committee consist of the Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev. J. Glendenning, Messrs John Brooke, John Sutcliffe, Thos. Mallinson, E. L Heap, Isaac Robson, William Mallinson, John Freeman, J. C. Laycock, Edmund Eastwood, F. Schwann, Thomas Firth, Louis Löwenthal, William Willans, Alexander Hathorn, Joseph Taylor Armitage, Joseph Beaumont, jun., and Joseph Turner, to unite and co-operate in equal numbers with the Holmfirth committee, with power to add to their number.

George Armitage, Esq., J.P., seconded the resolution, and explained the reason of his absence from the preliminary meeting on Saturday, which arose from his magisterial duties. He was happy to find that this matter had been taken up by the working people, and he might mention that he understood their workpeople had opened a subscription, but with what result he was not in a position to state.

The Chairman then announced that the proceedings, so far as speaking was concerned, would for a short time be suspended, and that a public subscription would at once be opened. The subscription was then opened with great spirit, parties handing in their names with the amount they proposed to subscribe with great rapidity for more than an hour, until a sum of nearly £6,000 had been subscribed. [The list of subscriptions previous to, at, and subsequent to this meeting, will be found in our advertising columns.]

At intervals during the progress of the above subscription, and at those periods when the active benevolence of the audience received a temporary check, eloquent and forcible addresses were delivered by the Rev. T. G. Fearne, incumbent of Upperthong ; the Rev. J. Fearon, incumbent of Holmbridge ; and Mr. W. Barker, solicitor, of Huddersfield ; all of whom spoke in the highest terms of the liberal and benevolent spirit which had characterised the subscribers to the list at Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and who strongly urged that with such a beginning in the district, immediate steps should be taken to open subscriptions in every town of the United Kingdom.

Mr. W. Willans, announced that he had received a letter from Bernard Hartley, Esq., of Halifax, who enclosed a £5 note for the immediate relief of the necessitous, at the same time intimating that a further sum would be forthcoming towards a general subscription. (Cheers.) A friend in London had also forwarded £10, which latter announcement was also received with applause by the audience, who, throughout the progress of the subscriptions were at one moment hushed in breathless silence to hear the sums announced from the chair, only to be succeeded, however, by rounds of applause, as sum after sum was announced to the meeting.

It was stated, in the course of the proceedings, that the Rev. J. Haigh, M.A., the Rev. N. Maning, the Rev. R. Skinner, and the Rev. J. B. Read, had been prevented from attending in consequence of illness, or pressing engagements elsewhere.

On the motion of Mr. John Freeman, solicitor, seconded by Mr. W. Willans, and supported by Mr. W. P. England, a vote of thanks was awarded to John Brooke, Esq., for his kindness in taking the chair, and the ability he had shown in the management of the proceedings of the evening.

The Chairman, in acknowledging the compliment, said that if he felt somewhat downcast on entering the room that feeling had been entirely removed by the success of the object for which they had assembled, and also by the kind manner in which the meeting had received his name, be far from the meeting being under an obligation to himself he really thought that the obligation was owing by him to them for having placed him in such a position, for he did feel proud that he had presided at a meeting when such a noble response was made as was never made in this country before.

He personally thanked them for the indulgence with which they had estimated his humble exertions ; and trusted that whenever called upon to perform any duties of a public character that he might be worthy of the kind expression of feeling which had been evinced towards him that evening. (Cheers.) The meeting, which was one of intense interest to all present, thus terminated a little before eleven p.m., to the great gratification of all parties as to the encouraging

In addition to the subscriptions received in the hall, a sum of £6 11s. 10¼d. was collected at the doors as the vast company left the building At the conclusion of the public meeting a committee meeting was held in the ante-room when, among other business, Messrs. T. P. Crosland, C. H. Jones, Charles Hirst, Edward Fisher, Henry Leadbeatter, and Joseph Turner, merchant, were unanimously placed on the Huddersfield Committee.

HOLMFIRTH, Thursday, Feb. 12.


In the Chronicle of Saturday last we recorded such particulars, in reference to the recent and fearful catastrophe at Holmfirth as the excitement which prevailed so immediately after the occurrence enabled us to collect with anything like accuracy and authority, and we now resume our record of this appalling accident. With a view of enabling our readers to trace the progress of events in connection with this catastrophe, we shall enter into such details as will render the report which appears in our present impression a complete epitome of its melancholy history.

The wide tract of country lying south and southwest of Huddersfield is diversified by beautiful valleys and sloping moor and woodlands, which, rising from the valleys, stretch out with a wild grandeur to the borders of the surrounding counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Lancashire, and reach their highest point in the extensive range of hills which form what has not been inaptly called the “back bone” of England. The hills, which are covered with heath, are broken by doughs or glens, which present touches of wild picturesque scenery unsurpassed in rude beauty by any landscape which this country presents. These doughs drain the wide tracts of moorland, extending from the summit of their ridges for miles, and their beds are washed by small streamlets, which, increased by the falls at different points from the highlands, gradually widen their course until they unite at the termination of the doughs, and become the sources whence the larger streams of the valley are supplied. Draining so extensive a moorland country, their supply is generally continuous, though during the summer months it is considerably diminished, and in long droughts it ceases entirely, or forms but a narrow thread of water, scarcely visible, as it flows through the underwood and rock with which the channels are covered.

Of the valleys to which we have referred, the valley of the Holme forms one of the most extensive, and runs into the country, to the south-west of Huddersfield, for shout ten miles, when it terminates in the highlands known as Holme Moss on the west, and Black Moss and Ramsden Edge on the south. It is watered by a small river called the Holme, which is formed by the confluence of the Holme and the Digley streamlets, which empty themselves into it at the foot of the Holme Moss hills, at a point called Holm-bridge, and by the Ribbleden streamlet, which drain the hills lying to the west, at a point still lower down. Though wild and precipitous, this valley, by its almost continuous and uninterrupted supply of water power, presented many advantages, and its early history is intimately associated with the rise and progress of the textile manufactures of this district. Its seclusion did not deter the indomitable energy of British enterprise from the investment of capital, and for the past century it has been covered with all the appliances of manufacturing industry. Since the introduction of machinery and steam power it has rapidly risen in importance, and presented one of the most active, stirring, and populous rallies in the country. The concentration of such industrial spirit in this locality soon covered it with large villages, and at the present time there are some six or seven villages and a large town called Holmfirth, along its bed, within a distance of ten miles. The first village, called Holme, which is of great antiquity, lies on the slope of Holme Moss, in a wild secluded nook, away almost from all human ken. About a mile lower down, and at the confluence of the Holme and Digley streamlets, is situated the small village of Holmebridge, whose beautiful little church, recently erected, stands on the left bank of the Digley streamlet. A few hundred yards further down, and on the left bank of the Holme, is the populous village of Hinchliffe Mill, which extends along the left bank of the liver until it unites with Upper-bridge and Holmfirth, at a distance of a mile and a-half from the confluence of the two streams. The right bank of the river to this point is dotted with factories and weaving shops. The town of Holmfirth contains a population of 2,347, and is most picturesquely situated on the banks of the river which flows through its centre, and which is crossed by three single arch bridges, having a span of from 18 to 20 feet each. On the west it is bounded by high and precipitous cliffs, along whose ridges are observable small habitations occupied by an industrious population, and on the east by high lands which slope gradually from the valley, and which are covered with all the evidences of industrial activity. The greater portion of the town lies in the valley, and abutting on the river are several extensive woollen manufactories and dye houses, which give to it that appearance of activity and industry which a manufacturing town generally presents. Here the Holme receives a further supply of water from the Ribbleden valley, whose streamlet empties itself at the foot of Scarfold, and continues to flow along the general current.

The increasing importance of Holmfirth rendered necessary improved modes of transit, and in June, 1850, a branch railway from the Huddersfield and Penistone line was opened, thus connecting it with Huddersfield, and thence by the London and North Western and Lancashire and Yorkshire lines, with every part of the country.

The next village we meet with along the course of the river is Thongsbridge, which is built on the left bank, and is the seat of two or three extensive factories. Below Thongsbridge are erected some large woollen mills, and at a distance of about two miles further down the stream is the village of Honley. Proceeding down the valley we pass the extensive works of Messrs. W. and D. Shaw, woollen manufacturers, after which we come to Armitage-bridge, where are situated the factories of Messrs. John Brooke and Sons. Below this point the valley forms an extensive basin, surrounded by hills covered with woodland, and is communicated with by the Meltham valley. Here is situated the factory of Messrs. I. T. and C. Wrigley. The river then bends in a westerly direction, and passes under the splendid viaduct of the Huddersfield and Penistone line of railway, which crosses it from Lockwood to Berry Brow, and then past the extensive factories of Messrs. George Crosland and Sons, at Lockwood, after which it falls into the Colne, to the north of Huddersfield, and ceases to retain its distinctive name of the Holme.

We have entered into these details in order that the position of the valley, and its requirements, might be better understood by our readers who may reside at a distance, and are not familiar with this part of the country, whilst we trust we have not unnecessarily tresspassed upon the knowledge of those whose acquaintance with the valley is more extensive than our own.

It will have been observed that the advantages which this valley presented consisted in its water power, which was readily available at easy falls. The increase of manufacture throughout its entire extent rendered necessary the storing of the water falling from the moorlands at its head, and in 1837, the mill-owners of the valley went to parliament and obtained an Act incorporating them under the title of “Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs,” and giving them power to construct eight reservoir’s on the streamlets emptying themselves into the river Holme, at a cost of £40,000. The preamble of the act recites, that “whereas there are many mills, factories, and other premises situate near the line or course of the overflowing of the waters in the river Holme, &c., and of streams flowing into the said river Holme, using waterwheels, engines, or other machines worked by water flowing along such streams and brooks ; and whereas the supply of water to such mills is very irregular, and during the summer months is frequently insufficient for effectually working the wheels, engines, and machines, in such mills, factories, and premises, which irregularity might be greatly remedied by the making and maintaining an embankment and reservoir on the brook called the Digley Brook at Bilberry mill ;” &c. The act next goes on to appoint commissioners, consisting of millowners and owners and occupiers of falls of water in the district of the annual value of £100 a year and upwards. The estimated cost of the reservoirs which the act empowered the commissioners to make was early discovered to be wholly inadequate, and three only of the eight reservoirs were completed, viz., the Bilberry Reservoir, Holme Sties Reservoir, and Bon Shaw Reservoir. The Bilberry reservoir, to which we shall specially refer as the one, the bursting of the embankment of which has caused so much devastation, was situated at the head of a narrow gorge or glen, leading from the Holme valley, at Holme-bridge, to a high bluff of land called Good Bent, and was supplied by two streams flowing through the cloughs running to the north-east and south-east of Good Bent, and draining the moors of Holme Moss on the one side, and the hills running up to Saddleworth on the other. The confluence of the streams takes place between two large hills called Hoobrook-hill and Lum Bank, and which run parallel to each other for a distance of about 150 yards, when they open out, and form an extensive oval basin, of not less than 300 yards diameter. The reservoir was formed by blocking up the valley above the basin, and enclosing some 12 acres of surface. The construction of this reservoir was let to Messrs. Sharp and Sons, of Dewsbury, in 1840, but in consequence of some dispute arising during the making of the embankment, as to a defect in the foundation, owing to a spring in the centre of the puddle bank, the contract was broken, and the commissioners were involved in a Chancery suit which is still pending. The contract was afterwards re-let to Mr. David Porter and Brothers, and by the advice of Mr. Leather, of Leeds, engineer to the commissioners, a coffer-dam was sunk in the centre of the embankment to get at the seat of the spring, and means adopted which it was hoped then would remedy the defect.

These means proved, however, ineffectual, and the embankment, we believe, has leaked more or less up to the present time. The embankment was originally constructed to retain 90 feet of water in the reservoir, but it having subsequently given way, it was found it would not contain this depth of water by several feet. It had a base of feet, and was made of earth, with a puddle bank of about four yards breadth running through its centre. The inner surface of the embankment was covered with stone sets, but the outer surface appears to have had no covering. The bye-wash, which was a circular chimney about four yards diameter, was on the south or right hand side of the reservoir, and was sunk through the embankment near to its junction with Hoobrook-hill, and communicating with a tunnel emptying itself on the lower side of the embankment. Its height from the bed of the reservoir was upwards of 83 feet. The outlet of the water was by an open culvert along the bed of the reservoir, communicating with the tunnel referred to, by two patent trap doors or shuttles, situated directly parallel to each other at the bottom of the chimney. These traps or shuttles were placed the one inside and the other outside of the east wall of the chimney, and were worked by perpendicular rods raised by a common screw on a platform at the top of the chimney. In the event of the trap doors being insufficient to convey the surplus water away during extraordinary supplies, the water, on rising to the level of the chimney or bye-wash, would meet with a source of escape presumed to be adequate to all contingencies. At a subsequent period the embankment, we understand, settled a little in one or two places near the centre, and its surface was thus lowered below the level of the bye-wash. This circumstance, combined with the feeling of dissatisfaction which had arisen in the minds of some of the commissioners, as to the construction of the embankment, led to the passing of a resolution some three years ago, giving instructions for the breaking of a hole in the chimney at the height of between 40 and 50 feet. In accordance with this resolution orders were given to Mr. Jonathan Thorpe, mason, to proceed with the work, when some dispute arose, and the matter has since been permitted to remain in status quo. Since that time the inner trap or shuttle got out of order, and has remained drawn at the full up to the present time.

The Digley valley, lying at the foot of the reservoir, is one of great romantic beauty. It is a narrow gorge, about a mile in length, and its southern slopes are covered with wood, intersected here and there by miniature water falls, which empty themselves into the stream below. The hills on the opposite side are dotted with cottage houses and green fields, whilst on the narrow bed were erected several extensive woollen factories and sheds, worked by both steam and water power, the principal of these being Digley Mill and premises, the property of the executors of the late Mr. George Hirst. This block of buildings consisted of a scribbling mill and a factory, seven houses, occupied by Mrs. Hirst and family, Mr. Henry Beardsell and family, and some of the operatives engaged on the premises. A little below was another large mill, occupied by Mr. John Roebuck, called Bottoms Mill. A short distance above was situated a small mill and farmstead, in the occupation of Mr. John Furniss, but at the time of the disaster in the hands of the Leeds Bankruptcy Court ; and at the foot of the reservoir a fulling mill, occupied by Messrs. Broadhead. Prior to the desolation which has laid waste this industrial activity with so rode a band, this valley presented a landscape view of great beauty, uniting as it did all the solitude and picturesqueness of nature, in one of her most quiet nooks, with the bustle of commercial enterprise and the hum of machinery. These things, however, for a time have ceased to be, and it will only be in long-coming years that this valley will assume its former beauty, and again become the seat of manufacturing industry.

During the past few months this district has been visited by heavy and almost continued rains, which draining itself into the small streams intersecting the moorlands in this neighbourhood, have swollen their currents into petty rivers, and emptying themselves into the larger channels, have filled them to the utmost extent of their banks, and in some instances overflowed and flooded the adjacent lands. More especially has this been the case in the tributary streams above Holmfirth, and the influx of water into the reservoirs forming the “Holme Reservoirs,” has for some time past excited anxiety. On Sunday week the water in Bilberry reservoir rose to a depth of 83 feet, and the shuttle was drawn. (In reference to this latter circumstance, we may observe that we are informed, in correction of an error into which we in common with all our contemporaries have fallen, that on examination the shuttle is discovered to have been drawn to the full, and that the escape of water was uninterrupted) Between this time and Wednesday morning the water lowered 12 feet, when it again begun to rise very rapidly. This circumstance tended to heighten the anxiety already excited, and rumours were spread throughout the valley as to the impending danger, but by no one was the anticipation of danger entertained to the extent which subsequent events prove would have been justifiable. The general impression was that if the reservoir did burst, it would do so gradually, and that its contents, being distributed over a flow of several hours, would not be very destructive. The painful result records how erroneous were these ideas, and has left behind monuments on every hand, which will never perish. On Wednesday week the influx of water into the reservoir, was very great, and up to 5 p.m. it rose 13 feet. The anxiety in the minds of those occupying premises in Digley valley, or “The Bottoms,” was much increased, and watchers were sent to the embankment, but still, with one or two exceptions, no further precautions were taken. At dark the waters nearly rose to the surface of the embankment, and extended as far as the eye could reach up the cloughs, on each side of Good Bent. About 11 o’clock the water washed over the embankment, and gradually increased until the outer surface began to give way. At this time it was within a few inches from the summit of the chimner. Immediately messengers were despatched through the valley to spread the alarm. At this time the moon was up and shone brightly. Between twelve and one the puddle bank broke, and the inner surface of the embankment bursting at the same moment, the water rushed forth with a deep, awful sound, and like a sea of lava rolled down the valley in an unbroken wave, spreading death, desolation, and ruin in its course. As the light of the moon fell upon the moving mass it looked like an avalanche of snow, rolling forward with a wild impetuosity and irresistable fury. On, on it rushed, leaping from point to point, and gathering up its wasted strength afresh at every bound, and roaring with renewed fury, hushing the fearful death-shrieks that rose from its surface, amidst the still deeper and more awful thunders of its own tumult.

As our readers are aware, from the report which appeared in our columns last week, the flood in its passage destroyed a portion of Broadhead’s mill, some barns and stables at Furniss’s, together with the gable ends of two houses, the whole of the mills and premises at Digley, leaving only the chimney and a few other ruins, the gable end of Banksend Mill and shops, and seriously damaged Holmebridge and the church, disinterring one or two bodies from the burial-ground ; washed away six houses and forty inhabitants at Hinchliffe Mill, and committed damage to a serious extent to Hinchliffe Mill, Bottoms Mill, Pogson and Co’s. Mill, Victoria Mill, (destroying three cottages,) and Dyson’s Mill. The house occupied by Mr. Sandford, two daughters, and servant was washed away, together with the occupants. Upper Mill and Lower Mill also suffered severely.

At Holmfirth the destruction to life and property was also extensive ; and without again entering into detail we may observe that thirty-two lives were lost, three bridges nearly destroyed, upwards of twenty houses and outbuildings entirely destroyed, from six to ten rendered uninhabitable, and about sixty houses, shops, chapels, and outbuildings more or less injured, the greater part very seriously so, and gutted in the lower rooms entirely of their contents, to the amount of some £5,000 or £6,000. The same traces of destruction are observable along the course of the river down to Lockwood. The work of destruction is on a scale fearful to contemplate, and the scene which still presents itself, though the most vigilant efforts have been made since the melancholy occurrence to remove ruins and render the roads passable, is one of desolation. The entire bed of the valley is still strewn with wreck of every description, and the upper portions resemble more a wild rocky sea beach, over which has just passed a terrific storm, than anything else to which we can compare it, strewn as it is with timber, iron, machinery, stone, and debris. The dams, goits, and wears of the several mills are destroyed almost without an exception, whilst the general bed of the river is raised a yard on an average, throughout its course. There are about 18 mills on the stream working about 90 billies, stopped, thus throwing out of work some 3,000 artizans, and depriving them and those dependent upon them of their usual means of subsistence.

As to the total loss of life, as far as we have been enabled to ascertain, is given below, and from the enquiries instituted by us, the following return may be depended upon, as a close approximation to the actual number missing, and of the bodies recovered :—


* Found and identified.

Hinchliffe Mill.

James Booth * (60)
Mrs. Booth * (44)
William Healey * (46)
Mrs. Brooke * (30)
Hannah Brook * (10)
Jonathan Crosland * (39)
Charles Crosland * (14)
Joshua Crosland * (21)
Mary Crosland (19)
Hannah Crosland * (17)
Martha Crosland * (15)
Foster Crosland (8)
Ralph Crosland (3)
Rose Charlesworth * (38)
Hamer Charlesworth (9)
John Charlesworth (7)
James Charlesworth * (14)
Joshua Charlesworth * (14)
Ruth Charlesworth * (1)
Joseph Dodd (—)
Mrs Dodd * (30)
Sarah Hannah Dodd * (1)
Elizabeth Dodd * (7)
Joshua Earnshaw * (70)
Charles Earnshaw * (30)
Abel Earnshaw * (5)
Ann Beaumont Earnshaw * (12)
William Exley * (26)
Nancy Marsden * (40)
Eliza Marsden * (45)
Joseph Marsden * (14)
Joseph Marsden (16)
James Metterick (60)
Jane Metterick * (3)
Mary Metterick (36)
William Metterick * (38)
Betty Metterick (30)
Samuel Metterick (21)
Alfred Metterick (8)
Joseph Metterick * (1)
Dyson’s Mill.
Jonathan Sandford (—)
Emily Sandlord * (3)
Sarah Jane Sandford * (9)
Ellen Wood * (22)


Mrs. H. Bailey * (32)
— Bailey (daughter) * (—)
— Bailey (infant) * (few hours old)[7]
John Ashall * (36)
Mrs Ashall * (30)
Alfred Ashall (2)
Mrs Fearns * (30)
Lydia Fearns * (6 months)
Charles Thorpe * (14)
Samuel Greenwood * (46)
Mrs Greenwood * (46)
Ann Greenwood (12)
Eliza Matthews * (12)
George Hellawell * (9)
Sarah Hellawell * (6)
Elizabeth Hellawell * (4)
Mary Hellawell * (28)
John Hellawell * (2)
Ann Hellawell * (1)
Alfred Woodcock * (13)
Sarah Woodcock * (11)
Sydney Hartley * (40)
Mrs Hartley * (39)
Martha Hartley * (16)
James Hartley * (14)
Elizabeth Hartley * (3)
Ellen Ann Hartley (1)
George Hartley * (3 months)
James Lee * (65)
Richard Shackleton (—)
Tamor Shackleton * (33)
Hannah Sbackleton * (2)
James Shackleton * (4)
Grace Hirst Shackleton (2)


Elizabeth Healey * (8)

Since the account which appeared in the Chronicle on Saturday last and subsequent editions, many interesting details have come to our knowledge which we shall proceed to lay before our readers. The impeding danger which had threatened for some days had induced the occupants of Bilberry Mill, Charles Batley, shuttle drawer, and James Charlesworth, to remove their families on the preceding night, together with a portion of their furniture. At Furnis’s Mill the occupants had a very narrow escape, — the messengers of the Bankruptcy Court feeling reluctant to deliver possession even to so formidable a claimant, until the last moment, when they had to cross an adjoining field partly undressed, and had just leaped a fence wall when the water rushed past them. The miller employed at this factory had been confined to bed for seven weeks, and he with his family remained in the house at one end of the mill until Thursday morning without sustaining any personal injury, notwithstanding that the gable ends were washed down, and the mill inundated with water. The same reluctance to leave the premises was evinced by Mrs. Hirst and family, and Mr. Beardsell and family, at Digley Mill, and Mrs. Hirst had to be removed by main force. She at first expressed her determination to perish with her property, but was ultimately forced out of the house. The communication across the river, from the dwelling-house, was over a small bridge, and Mr. Barber had only passed a few yards beyond the bridge with Mrs. Hirst, when it was hurried along with the current, and immediately afterwards the whole of the premises were razed to the ground. The families occupying these premises escaped, we believe, with nothing but what they had on at the time. Mrs. Hirst lost all her books, together with a large amount of money. The chimney, which has excited so much attention, was built in 1827, by Mr. Samuel Sykes, of this town, and the fact of it having stood during such a storm is one of the highest compliments to its builder. During the passing of the flood, it is described by an eye witness as having rocked backwards and forwards like a tree ; but, though several times its destruction seemed inevitable, it always returned to its place, and it now stands as the only monument of the spot where Digley Mills once stood. Forming part of the Digley Mill premises, and abutting on the river, was a small cottage house, occupied by William Proctor, engineer, his wife and family of four children. When the flood came they were alarmed, but before they could escape half the house was washed down, and they were driven into the garret by the water, where they had to remain until the torrent subsided, with the fearful anticipation of the remainder of’ the house giving way, and precipitating them into the raging torrent beneath. This awful fate, however, they escaped, though a great portion of the furniture was destroyed. Some idea may be formed of the force of the current which swept over the bed here, when we mention that prior to the flood, about 300 yards above Digley, was a waterfall nine or ten feet high. Now there is not a vestige of this to be traced, and the bed is perfectly level. After leaving Digley, we meet with little of interest beyond what has been already stated, until we come to Hinchliffe Mill, the scene of so frightful a loss of life. The village of Hinchliffe Mill is situated on the Huddersfield and Woodhead turnpike road, and a great portion of it overlooks the river. Fold-gate, Fold-head, and Water-street run along the left bank of the Holme, the latter street abutting into the river at a point where the current is much confined. The upper portions of Fold-gate lie above a bend in the river which is crossed by a bridge, and to this circumstance may probably be attributed its almost entire escape from the fearful calamity which befel the houses immediately below. The flood had overtaken the messengers despatched from the reservoir before reaching this village, and so far as can be ascertained there is reason to fear that the greater portion of those who perished were hurried into eternity whilst asleep or without a moment’s opportunity of escape. So far this presumption is borne out by the fact, that out of the six houses destroyed in Water-street, the doors of only two (those of the houses tenanted by Charlesworth and Metterick) were ever opened. The terrors of the fearful destruction are still more solemn and terrible when viewed under such considerations.


Amongst the many instances of escape from imminent peril which have occurred during this catastrophe, the following has been related to us by James Metterick, one of the occupants of a house in Water-street, and one of four out of a family of twelve who were saved. He said — “I am 21 years of age, and lived with my father and mother. There were twelve of us in the house on Wednesday night when the flood broke in upon us. My father, James Metterick, was a sizing boiler, and that night he had been out collecting money, and it was late when he came home. Some time about midnight he awoke us and told us that the flood was coming. I jumped up, and after looking out of the window, pulled a pair of trousers on, and came down stairs. I met my mother at the bottom of the steps, and we thought to get a child which was sleeping in the kitchen, but we could not, and we called of my father to come upstairs. The water was rushing in at this time, and before my father could come to us he was smothered. We had intended to escape by the door, but a “roll” of water came down and forced us back, and my mother and I ran up into the chamber, and looked out of the window. At this time the water was the height of the wall in the street, and immediately afterwards the house fell, carrying eight of us who were in the room, and one in another chamber asleep, into the river. My brother Wilson Metterick had made his escape before the flood came down. I do not remember being struck with anything, and when I recovered myself I was in Harpin’s dam, amongst a lot of wood. I caught hold of something, when I was struck by a piece of wreck, and lost my hold. I continued seizing hold of the wreck, and at last I succeeded in getting hold of a large piece of timber. I got my legs across it, when it rolled over, and I was again thrown into the water. On recovering myself I got my legs across it a second time, but it again rolled over, and left me to struggle with the water. I succeeded in recovering my hold of it a third time, when I placed one leg over it, and clasped it with my hands to my breast, and thus kept myself secure for a time, after which I seized a piece of wood, and paddled myself, with the aid of the wind, to the opposite side, or left bank of the river. When near to the side I leaped off, and fell up to my neck in water. Again, I had to struggle with the stream, but at last I escaped, and ran up the field, stumbling every now and then, until I got here [Mrs. Berry’s, who occupies a house near to the mill], I believe nobody’s door was opened but our’s and Charlesworth’s, though I have heard it said the Marsden’s were up at the time.”

Metterick is a strong active looking young man, yet, so marvellous an escape reads more like a romance than a reality, and were there not the most fearful evidence of its truth, his strange adventures and escape, might excite in the mind of the reader something like incredulity.


During our enquiries in this neighbourhood we also met with John Charlesworth, weaver, who also lived in Water-street, and who with two sons, Henry Haywood and Eli Charlesworth, and two daughters, Ann and Mary, are all that are saved out of a family of twelve (including himself and wife). He is an elderly man, and in reply to our enquiries said, “I lived in Water-street when the flood came. The houses were three storeys high, and I lived in the centre of the six houses destroyed, there being two on one side of me and three on the other. We had heard nothing about the flood until it came. [This was in answer to a question put to him in consequence of a statement made to us to the effect that the whole of the inhabitants of Water-street had been warned of the danger on Wednesday night before going to bed.] I was in bed when I heard a cry, upon which I jumped out and ran to the door. This was about one o’clock as near as I can recollect. When I got to the door I saw one of James Metterick’s daughters was coming running to my door. The water was just damming up the fold, and she ran back. I stepped back into the house and lifted my wife on to the floor in her night dress. There were six children at the stairs bottom, and one asleep up stairs. I spoke to my eldest lad (Haywood), and we each took two children, and after telling my wife to follow us instantly, we rushed out. One of the children I had hold of was the eldest but one, named James, aged 14, and as we were going up the fold, he screamed out about his hens, and got from me and ran back to the house, and I did not see him afterwards. I saw one of the lads attempt to follow us, but finding that he could not escape that way, he tried to get round the street corner but was too late. I expected my wife and the other children were following us when we left the house, but she must have remained, and been washed away with the house. Two minutes after I lost hold of my eldest lad, the water rose six yards, and in less than five minutes from my being first alarmed the whole of the six houses were swept away. There were no doors opened in the street but the Metterick’s and our’s, and I think most of the other families would be swept away whilst in bed.”

Other parties living in Water-street had narrow escapes, and in addition to those already mentioned, we may briefly allude to the escape of Mrs. R. Ellis, and George Crosland. Mrs. Ellis was driven up the street by the water, and saved herself by clinging to a door “sneck,” after which she was taken to the house of Mr. Hobson Greensmith, grocer, whose kindness and exertions during this dreadful night were deserving of all praise. George Crosland was brought up the porch with the water, and was floated on a box or pair of drawers into a neighbour’s house named Samuel Hardy. Whilst there, he managed to get hold of a sampler suspended from the wall, by which he held until the water subsided.

Such are some of the incidents which we have gleaned here, and we doubt not others equally interesting will still come under our notice, when we shall report them in our columns.



At Victoria Mill, our readers will have noticed that three cottages adjoining the mill, were partially destroyed, and the following particulars of the escape of the occupants as related to us by a young man named Haywood, who resided with his grandfather, in the one nearest the river, will be found interesting. He said — “I lived with my grandfather, John Howard, in the house nearest the river. The next was occupied by Eli Sanderson and family, and the house furthest from us by Joseph Pogson and family. Over our house was a warehouse, which was partitioned off from Pogson’s by a thin wall. We heard no alarm and found the water about us. Pogson, I believe, got his family up into the garret with a ladder, after which he pulled the ladder up after him and broke into the warehouse through a door which had been closed up. He then broke a hole through the floor, and putting the ladder down, enabled Sanderson to get up into the warehouse also. Both the families were then over our heads, but we could not get to them. When the water had subsided I got a lad on my back and tried to escape to the road, but I could not, and I turned back and put the lad on the mill step, after which nine of ns who were in the house escaped, when we placed a ladder against the end of the wall and enabled the other families to escape. Immediately afterwards the roof fell in. I could see Mr. Sandford’s house below very well. There was no light that I observed. When the water came down, it dammed up between the bank and the wall from the bridge to Mr. Sandford’s house, and then carried the top of the house off. I never saw anybody, nor heard any shrieks from Mr. Sandford’s.”


The loss of Mr. Sandford, from his position in life and his connections, has excited considerable sympathy and great anxiety for the recovery of his body, and on Tuesday bills were issued, offering a reward of £10 to any one who may be instrumental in its recovery. He is described as a fresh-looking man, 45 years of age, and about six feet high, and rather round in the shoulders. The house occupied by Mr. Sandford, his two daughters, and housekeeper, adjoins Dyson’s Mill, of which he was the engineer and joint proprietor. The house was situated between the mill and the river, and the road from the high-road to the mill passed in front of it, whilst on the back lay the dam by which the mill is supplied. He has recently been very successful in his business transactions, and the day preceding his melancholy and premature death he had invested a large amount of money in railway stock. On the Thursday morning his broker received a communication from him, dated the previous evening, and the first intelligence which that gentleman received of Mr. Sandford’s death was at the spot where the dreadful occurrence had taken place. Mr. Sandford appears to have entertained some anxiety as to the safety of his position, for about seven o’clock on Wednesday night he sent one of his men, named Benjamin Whitehead, up to Digley to make enquiries. Whitehead returned about half-past, and reported that the shuttle was up, but that there was danger. Mr. Sandford then observed that he would sleep in the mill, amongst some wool in one of the rooms which he mentioned. This resolve, however, it is to be regretted, he did not carry out. On the following morning the man who lived in the mill, named Charles Thorpe, mason, was alarmed, and on coming out he discovered that the reservoir had burst. He could not get to Mr. Sandford’s to alarm him, and proceeded to effect the escape of his own family. Immediately after being first alarmed he saw the flood come down the river several feet high in one wave, and on looking towards the river he added, to use his own graphic language, “I saw it like a mountain over Mr. Sandford’s house, and I am satisfied no one could see the house go.” There remain but sad vestiges of the former prosperity and activity of this special locality, and the unroofed and dilapidated house, standing in the midst of ruins still more desolate, associated as it is with the memory of one who was highly esteemed by those who knew him, excites in the mind feelings of a deep melancholy and sadness.

Mr. Joseph Barrowclough, at the instance of the father of the above missing gentleman, went down to Hull yesterday (Friday), for the purpose of ascertaining whether amongst the six bodies there found he be among them. In case of not succeeding in his search, Mr. Barrowclough will search the stream upwards by way of Selby and Wakefield, with the same object in view. In case the body be not then found it is intended to offer a further reward for the discovery of Mr. Sandford’s remains.


A correspondent informs us that a day or two ago he had an opportunity of hearing from Mrs. Hirst her own account of the painful narrative in which she figures as the principal sufferer in point of property throughout the entire catastrophe. Mrs. Hirst, it seems, had been repeatedly urged during the evening to leave the house, as danger was apprehended from the rapid filling of the reservoir, but as these warnings came principally from her young family, and had been given on previous occasions, they were at first disregarded. A female friend, about twelve o’clock at night, called upon her, begging of her to leave. By arrangement they set off, intending to go towards the reservoir (Mrs. Hirst throwing a shawl over her head), but they met a man of whom they enquired as to the safety of the reservoir ; he told them he thought there was no danger, as it was still a foot from the top. They then went back, her neighbour returned home, and Mrs. Hirst says:— “I went into the house and opened my Bible, and thought I would read a little about the troubles of Job. After this I went to bed. By-and-by I was again alarmed by my neighbours, who urged me to fly for my life. The members of my family said they would go in different directions to my relations and friends, and they did so. I put, as I thought, many things out of harm’s way, by taking them from the lower rooms into the chambers. The heavy pieces of furniture, such as the piano, sofas, tables, and chairs, were left below. I got into the cellar, and there thought of staying for safety. By-and-by two of my neighbours came and urged me to run, but I refused, and clung to the cellar stone, but they forced me away. I then seized my youngest child, who was in bed, wrapped it in a table-cloth and we fled for our lives, the men carrying us along, and as soon as ever I had got over the wooden bridge I looked and saw the water coming in great force, mountains high, and dashing in the windows of the house. I just saw the white window blinds floating on the water, and then I remembered nothing more. Another minute and I had been lost. The reservoir must have burst before I left the house. All I had was swept away.”

Our correspondent adds :— “And thus this good lady, a widow too, only recently bereft of her husband, the mother of a large family, — who but one hour before was possessed of a respectable home, an excellent furnished house, a well-stocked farm, a large and most valuable mill, with well-appointed machinery, was suddenly bereft of all, and her means of livelihood gone, and, like the messenger to Job, of whose troubles she had been reading, she may now in truth say, ‘I only am escaped alone to tell thee!’ Not a vestige of property variously estimated at from £10,000 to £15,000 now remains, and even the very clothes her family now wear they have had to sue for and obtain from the ‘Sisters of Charity,’ who are now so praiseworthily discharging their duties at the Town-hall.”

The scene which presented itself in Holmfirth, when the water was at its height is described to us as being fearfully alarming. Loud above the roar and rush of waters, was heard the shrieks of the drowning which were echoed from all parts of the town, with a pathos and vehemence that pierced the hearts of all observers. One man is mentioned as being borne along the rapid current from Upper-bridge over Victoria-bridge upon a box or piece of wood, whose shrieks rent the air with a most painful vehemence, whilst around him, and subsequently, were observed the violent struggles of men and women buffeting with the current and the wreck for life. The horrors of this scene were only relieved by the excitement caused in the minds of the bystanders in the escape of their friends and neighbours Amongst the details which have been furnished us during our enquiries, we present the following incidents, in addition to those given last week.

Mr. Kaye, one of the occupants of a house in Scarfold, was washed out of his own house, and driven through a narrow space, between two houses up the Ribbleden stream, and past the Rose and Crown. Here he was observed by some friends, who extended a flag pole from the windows, by which means he was rescued from his perilous position. He sustained, however, serious injuries, and the loss of his relatives has produced such a relapse, that he is not expected to recover. In the same locality Mr. Woodcock, his wife, and one child, had a very narrow and extraordinary escape. After two of the children had been washed away from him, his wife and remainder of the family were huddled together in one corner, whilst the father was busily engaged in breaking through a partition wall to effect their escape. Whilst thus engaged the floor gave way, and the wife and child removed to an adjoining corner, which also gave way. They removed again with, the same result, when they got into the fourth corner, and shortly afterwards, Mr. Woodcock succeeded in making a communication through which he rescued his wife and family, and had only just escaped when the house fall. The subjoined statement of Mr. Barraclough has been furnished us, and will be read with interest.


My residence is at the bottom of South-lane, in Holmfirth, and my threshold about sixteen feet above the bed of the river. At a quarter before one, I was awoke by my wife: she asked me what that rush was? I said it was the wind, but I was not quite awake. I put my clothes on, and made the alarm that the water was up to my door-stone : that was at one o’clock. I then went out, turned my attention to the churchyard, and saw a man just drowning — the water was about four feet deep ; Matthew Fearns was his name. I dragged him out, and took him into my house, and left him there, and then went to see after my daughter living at Nathan Littlewood’s, Ribbledon-road, and on my way back I tumbled over the wife of the above Matthew Fearns, dead on the road. The thought struck me, I must not stay with the dead, but try to save the living, so I left her just where she was. My attention was next attracted by six persons on the top of a house ridge, one side of which stands in the river. I got upon a wall, and shouted out to them, “Stay where you are, for the water I believe is about to lower.” I then attempted to make my way to them, but saw that I could not with safety. I waited five minutes, and I believe the water lowered four or five feet. I then got on to a piece of timber, and from one piece of timber to another, I got to George Haigh’s shop, close to James Whiteley’s house. I then lost my footing, and fell up to the neck in water. I got out, and William Martin then shouted out of his chamber window, “Come and save us,” and I said, “I will shortly.” He said, “You can now if you will.” He then flung out a mattress out of the bed, and then flung five children, and I caught them and handed them to his brother, who had then come to my assistance, and he took, them to my house, where they were put to bed. Martin and his wife came down by a ladder which was handed over to me. Another long ladder came, and was put to James Whiteley’s window. I then went up the ladder, through the window into the back room next the river, and while I was there one part of the house side fell into the river. I went up one flight of stairs on the back side next the river, into the attic, and then up through the roof, and shouted, “Where are you.” They said, “We are all here.” “Come, then,” I said, “I’ll try to save you.” I then brought them down, put them all out of the chamber window, James Whiteley, his wife, two sons, and two daughters ; parties took them away to my house and the neighbours, and then they were put to bed. I then came down myself into the street, which was still swimming with water, and turning my head up to the place from which I had fetched Whiteley’s family, I saw four more persons. I went up the ladder again in the same way, and brought down Charles Marples, his wife and servant, and a little girl who had made their escape through the ceiling and slates of the roof of a house near to Victoria-bridge.

* There is a slight difference between this and the generally understood time when the flood was at its height, but this is easily accounted for by the difference of clocks, or in their absence, speaking only from memory, and the excitement of the occasion — Ed. H.C.


An eye-witness, who observed the impetuosity of the flood, states, that the whole six houses in Water-gate were completely lifted off their foundations in one entire mass, and that after proceeding about fifty yards, borne on the stream like a ship on the waves, they suddenly broke away, and crumbled to pieces like dirt, swallowing up the peaceful slumbering inhabitants in one rude vortex. “Behold there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead!”


The following communication was forwarded to Sir George Grey, the Secretary for the Home Department, on Sunday last, by the three magistrates acting for the Holmfirth division of the West Riding:—

Court-house, Holmfirth, February 8, 1852.
To the Right Hon. Sir George Grey, Bart.
We, the undersigned acting magistrates for the Holmfirth district, desire to lay before you further particulars relative to the unfortunate and lamentable calamity which has befallen this town and neighbourhood. Our clerk gave you a general statement of the occurrence on Thursday last. Since then the coroner has formally opened the inquest and adjourned the same to Wednesday, the 18th instant, in order that time may be given for excitement to subside and the important investigation be gone into with calm deliberation ; and it will also afford time for all parties interested to obtain legal assistance if they think proper. It is impossible in the present state of affairs to estimate the extent of the loss of property, and unfortunately the property destroyed is that from which the labouring population derived their subsistence. Water power being so essential to the prosperity of a manufacturing district, the manufacturers naturally erect their mills upon the stream, and from the bursting of the reservoir, as you will see from a perusal of the Huddersfield Chronicle, (a copy of which we send by this post) the destruction of mill property is so great, that a very large proportion of the population must be thrown out of employment for many months to come. The loss of life and property being so serious, and as we consider ourselves the protectors of life and property in this locality, we are materially anxious that the fullest investigation should be gone into, and we fervently pray that you will be pleased to send a competent engineer to attend the inquest, and assist in this important enquiry. We are the more particularly anxious on this subject because reports are prevalent that another reservoir is not safe ; but of this we do not give an opinion. You will also learn from the newspaper, that a preliminary meeting was held in Huddersfield, yesterday afternoon, at which, a large sum was subscribed, and a general meeting is called for to-morrow evening. We held a meeting at Holmfirth last night, when £900 was subscribed in the room, and when you consider that a many comparatively wealthy men have lost their all, and the property of others has suffered serious damage, the amount then subscribed was very handsome. A general working Committee is appointed to give immediate relief to the destitute and solicit subscriptions, and the different London and country bankers will be applied to for the purpose of receiving contributions. But all this will fall short of meeting the emergency in this appalling case, and we would humbly suggest the propriety of a Queen’s letter to be read in all churches and dissenting chapels throughout the United Kingdom, and collections made as soon as possible and we trust you will see the necessity of this measure as it cannot be considered otherwise than a national calamity.
Might we also humbly solicit that you would be pleased to communicate with her Majesty and Prince Albert, and ask their gracious assistance in heading a subscription in the metropolis.
We beg your careful perusal of the paper, and wo can assure you there is no exaggeration in it ; a thriving and industrious mercantile community have their energies completely prostrated, and it will take years to place this locality in its former position, unless funds are raised to assist the manufacturers in the restoration of their property, as well as affording relief to the workpeople, until such time as the mill property is restored.
Waiting your reply, we are, Sir,
Your humble and obedient servants,
Joseph Charlesworth,
William Leigh Brook,
Joshua Moorhouse.

The following is the answer of Sir George Grey received at Holmfirth on Thursday, through his assistant-secretary, Mr. Waddington :—

Whitehall, 10th February, 1852.
I am directed by Secretary Sir George Grey to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th instant, and to inform you that he entirely concurs in your opinion, that the fullest investigation should take place with reference to the cause of the lamentable accident which has befallen the town and neighbourhood of Holmfirth, and a gentleman competent to assist in the investigation will be sent down for that purpose. But Sir George Grey thinks that if you are of the opinion that there is any foundation for the report of another reservoir being insecure, immediate steps should be taken by you for ascertaining its condition, and such measures be adopted m may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of a similar calamity.
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
your obedient servant,
H. Waddington.
The Magistrates acting at Holmfirth.


(From the Daily News.)

How is it that this terrible Holmfirth catastrophe does not excite that intense public interest which the destruction of the Amazon[8] aroused?

The loss of life is nearly as large ; the loss of property is far greater ; the ruin and devastation are incalculably greater ; the surprise and suddenness of the deluge rival those of the conflagration ; the water, — as the fire, — came on its victims like a thief in the night, carrying off a multitude of sleepers to eternity ; in both cases horrors on horrors had accumulated ; and yet the feelings, the sympathy, and the benevolence of the country, which were so strongly and deeply stirred by the tragedy at sea, seem to be but slightly moved (at a distance from the scene) by a parallel disaster which has afflicted a whole district on the land.

How is this? Is it that as yet we have scarcely realised the Holmfirth catastrophe? That we have not obtained in our mind’s eye a pictorial view of the bursting of this immense reservoir, and the inundation of its contents on a peaceful town, buried in slumber? That it wants the dramatic unity that it gave to the terrible burning of the Amazon such simplicity in its awfulness! That it leaves no tales of horrors behind it, to imprint it for life on our memories? Is it that our sympathies for human suffering are limited — that our stock of benevolence has for a while been exhausted — or that politics occupy at present all our thoughts?

Whatever the cause, this Holmfirth disaster — this destruction not merely of a whole town, but the uprooting by bursting, roaring, impetuous, irresistible floods of a whole district — this sweeping away of great factories, carrying off and down the inundation huge pieces of machinery, as if they were but the branches of trees or tire hurdles from a sheep-fold — this floating upwards of eighty human brings into eternity — has certainly not produced one-half the consternation of the Amazon disaster ; though it wants but few of its tragic mournful incidents ; and has terrible features of its own of even deeper interest. The surrounding towns of Manchester, Huddersfield, and Sheffield, have, to be sure, hurried to see the terrible scene ; for to them Holmfirth, and the valley in which it stood, was a daily reality, a seat of congenial industry and activity ; there lived their neighbours, their friends, their acquaintances, their business connexions ;— curiosity, too, took hundreds on Sunday to the afflicted spot, as if on a railway excursion to Alton Towers or Castle Howard. But here at a distance, where the very name of Holmfirth, — despite its great productive capacity and energy, — was comparatively unknown, the newspaper accounts of the catastrophe have not made a deep impression.

Let us shake off this apathy and arouse ourselves to the obligation this painful event suggests on us. Its consequences are too vast and serious to be borne by the locality ; and though the great manufacturing districts which surround and belt in Holmfirth will do their part liberally, not even their benevolence can supply funds adequate for the occasion. When, across the German Ocean, Hamburg was destroyed by fire, we contributed not less than £30,000 to the resuscitation of the Free City ; and when Quebec suffered from a similar cause, a Queen’s letter appealed to our generosity for effectual assistance ;— and not in vain. Now we have at home, in the very centre of the island, a fatality of as great magnitude. Surely it has claims on our liberality larger than even those which a German city and a colonial capital so readily provoked?

Where, as at Holmfirth, ruin has so suddenly been brought on a whole district ; where, in fact, its property has been either totally destroyed and seriously injured ; where the means of employment for the survivors are suspended, if not absolutely gone ; money is the first thing wanted. It is the exercise of charity that must precede investigation, enquiry, and even reflection. Winter is not yet over, and the inhabitants of Holmfirth, rich and poor, have been deprived of house and home. Persons who, ten days ago, were worth thousands and tens of thousands, are now as helpless, and even more hopeless than the labourers and artisans to whom they gave employment. Professional men, tradesmen, retired manufacturers, are all involved in a common ruin. In one night, property to the extent of £600,000 was destroyed, and by it the activity, the enterprise, the industry, and capital of a flourishing neighbourhood have been mined. Let our first impulse be to relieve such suffering ; then let us proceed to ascertain where the blame lies.

Holmfirth was a fine specimen of British enterprise of the best sort, and it will, we fear, also turn out to be another instance of the imperfect manner in which that enterprise is occasionally worked out. It was an attempt, and a successful one, to carry manufactures into the country, and there to move great works by water power. For that dispose the running streams of the valley were collected and impounded in reservoirs. This was done, under authority of parliament, by the inhabitants themselves ; a company was incorporated, commissioners were appointed, and funds subscribed. Enormous reservoirs were formed : so enormous, that the Bilberry one, when it burst, contained eighty feet in depth of water. These reservoirs were damned in by huge dykes. Unfortunately, either the engineering skill which planned them, or the capital which executed (perhaps both), was insufficient, and the dam of the Bilberry reservoir was built on ground through which numerous springs percolated. These injured and weakened it ; the water from the springs rose beneath the dam ; that from the reservoir oozed through it ; and when the late rains filled the reservoir, the immense pressure of the contents acted on an enfeebled bulwark ;— away it went, — and out rushed the water, carrying death, destruction, and ruin before it.

Some few persons interested appear to have had their ferns aroused ; but the great mass of the district slept secure ; fifty of the apprehensive watched the reservoir on the awful night that it burst ; but the rushing stream overtook them in their flight ere they could rouse the confiding towns ; and one old lady, a principal proprietor and sufferer, had, in her incredulity of the waters which were about to sweep away her mill, to be dragged against her will out of her own house for safety.

In the enquiry about to be instituted it is to be hoped that in so national a disaster the government will be represented and take part. We live in an age of great public works, many of which, like this, involve risk and danger to life and property ; and though their execution is very properly loft to private enterprise and capital, some central supervision for testing their sufficiency and then security ought to be exercised. In the case of railways we have it without any interference with their free agency ; and there can be no good reason why the principle so usefully applied to railways should not be extended to all great works of a public description. Our factories, our mines, our lunatic asylums, and our railways are under adequate inspection ;— why not our canals, our great drainage works, and reservoirs and dams, such as those in the valley of the Holme?

Pecuniary assistance is, however, the first requirement ; and the more liberally that is given, the deeper will be the interest the public will take in investigating the causes, and in providing remedies against the recurrence of such terrible disasters aa that which has swept away Holmfirth. What the state docs in France — and what it has, in the ease of our West Indian colonies, more than once done in England on such occasions — let us see whether we cannot now accomplish by our individual liberality, and thereby show our superior fitness for administering our own affaire.

Since the proceedings reported by us to Monday night last, the magistrates have been busily engaged in adopting such measures as were required, and in addition to the notices already reported, the following was issued on Wednesday evening :—

Holmfirth Flood.
Notice is hereby given that any person or persons having suffered damage by the flood, may on applying to Mr. Crosland, printer, Holmfirth, be supplied with schedules which they are requested to fill up and return the same on Monday next, from this date as addressed. Owners and occupiers to make separate returns.
Holmfirth, February 11th, 1852.

We observe with great pleasure that the Right Rev the Lord Bishop of Ripon, with that willing and kindly sympathy by which he is characterised, has arranged to preach in the several churches in Holmfirth to-morrow m reference to the recent flood. He will preach in the morning at Holmfirth church, in the afternoon at the National School-room, Holmbridge, and in the evening at Upperthong church. It is not intended to make collections on the occasion.


On Tuesday last the Rev. — Firth, of Holmfirth, and Mrs. Firth, received a very handsome donation of clothes from the Wesleyans of Halifax, for distribution amongst the sufferers by the late flood. At the same time five large packages were forwarded from the same source to the Town-hall, to the general committee, containing a large supply of new and old wearing apparel. The parcels were forwarded by a committee of some 60 or 70 ladies, acting under the presidency of Mrs. Roper, of Halifax, who thus evinced their deep sympathy in a most praiseworthy manner with the poor and destitute sufferers in this district.


A meeting of a number of the principal inhabitants of this township was held on Wednesday evening, to open a subscription on behalf of the sufferers at Holmfirth, when there were present Messrs. Jonas Kenyon, George Hey, James Lockwood, William Stockdale, William Carter, and James Kenyon. It was resolved to immediately commence a canvass of the whole town-ship for subscriptions, and the following handsome sums were subscribed in the room :— I. and I. Kenyon, £25 ; Wright Rhodes, £21 ; Lockwood and Stockdale, £10 10s. ; Wm. Carter, £10 10s. ; Edward Ellice, £10 and a friend, per Mr. Hall, 10s.



An enquiry was opened yesterday morning at the White Hart Inn, Holmfirth, before George Dyson, Esq., and jury, when evidence was received as to the finding and identification of the bodies at present recovered. The jury having answered to their names,

Mr. Dyson said the only object for which the jury was called together at this time was to receive evidence as to the discovery and identification of the bodies. This would merely be a preliminary enquiry, and he should direct them to give a verdict of “Found drowned.” The enquiry into the causes of this melancholy accident would be opened on Wednesday, but this was evidence which it was necessary to receive, and by taking it at this time it would relieve the subsequent proceedings.

The Foreman said that he understood one of the jurymen (Mr. Morehouse), was one of the Commissioners of the Holme reservoirs, and Mr. Morehouse was desirous of knowing how far that would affect his position on the jury.

The Coroner thought that under the circumstances it would be advisable that Mr. Morehouse should not sit.

Mr. Morehouse then retired.

Mr. James Horncastle said, that there were several gentlemen on the list who were sufferers by the recent flood, and he wished to know whether there would be any objection to their sitting on the jury.

The Coroner replied that he did not think there could be any objection to gentlemen who had suffered by this disaster, for if that was to be admitted as a valid objection it would be difficult to form a jury from the district. The reason why he had made an exception in the case of the commissioners was, that if there should be any culpability in reference to the bursting of this reservoir, it would attach to that body.

The Coroner then proceeded to take the evidence of the persons who found, and also the persons who identified the bodies given in the subjoined list, which occupied several hours. The evidence tendered was of little public interest, and its result is given in the table which follows :—


No. Name. Age. By whom found. By whom identified.
1 Hannah Bailey 40 J. M. Woodhead Ann Bailey
2 Infant, suspected to be Mrs. Bailey’s J. M. Woodhead Ann Bailey
3 Hannah Shackleton John Crosland John Brook
4 J. Earnshaw 70 Joseph Turner Emery Earnshaw
5 T. Shackleton 33 John Hinchliffe John Brook
6 Jas. Shackleton 1 John Hinchliffe John Brook
7 Eliz. Hartley 5 George Brook David Hartley
8 A girl unknown 2 John Hinchliffe
9 Joe Metterick 1 John Shaw James Metterick
10 A girl unknown 5 John Shaw G. B. Sanderson
11 Hannah Crosland 19 W. Dyson Dan Crosland
12 Ellen Wood 22 John Maite Bathsheba Wood
13 J. Charlesworth 14 John Rowbottom John Charlesworth
14 A. Woodcock 17 John Rowbottom Richard Woodcock
15 Ann Beaumont 14 Thomas Buckley Ann Beaumont
16 Sarah Woodcock 12 W. Dyson Richard Woodcock
17 Emily Sandford Thomas Fallas Ruth Barrowclough
18 S. Greenwood 46 John Rowbottom John Rowbottom
19 Amelia Fearnes 30 Joseph Clegg George Shore
20 J. Charlesworth 16 Joseph Clegg John Charlesworth
21 A boy unknown 11 Inspector Brier James Haigh
22 Eliza Marsden 47 Thomas Haigh F. Marsden
23 James Lee 65 James Bailey Job Lee
24 Jos. Marsden 14 John Kenyon F. Marsden
25 William Exley 32 John Kenton Thomas Armitage
26 Eliza Matthews 12 James Bailey Benjamin Roebuck
27 Lydia Greenwood 46 John Exley Benjamin Roebuck
28 Abel Earnshaw 5 Thomas Buckley James Beaumont
29 Jonathan Crosland 39 John Kenyon Dan Crosland
30 J. Crosland 21 Thomas Haigh Dan Crosland
31 Mary Hellawell 28 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
32 Geo Hellawell 9 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
33 Sarah Hellawell 6 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
34 Elizabeth Hellawell 4 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
35 John Hellawell 2 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
36 Ann Hellawell 1 W. Moorhouse Thomas Taylor
37 Hannah Dodd 30 Thomas Haigh John Shaw
38 Sidney Hartley 41 Thomas Haigh David Hartley
39 George Hartley Jas. Charlesworth David Hartley
40 Chs. Earnshaw 30 John Earnshaw Emery Earnshaw
41 John Ashall 32 Charles Roebuck James Cockrane
42 Margaret Ashall 30 John Earnshaw James Cockrane
43 Sarah Jane Sandford 9 John Earnshaw Ruth Barrowclough
44 Martha Crosland 17 W. Roberts Dan Crosland
45 James Booth 60 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
46 Nancy Booth 44 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
47 William Heeley 45 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
48 Lydia Brook 28 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
49 Hannah Brook 11 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
50 Elizabeth Dodd 7 Jonathan Roberts Jonathan Roberts
51 Ruth Charlesworth 1 Jonathan Roberts John Charlesworth
52 Nancy Marsden 53 John Mitchell Jonathan Roberts
53 Sarah H. Dodd 2 Firth Barber John Shaw
54 Chas. Crosland 13 Samuel Hardy Dan Crosland

The coroner intimated his intention of reserving the case of Elizabeth Marsden, Mrs. Fearns, Mr. James Lee, and S. Greenwood, for more lengthened enquiry, at the inquest on Wednesday next.


In addition to the above inquests were held on the following bodies, on Saturday, at the respective inns where laid :—

Rock Inn, Smithy Place. — William Metterick, 38, and a daughter of Matthew Fearns, 6 months. — Total, 2.

Traveller's Inn, Honley. — Mary Ann Hartley, 39, James Hartley, and J. Metterick, 3, and a boy unknown, about 4. — Total, 4.

Jacob's Well Inn, Honley. — Martha Hartley, 16, Chas. Thorpe, 14, Betty Heeley, 7, and a boy unknown, about 6. — Total, 4.

Golden Fleece Inn, Armitage Bridge. — A little girl, identified by Abraham Bailey, as his daughter, and a little boy unknown. — Total, 2.

Oddfellows' Arms, Big Valley. — Rose Charlesworth, 40. — Total, 1.


Joseph Marsden, aged 19, Water-street ; sandy hair, fresh and good looking.

Joseph Dodd, 48, Water-street ; low in stature, very thin, large nose, sandy hair and whiskers, bald on the top of the head.

James Metterick, 57, Water-street ; five feet eight inches, stout and good looking, very bald head and grey whiskers.

Mary Crosland, 19, Water-street ; middle size, very thin, pale looking, dark brown hair.

Mrs. Mary Metterick, 38, wife of James Metterick ; rather tall, moderately stout, slightly pockpitted, lost all her front teeth on the top side except one, and a blue mark over one eye,

Samuel Metterick, 20, Water-street ; five feet seven inches, slender and long in his limbs, thick upper lip, and dark brown hair.

Alfred Metterick, 8, Water-street ; very slender, strong hair and light coloured.

Hamer Charlesworth, 6, Water-street ; slender child, very light coloured hair.

Jonathan Sandford, 45, Dyson’s Mill ; six feet, stout, round shoulders, sandy hair and whiskers, slightly pockpitted, and very bald on the top of the head,

Richard Shackleton, 31, Holmfirth ; five feet nine inches, brown curly hair, dark eyes, and a brown mark on the arm between the wrist and elbow.

Grace Hirst Shackleton, 4½, Holmfirth ; small child of her age, dark brown hair, and a slight scar from a burn on the side of her neck.

Ellen Ann Hartley, 3, Holmfirth Mill ; light-coloured hair, very much turned up in front.

Ann Bailey, 4, Upperbridge ; not tall, but stout ; thick and dark hair about 2½ inches long ; a little scorbutic eruption on one eye ; and had on a light linsey night-gown.

Alfred Ashall, 2 ; very fine, stout child ; eruption above one eye ; rather light hair.

The above lists give an apparent total of 81, but there is little doubt that amongst those intered as unknown were the bodies of several who are described in the last list as missing, but were not identified before interment, and that the actual total missing is 77, as stated in the following list.

Houses. Names of Occupier. Adults. Married. Unmarried. Fathers. Children. Children left Destitute.
1 James Booth 3 2 1 0 0 0
2 Nancy Marsden 3 0 3 0 1 0
3 Joseph Dodd 2 2 0 1 2 0
4 Jonathan Crosland 3 1 2 1 4 Infant 4 ms.
5 John Charlesworth 1 1 0 0 5 4
6 James Metterick 6 3 3 2 4 4
7 Joshua Earnshaw 3 2 1 2 1 0
8 Jonathan Sandford 2 1 1 1 2 0
9 Richard Woodcock 1 0 1 0 1 0
10 Joseph Hellawell 1 1 0 0 5 0
11 Amor Bailey 1 1 0 0 2 0
12 Samuel Greenwood 2 2 0 0 1 0
13 John Ashall 2 2 0 1 1 0
14 James Lee 1 1 0 1 0 0
15 John Kaye 2 2 0 1 2 0
16 Sidney Hartley 2 2 0 1 3 0
17 Richard Shackleton 2 2 0 1 3 0
18 Unknown 0 0 0 0 1 0
19 Joseph Brook 1 1 0 0 1 0
38 26 12 12 39 12
Children 39
Total lost 77


St. David’s Church, Holmbridge. — On Monday last the following individuals were interred at St. David’s Church, Holmbridge ; the service being performed by the incumbent, the Rev. J. Fearon — viz.:

Joshua Earnshaw, of Hinchliffe Mill (aged 72)
Charles Earnshaw, of Hinchliffe Mill (36)
Joshua Crosland, of Hinchliffe Mill (21)
Jonathan Crosland, of Hinchliffe Mill (39)
Hannah Crosland, of Hinchliffe Mill (17)
Martha Crosland, of Hinchliffe Mill (15)
Charles Crosland, of Hinchliffe Mill (3)
Rose Charlesworth, of Hinchliffe Mill (39)
Joshua Charlesworth, of Hinchliffe Mill (16)
James Charlesworth, of Hinchliffe Mill (14)
John Charlesworth, of Hinchliffe Mill (4)
Ruth Charlesworth, of Hinchliffe Mill (1)
William Healey, of Hinchliffe Mill (46)

Wesleyan Chapel, Hinchliffe Mill. — On Sunday last the following persons were interred at the Wesleyan Chapel. Hinchliffe Mill :—

William Exley, of Hinchliffe Mill (46)
William Metterick, of Hinchliffe Mill (30)
Jane Metterick, of Hinchliffe Mill (3)
Joe Metterick, of Hinchliffe Mill (1)
Abel Earnshaw, of Hinchliffe Mill (5)
Elizabeth Dodd, of Hinchliffe Mill (7)
Sarah Ann Dodd, of Hinchliffe Mill (1)
Hannah Dodd, of Hinchliffe Mill (30)
Joshua Marsden, of Hinchliffe Mill (16)

On Monday the following were interred, — viz:

Mrs Brook, of Hinchliffe Mill (30)
Hannah Brook, of Hinchliffe Mill (10)
Eliza Marsden, of Hinchliffe Mill (45)
Nancy Marsden, of Hinchliffe Mill (40)

St. John’s Church, Upperthong. — On Sunday the following bodies were interred :—

John Ashall, of Holmfirth (36)
Mrs Ashall, of Holmfirth (30)
Alfred Ashall, of Holmfirth (2)
Mrs Fearnes, of Holmfirth (30)
Lydia Fearnes, of Holmfirth (6 months)
Mary Hellawell, of Holmfirth (28)
George Hellawell, of Holmfirth (9)
Sarah Hellawell, of Holmfirth (6)
Elizth. Hellawell, of Holmfirth (4)
John Hellawell, of Holmfirth (2)
Ann Hellawell, of Holmfirth (1)
James Lee, of Holmfirth (65)

On Monday—

A girl unknown (—)
A boy unknown (—)
Tamer Shackleton (33)
Hannah Shackleton (9)
James Shackleton (1)

Lane (Independent) Chapel, Holmfirth. — On the same day the following bodies were interred in the above chapel :—

James Booth, of Hinchliffe Mill (60)
Mrs. Booth, of Hinchliffe Mill (44)
Mrs. Bailey, of Holmfirth (32)
— Bailey (daughter), of Holmfirth (—)

Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel. — There were also two interments at this place of worship on Sunday, viz. :—

Alfred Woodcock, of Holmfirth (13)
Sarah Jane Sandford, of Dyson’s Mill (9)

And on Monday—

Amelia Sandford, of Dyson’s Mill (3)
Sarah Woodcock, of Holmfirth (11)

New Mill Church. — On Sunday last the Hartley family were interred at this place, viz.:—

Sydney Hartley, of Holmfirth (40)
Mrs. Hartley, of Holmfirth (39)
Martha Hartley, of Holmfirth (16)
James Hartley, of Holmfirth (14)
Elizabeth Hartley, of Holmfirth (3)
Ellen Ann Hartley, of Holmfirth (1)
George Hartley, of Holmfirth (3 months)



Branch held at the house of Mr. John Green, Waggon and Horses, Holmebridge.

Jonathan Crosland — £8
William Metterick — £8

Female Branch.

Rose Charlesworth — £6

Branch held at the house of Mr. Job Littlewood, at Butchers’ Arms, Hepworth.

Samuel Greenwood — £8
Mrs. Greenwood — £8


Branch held at the house of Mr. Thomas Boothroyd, Rose and Crown, Holmfirth.

James Lee — £8
William Metterick — £8


James Metterick — £6


Branch held at the house of Mr. W. Dyson, White Hart Inn, Holmfirth.

Mrs. Shackleton — £5

Branch held at Jackson Bridge.

Sidney Hartley — £8
Mrs. Hartley — £5

Branch held at the house of Mr. Howe, George and Dragon Inn, Holmfirth.

Mrs. Hellawell — £5


Branch held at the house of Mr. McDonald, Crown Hotel, Holmfirth.

Mrs. Fearns — £4

William Metterick was also a member of the Ancient Order of Shepherds.

We have reason to believe that calls have been made upon other lodges, and branches of the above lodges, but up to the present time we have been unable to ascertain the amounts paid.


The following is the most correct return which we have been enabled to ascertain of the damage committed, but it is presented merely as an approximate statement, and without official authority.



Mills — 4
Dyehouses — 10
Stoves — 3
Cottages — 27
Tradesmen’s houses — 7
Shops — 7
Bridges — 6
County Bridge — 1
Warehouses — 10
Barns and Stables — 8


Dyehouses and Stock — 5
Mills (partially destroyed) — 17
Stoves — 3
Cottages — 129
Tradesmen’s houses — 7
Larges Shops — 44
Public-houses — 11
Bridges — 5
Country Bridge — 1
Land, acres — 200
Warehouses — 4
Barns, &c. — 13
Places of Worship — 3
Iron Foundries — 2


The water courses and mill falls throughout are partially destroyed or damaged, and five of the mills also very seriously damaged.


The damage to farming stock and cattle has not yet been ascertained.


Adults — 4896
Children — 2142
Total — 7038
Average weekly earnings when in full work, — £3748
Total number dependent on property destroyed, — 10,000


There is reason to believe, from investigations already made that the injury has been much overstated, and that it will be found to be to the amount between TWO hundred thousand and TWO HUNDRED and fifty thousand POUNDS.


We have been favoured with the following statement by Mr. William Dyson, of the White Hart Inn, whose noble and successful efforts to save the lives of several of his neighbours on the night in question, cannot be mentioned otherwise than in terms of praise. Mr. Dyson says :— “On the Wednesday evening, between seven and eight o’clock, I called the persons then in my house out into the street, to look at what I thought something wrong in the general appearance of the water. We all returned, however, into my house, though agreed in opinion that there was something wrong. In some twenty minutes afterwards several workmen came in from the mills, and said that the water had lowered about a foot in the last twenty minutes. With this assurance we were somewhat satisfied ; and our company having left, we went to bed between eleven and twelve o’clock, and I fell asleep. Mrs. Dyson awoke me about one o’clock, and said the water was coming into the house. I immediately jumped out of bed, ran down to a back door on the second floor, intending by that means to let my family out by the back door, which is on a level with the ground behind, though chamber high. At the same moment the water burst in the door, and I with difficulty escaped with my life. The water completely filled the lower rooms, washed down the bread creel, which was affixed to the kitchen ceiling, and swept down everything before it. As soon as I had secured my own family, I ran across the stream in the street to Mr. James Shackleton’s, one side of whose house had fallen. I said, ‘Where are you all?’ and a voice cried out ‘We are here.’ I passed the children over to Jonathan Roebuck, and succeeded in carrying Miss Shackleton on my back, in her night dress, into my own house in safety. I then went down to Mill Hill to see what had become of the others, and I could see a woman in her chemise. I shouted out. ‘Who’s there?’ and she answered, ‘Mrs. Tate,’ adding, ‘my child is lost and I will never leave the place.’ I said — ‘Then I must compel you, it is no use looking for the dead, you must save your life.’ I rushed to, and swung her across my back, carried her through the water into my own house, and thus saved her life.”

We may add that the lower rooms of Mr. Dyson’s house were completely gutted, and be has, at the lowest estimate, sustained damage to the extent of £200.


No circumstance on record will ever serve to illustrate the ready charity of the English people more than the readiness with which they have responded to the appeal of our respected chief constable, Thomas Mallinson, Esq., which appeared in our columns on Saturday last, for a supply of clothes for those who had been stripped of their all by the flood of Thursday morning week. Not a railway train has since arrived in the town but has brought substantial proofs in the shape of boxes, barrels, hampers, and bundles full of clothes, shoes, hats, and other useful articles, of the sympathy which the condition of the sufferers had excited throughout the country. Many of the donors have withheld their names, and in the hurry and bustle which has prevailed in Holmfirth the entry of the names of others has not been so correct as could have been desired, so that the following list will not perhaps comprise the names of half the people to whom the committee are indebted for clothing, yet it is as complete as we could possibly make it under the circumstances :— Mr. J. Wigglesworth, Halifax ; Mr. Dowse, Marsden ; Mr. W. Dewhirst, Lincoln ; Mr. L. H. Knowles, &c., Gomersal ; Miss Phillips, Wakefield, (two boxes) ; Miss Stocks and Miss Battersby, (three bales and one hamper of clothes) ; J. Mallinson, Esq., (large bale of bundles) ; Mrs. Shaw, Huddersfield, (new clothing) ; Miss Hilts, (two parcels of clothes from Longley Hall) ; T. P. Crosland, Esq., Huddersfield, (three parcels) ; Mr. Joseph Ratcliffe, (two carpet bags full of clothing) ; Mrs. B. Vickerman, (two parcels) ; Mrs. Chas. Atkinson, Dalton, (clothes, boots, and shoes) ; Miss Wright, Halifax, (one box of general clothing and one parcel) ; Mr. Brook, Westgate, Huddersfield, (one parcel) ; Mr. Joseph Batley, of Armitage Bridge, (one large parcel) ; Mrs. John Jackson, Halifax, (one parcel) ; Mrs. Clark, Halifax, (one bundle of general clothing ; Miss Walton, Halifax, one box of new dresses, &c. ; Methodist New Connexion, Halifax, five packages of general clothing ; Messrs. Thomas Brook and Samuel Bateman, Bradford, one bundle and five packages from Ackworth School, and one bundle without name, forwarded by Thos. Mallinson, Esq. ; Mrs. Sykes, one bundle ; Mrs-Jas. Walker, one bundle ; Rev. Mr. Frost, one parcel ; Messrs. Fenton and Armitage, two parcels ; Mr. Charles Anderson, King-street, Huddersfield, one parcel of cloth ; Mr. Timothy Parrells, one parcel, forwarded by Mr. Mallinson ; Mrs. J. Beaumont, dare-hill, one box of clothes ; Messrs. Garforth, Dukenfield, one package ; Mr. Lumb, Wakefield, one package ; Messrs. Fearne, Hull, one package, forwarded to the Rev. T. G. Fearne ; Hew. S. Sharp and Messrs. Linfield and Stanfield, Wakefield, one box of clothes, forwarded to Mr. Crosland ; the ladies of Brighouse, per Miss Greeves, Huddersfield, one parcel of general clothing ; the Bishop of Ripon, a bale of clothing, consisting of stockings, blankets, flannel, &c., all new.

In addition to the above large quantities of wearing apparel and other articles, in bales and parcels, have been received from ladies and gentlemen whose names have not been ascertained.


Captain Moody, government engineer, arrived in Holmfirth yesterday morning, and immediately proceeded to inspect the reservoir and valley. He will attend the inquest on Wednesday next to watch the proceedings.


We are informed that special services will be held in the Independent and Wesleyan chapels, and in the Town-hall to-morrow (Sunday), when collections will be made in behalf of the funds for the relief of the sufferers.


We have been favoured with the following report of Mr. George Crowther, engineer and surveyor, which was laid before the Holmfirth Committee at its evening sitting yesterday. This, we trust, will tend to allay the alarm now so general in the neighbourhood. The report is as follows :—

To the Committee sitting at Holmfirth.
Having been favoured with your instructions to examine and report upon the present state of the two remaining Reservoirs, (Holme-sties and Bow Shaw), I have great pleasure in being able to say, after a careful inspection, that the former may be filled at present to the height of 45 feet, and the latter to the height or level of the waste channel, with perfect safety.
Remembering what has recently happened, I am not surprised at the state of the public mind and the frequent expressions of fear and doubt as to the security erf existing reservoirs, but I can assure them and you that there is nothing to apprehend which ought to cause the least disquiet or alarm.
I am, your obedient servant.
Geo. Crowther.
Huddersfield, 12th Feb., 1852.

The activity displayed during the last week in the moval of debris from the ever and streets, has resulted in a great improvement in the general appearance of the town. A similar spirit has pervaded the labourers in the various mills, and we are happy to hear that the work of restoration is so far advanced in many of them, that in the course of the ensuing week, and the week following, they will be again running.

Whilst engaged in removing the wreck, the labourers on the ruins in Hollowgate discovered a cash-box, which has not yet been identified ; and on Thursday afternoon, as Mr. D. Hinchliffe was watching the workmen removing the ruins at the foot of Victoria Bridge, he saw a purse amongst the rubbish, which on examination was discovered to contain nearly £100. The owner has not yet been discovered.

During the exceedingly fine weather which prevailed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the valley was thronged with crowds of visitors. The number of tickets issued from the Holmfirth station for the week ending Thursday last was 15,000. In addition to this number must be reckoned the immense influx of visitors in carriages and on foot, which, at a moderate estimate, would not be less than 15,000. If to these we add the visitors on Thursday and yesterday, the number of people visiting Holmfirth since the melancholy occurrence will not be much under 40,000.


Holmfirth — £2082 1s. 9d.
Huddersfield — £8388 1s. 0d.
Bradford — £1034 6s. 0d.
Leeds — £700 0s. 0d.
Meltham — £101 0s. 0d.
Kirkburton — £87 0s. 0d.
Armitage Bridge — £100 0s. 0d.
total — £12,492 8s. 9d.



Yesterday (Friday) a public meeting was held in Bradford, called by the Mayor, Samuel Smith, Esq., upon a requisition presented to him numerously and respectably signed. The meeting was called for twelve o’clock, in the large room at the Exchange Buildings, at which time about 100 gentlemen were present, most of whose names are given in the subscription list below.

The Mayor, on taking the chair, said they were met together that day to give practical effect to their sympathy for the sufferers in the sad calamity which had recently taken place at Holmfirth. He had no doubt but they were all well acquainted with the details, as all would have read them in the newspapers. As for himself he had visited the spot, and he must say that the scene baffled all description. The amount of suffering would be unparalleled, and it was a gratification to him that Englishmen were well known to possess this feeling, that where distress existed they were always ready to render assistance. In connection with the object of their present meeting he believed Huddersfield had subscribed nearly £8,000, and Holmfirth £1,600. He (the Mayor) had thought of sending over to Huddersfield for a deputation to attend that meeting, but a friend of his had told him that it might be looked upon as rather dictatorial ; but, however, he had the greatest confidence in the people of Bradford, and he had no doubt but that they would see it to be their bounden duty to follow the example so nobly set in Huddersfield. After apologising for the absence of the Rev. Dr. Burnet, the vicar, who was suffering from ill health, the Mayor called upon John Rand, Esq., to move the first resolution.

Mr. Rand expressed his regret at the absence of the vicar, knowing as he did how deeply the rev. gentleman felt for these who suffered from this sad calamity: but when he saw the gentlemen before him, it was a guarantee that the objects of the meeting would be fully carried out. The press had put them in possession of the particulars of the painful consequences of this calamity, and in his opinion there could be no stronger claim to their sympathy and assistance. Mr. Rand, after briefly describing the awful catastrophe, moved a resolution expressive of their sympathy with the sufferers, and that a subscription should be immediately commenced for their relief. The resolution was seconded by Titus Salt, Esq., and earned unanimously.

The Mayor then said, that some questions had been asked as to the particular manner in which the money was to be disposed of — he (the Mayor) had made some enquiries on this subject, but he had heard nothing definite ; but he felt confident, and was sure that the meeting would also be satisfied, that when such gentlemen as Mr. John Brooke and Messrs. Mallinson, Crosland, and Willans were on the committee, the money would be properly and judiciously applied.

Mr. John Haigh, a gentleman residing at Huddersfield, and also carrying on business at Bradford, gave an account of the operations and success of the Huddersfield committee.

The Rev. W. F. Black suggested that the canvass for subscriptions should be extended to the working classes.

The Mayor then requested that slips of paper might be handed round for subscriptions, and the following was the result :—

Milligan, Forbes, and Co — £100 0s. 0d.
Titus Salt, Esq — £100 0s. 0d.
Walker and Co. — £100 0s. 0d.
W. Horsfall and Brothers — £100 0s. 0d.
H. A. and W. M. Harris and Co. — £100 0s. 0d.
John Priestman, Esq. — £50 0s. 0d.
John Rand and Sons — £50 0s. 0d.
Edward Ripley and Sons — £40 0s. 0d.
George Rogers, Esq. — £26 5s. 0d.
W. Garnett, Esq. — £25 0s. 0d.
T. Clayton, Esq. — £25 0s. 0d.
G. W. Addison and Sons — £25 0s. 0d.
W. Peel and Co. — £25 0s. 0d.
T. Aked, Esq. — £25 0s. 0d.
S. Smith Brothers — £25 0s. 0d.
W. Cheesbrough, Esq. — £25 0s. 0d.
John Milligan, Son, and Co. — £20 0s. 0d.
Samuel Laycock, Esq — £20 0s. 0d.
David Ramsden, Esq — £20 0s. 0d.
D. Illingworth and Sons — £20 0s. 0d.
Sarah Elizabeth Garnett — £10 10s. 0d.
Charles Clough, Esq. — £10 0s. 0d.
John Taylor, Esq., Solicitor — £10 0s. 0d.
F. Spire, Esq. — £10 0s. 0d.
John Rawson, Esq., Solicitor — £5 5s. 0d.
L. C. Hill, Esq. — £5 5s. 0d.
Anonymous, per Mr. Haigh — £5 0s. 0d.
Mr. Thomas Holmes — £5 0s. 0d.
Mr. A. S. McLaurin — £5 0s. 0d.
Messrs. Illingworth and Kenion — £5 0s. 0d.
Mr. Thomas Barber — £5 0s. 0d.
Dr. McTurk — £5 0s. 0d.
Mr. David Abercrombie — £5 0s. 0d.
Rev. Dr. Acworth — £3 3s. 0d.
Rev. Elijah Jackson — £3 3s. 0d.
Rev. J. Glyde — £2 2s. 0d.
Mr. J. Morren — £2 2s. 0d.
Mr. J. Dale — £2 2s. 0d.
Mr. W. German — £2 2s. 0d.
Mr. D. Tuke — £2 2s. 0d.
Mr. Edward West — £2 0s. 0d.
Mr. V. Rochfort — £1 1s. 0d.
Mr. C. Woodcock — £1 ls. 0d.
Mr. John Pratt — £1 1s. 0d.
Rev. W. F. Black — £1 1s. 0d.
Rev. J. Harrison (Horton) — £1 1s. 0d.
Rev. P. Henderson — £1 0s. 0d.
Rev. J. H. Ryland — £1 0s. 0d.
Mr. Edward Cockerham (Horton) — £1 0s. 0d.
Total — £1034 6s. 0d.

A committee was appointed to canvass the town.



By the courtesy of the Leeds Intelligencer, we have received a slip of their report of a “private meeting” convened by circular, issued by George Goodman, Esq., Mayor of Leeds, and held at the Leeds Court-house, on Thursday at noon, “to consider in what manner the results of the Holmfirth calamity can be best mitigated.” A very numerous assembly, including many of the leading gentlemen of the town, responded to his worship’s invitation. The business of the meeting was commenced by the Mayor, who presided, with a few remarks appropriate to the occasion, and by reading some communications, and among others a letter from Mr. Brook, relative to what had been done at Huddersfield, where already the subscriptions amounted to upwards of £6,000. With regard to the extent and character of the calamity which had occurred, Mr. J. Cooper, speaking from the report of his brother, who had visited the scene, fully corroborated the newspaper reports, as did also Mr. Hyde, who had never looked upon such a scene of desolation before, and hoped never to see such a one again, and the Rev. G. W. Couder, who assured the meeting that the newspaper accounts were not exaggerated. Mr. Ridsdale stated that, on the nature and extent of the calamity at Holmfirth being known, the members of the Leeds Stock Exchange had immediately subscribed £100, and the clerks £7, for the relief of the sufferers ; and he had great satisfaction in placing those contributions at the disposal of the meeting.

The Mayor took occasion to say that he should himself be ready, and that Mr. Barr (clerk to the magistrates), Mr. Ikin (town clerk), and Mr. Cawood, were also willing and anxious to do what they could in furtherance of the object of the meeting. A gentleman from Holmfirth (Mr. Brook) was introduced to the meeting by Mr. J. Jowitt, jun., and the opportunity was taken of obtaining from him some information as to the effects of the recent catastrophe, chiefly in reference to the extent to which operative labour is thrown out of employment by the destruction of mills. It appears that there are 80 billies at a stand or destroyed, and that the wages earned by the hands employed directly or indirectly in connexion with this machinery were estimated at two thousand pounds a week. As the meeting, however, was only a preliminary one, it was suggested that this enquiry was out of place at the present stage of the proceedings, and it was discontinued. Mr. Gott then moved a resolution, to the effect that a public meeting should be called, and that a requisition should be addressed to the Mayor to convene such meeting. Mr. Hall seconded the motion, and the resolution was earned unanimously.

The Mayor signified his assent to the proposed meeting, and formally ratified it by signing a notice for convening a public meeting on Monday next at noon. Some doubts being expressed as to the convenience of holding the meeting in the Court-house, Mr. J. Smith, after conferring for a moment with Mr. Ridsdale, intimated that, on behalf of the members of the Stock Exchange, he had great pleasure in placing their hall at the service of the meeting for Monday ; and the offer being accepted, it was determined that the public meeting shall be held in the Stock Exchange Hall.

Mr. Hyde moved and Mr. Cooper seconded a resolution for appointing a committee to make the preparatory arrangements for the public meeting, and to collect information relative to the extent of the calamity and the necessities to be relieved, for the guidance and satisfaction of the meeting. This resolution being agreed to, seven gentlemen were placed on the committee, and Messrs. Barr, Ikin, and Cawood undertook, at the instance of the meeting, the office of honorary secretaries, and Mr. Hyde, that of treasurer. A conversation, in which Mr. Lupton, Mr. Jowitt, Mr. Hyde, and other gentlemen took part, then arose on the question whether a subscription should be forthwith commenced in the room, or it should await the further information which was expected to be obtained in time for Monday’s meeting ; and although several gentlemen offered their names with liberal sums, and probably the example would have been readily followed, had it been resolved formally to open the subscription list then and there, yet it seemed to be the more prevailing impression that it were better to postpone this proceeding till the amount of the loss and injury done could be better understood, and the best mode of relief more satisfactorily determined.

The Rev. J. A. Rhodes suggested the importance of having a precise and distinct understanding as to the arrangement under which the contribution of this town was to be made ; whether it was to go to a general fund, or to be dispensed under a separate power by a committee appointed by the Leeds subscribers. Residents on the spot had undoubtedly the advantage of a more intimate knowledge of the wants of their suffering neighbours, but they were at the same time more subject to importunity and undue influences. It was not only the working man, thrown out of employment by this calamity, for whom the public sympathy was claimed, but there was another class of sufferers for whose misfortune, borne perhaps in silence, all must deeply feel — for the family cast from affluence to poverty, the owner of property reduced to destitution. There was much immediate distress and suffering to be alleviated ; but, as the rev. gentleman remarked, we must look to ulterior wants — to the condition of the ruined manufacturer.

The Mayor having left the chair, Mr. Gott moved, and it was carried unanimously, that the thanks of the meeting be given to his worship for having called the meeting and for his presiding at it.

We are informed that though the subscription was not formally opened at the above meeting, seven gentlemen handed in their noting for £100 each.


A meeting was held according to notice, in the national school-room, Meltham, on Thursday evening, for the purpose of considering the best means of obtaining subscriptions to assist as far as possible in alleviating the present deplorable condition of those who have suffered in consequence of the bursting of the Bilberry reservoir.

The meeting was called at six o’clock, and Uriah Tinker, Esq., of Bent-house, was voted to the chair. In opening the meeting the Chairman said that he considered it almost superfluous to enlarge on what had already been stated at other meetings convened for the same purpose as the present, — reports of which they had doubtless all read with deep interest, through the medium of the public press ; and not only had they read detailed reports of the disasters that had occurred in a neighbouring valley, but most of them had been eye witnesses of the lamentable loss of property, and the still more lamentable loss of life ; and he had no doubt that the meeting would manifest such an expression of sympathy with the sufferers as would substantially prove the truth and sincerity of their feeling towards their afflicted neighbours, and help in a degree to relieve their wants.

The Rev. Joseph Hughes moved the first resolution, and in the course of his address, stated that he often met them in that room for the promotion of charitable purposes, but in no instance on so gloomy and heartrending an occasion as the present. He had last Friday visited the scene of desolation, and never before had he witnessed misery and distress so vividly portrayed as at that time. He was personally acquainted with some of those who were swept away by the all-devouring torrent, and with one especially, Mr. Jonathan Sandford, who was married by him (Mr. Hughes) about seven years ago, in Meltham Church. On that occasion the bells rung a merry peal, but how soon, alas, had mirth turned to sadness — he and all his household were now numbered with the dead. The tales of woe were many and distressing from the other side of the hill ; those who were yesterday in comfortable circumstances, were to-day reduced to penury ; yea, many who were possessed of thousands yesterday, were to-day left destitute of clothing and the common necessaries of life. He reminded them that the inhabitants of the other valley were their neighbours and their brethren, and if the love of God dwelt in the hearts of those present they could not but be ready to do good and distribute, for with such sacrifices God was well pleased. The rev. gentleman after a few further remarks, read the following resolution :—

That this meeting sympathises most deeply with the suffering inhabitants of Holmfirth, and the neighbourhood under the recent calamity caused by the “bursting of Bilberry Reservoir,” by which so many lives have been lost, and such extent of property swept away, reducing many of the survivors from comfortable circumstances in life to utter ruin, and depriving so many workpeople of employment for some time to come.

Mr. Edwin Eastwood seconded the resolution, which on being put to the meeting was carried unanimously.

Mr. Joshua Eastwood, in an eloquent address, moved the second resolution, to the effect that the meeting felt called upon to use every exertion in order to alleviate as far as possible the distress caused by this awful calamity ; and that a subscription be immediately set on foot for that purpose.

Mr. Lawford seconded the resolution, which was carried unanimously.

Mr. Joseph Hirst moved that Mr. Hirst, Revds. Mr. Hughes and Mr. Frost, Messrs. Joshua and Edwin East-wood, Mr. Joseph Roberts, Mr. Tinker, Mr. James Garlick, Mr. Haigh, the Rev. Mr. Thomas, Mr. Daniel Dyson, and Mr. Kilburn, be a committee, with power to add to their number, to solicit subscriptions throughout the township.

The resolution was seconded by Mr. Thomas Scholes, and adopted.

Mr. Joshua Eastwood was appointed treasurer, and after some touching remarks by Mr. Charles Brook, jun., the Chairman announced, at the close of the meeting, that upwards of £100 had been subscribed in the room. The following is the list of subscriptions :—

Uriah Tinker — £31 10s. 0d.
J. Eastwood and sons — £31 10s. 0d.
Rev J. Hughes — £5 0s. 0d.
Mrs. Hughes — £2 0s. 0d.
Miss Hirst — £5 0s. 0d.
John Kilburn — £5 0s. 0d.
Samuel Lees — £3 0s. 0d.
Joseph Roberts — £3 0s. 0d.
John Bray — £3 0s. 0d.
Daniel Dyson — £2 0s. 0d.
James Kilburn — £2 0s. 0d.
James Garlick — £1 0s. 0d.
T. H. Lawford — £1 0s. 0d.
Rev. Mr. Thomas — £0 10s. 0d.
John Earnshaw — £0 10s. 0d.
Total — £101 0s. 0d.


At Armitage-bridge a committee, of which the incumbent is chairman, has been appointed, and the district has been canvassed by authorised collectors. The sum received by them up to the present time amounts to about £100. This is quite independent of the £102 already announced as the contribution of the workpeople in the employ of Messrs. John Brooke and Sons. Amongst the subscribers we noticed the names of Joseph Batley, Esq., £10 ; Samuel G. Bentley, Esq., £10 ; Mrs. Brooke, Sibton Park, £10 ; Miss Laycock, £10 ; Mrs. Vickerman, £10 ; Rev. Henry Windsor, £10 ; Mr. E. Lockwood, £5 ; Mr. R. F. Poole, £5 ; Hannah Shaw and Sons, £5 ; Mrs. Brown, £1 ; Mr. B. Batley, £1 ; Mr. G. King, £1 ; Mr. F. Vickerman, £1 ; &c. &c.


Lines written on reading in the Fifth Edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle the munificent subscriptions of the inhabitants of Huddersfield towards relieving the destitution and suffering occasioned by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, in the valley of the Holme. Addressed to John Brooke, Esq., Chairman of the United Committees.

A cry is heard at midnight — a fearful hissing sound,
And then the waters madly rush ;— with one terrific bound
They burst their too frail banner, and whelm beneath their wave
The old, the young, the rich, the poor ; all in it find a grave.
The monuments of industry, the homes of English pride,
Are ‘whelm’d beneath their mighty force, and buried in their tide ;
Whilst still the waters onward roll and toss as feathery spray
Whato’er obstructs th’ impetuous course of their destructive way.
A ‘cry is heard at day-break :— a cry of mingled woe ;
(Such woe as this, Oh! God of Heaven! grant we may never know!)
For now revealed to their view,-stands forth in Ruin’s pride
The work of desolation ; and. there, too, side by side,
The coffin’d and the uncoffin’d dead, repose in tranquil sleep ;
But not for these, oh! not for these, are all the tears they weep
What will the living do? — bereft of house and home and bread ;
For all is lost and sunk beneath those waters dark and dread
But hush! another sound is heard, a voice of pitying love ;
(Such sounds as these above all else are register’d above ;)
And now these sons of sorrow are made to feel and know
That brothers’ hearts, with brothers’ love, still beat for them below.
God bless the men of Huddersfield! and let them take their stand,
The best, the noblest-hearted, in this our favour’d land ;
Their’s is the bright example, let their’s the blessing be ;
May future ages still to come th’ enduring record see.

Horbury, February 11th, 1852.


It will be seen by an announcement in another column that a second amateur performance will take place at the Theatre in this town, on Monday evening, the whole proceeds of which will be devoted to the fund now being raised for the relief of the sufferers by the recent Holmfirth catastrophe. We understand that Captain Armitage has given the free use of the building, Mr. Pratt supplies the printing gratis, and the gas company make a present of the illuminating power. We doubt not a handsome sum will be realised.


We understand that soon after the deplorable occurrence at Holmfirth, the overlookers and workmen in the employ of Messrs. John Brooke and Sons, of Honley, commenced a subscription in aid of the sufferers, by which upwards of £102 was raised. Among other contributions a benefit club, established amongst the weavers, paid over to the collectors the liberal donation of £14.


The Lord Bishop of Ripon is engaged to preach in the Cathedral of Ripon on Sunday, Feb. 22, when collections will be made on behalf of the sufferers by the Holmfirth inundation.


On Monday morning last some property deeds, which had been tossed by the flood into the mill belonging to Messrs. Wimpenny and Woodhead, manufacturers, Thongsbridge, were discovered by Mr. Woodhead, of that firm, amongst some dirt in the mill, and were taken by him to the office of Mr. Kidd, solicitor, Holmfirth.

  1. This was actually Joshua rather than his older brother Joseph.
  2. This should be Joseph Mettrick. The body of his father James was not found until July.
  3. This report is confusing since Martha was 22 months old. The reporter is possibly conflating this with the reports of the discovery of an infant at Hinchliffe Mill?
  4. Again, this is confusing as the Shackletons did not have a daughter named Ann. The age however does match Martha Bailey (1850-1852).
  5. This should be Joseph.
  6. This list contains one error: "Ann Greenwood" and "Eliza Matthews" were in fact the same person.
  7. The "few hours old" reference is inaccurate.
  8. Wikipedia: RMS Amazon (1851)].