Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Feb/1852) - District News

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.



THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE. — The news of this painful calamity cast a deep gloom over the inhabitants of this village, and has formed the all-absorbing topic of conversation since its occurrence. A strong feeling of commiseration for the unfortunate sufferers prevails, which it is to be hoped will take a practical form. This disaster and the recent heavy rains have caused public attention to be directed to the state of the reservoirs in this neighbourhood. Many persons have tortured themselves with the conviction that they were all unsafe, and in daily danger of bursting. So far as we can learn, however, there appears to exist no good grounds for dread ; yet, a searching examination into the present state of all reservoirs is both proper and desirable.

PUBLIC MEETING ON BEHALF OF THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS. — We observe that bills are posted, signed by the Rev. J. M. Maxfield, calling a public meeting of the inhabitants, to commence a subscription for the purpose of assisting “to alleviate the distress and misery of the sufferers” by the recent awful calamity at Holmfirth. The meeting will be held in the Town School, on Monday evening next, at six o’clock, and it is to be hoped that the appeal will be warmly responded to by all classes.


SLAITHWAITE RESERVOIRS, AND COLLECTION ON BEHALF OF HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS. — Considerable alarm having been felt in the neighbourhood, on account of the great height to which the water rose in the reservoir belonging to the Huddersfield Canal Company, particularly on Wednesday week (the night of the catastrophe at Holmfirth), and some suspicions as to the insecurity of the above reservoir, and that above it, at Cupwith Moor. A meeting was called, in consequence of a requisition addressed, by the principal inhabitants, to Mr. S. Wood Horsfall, constable, and was held in the vestry on Wednesday afternoon last. The Rev. C. A. Hulbert was called to the chair, and stated the object of the meeting, and read some resolutions passed at a meeting of the Local Improvement Committee, held at the parsonage on Monday evening preceding. It was stated that the water had risen within two feet of the top of the embankment on Wednesday evening, and that the shuttle was not drawn until Sunday morning last. The water was very high the whole of that day. A ridge of stones had recently been placed on the top of the bye-wash from six to nine inches high ; which raised the water considerably, and was deemed a dangerous encroachment, and the deep chasm, through which the water from the bye-wash fell, having had originally a stone-work face, which had been carried away, was said to endanger the whole embankment, and ought to be filled up. It was therefore proposed by Mr. William Dean, and seconded by Mr. Richard Horsfall, that a proper person or persons should be appointed to examine the state of the reservoir, and report thereon. An amendment was moved by Mr. Joseph Sykes, and seconded by Mr. John Dodson, “that it is necessary that the ridge of stones above referred to should be removed, and also that the chasm be filled up ; and that the chairman be requested to give notice to the Canal Company to that effect.” The Chairman having called on any gentleman present to express his opinion previous to the amendment being put, Mr. Carter, engineer (on behalf of the Railway Company), stated that in his opinion there was no danger to be apprehended, but that the subject had already received his particular attention, and any recommendation of that meeting would be duly attended to by the directors, although he could not pledge himself to any particular details. After some discussion on the state of the bye-wash, the original motion was withdrawn, and the above resolution was carried unanimously. Mr. Carter stated that the work would no doubt be done thoroughly by the company, and explained that the 6tones were placed instead of a plank, for which provision had been made in the original construction ; to which it was replied that the water was thereby raised above the puddling, as the bank had been raised some years ago about four feet, with only earth from the Holme delph, which would not hold water. It was also argued by Mr. Carter that the present bye-wash having become a natural one, the water fell perpendicularly on dead water below, and therefore did not wear away the chasm. The fact of the continual wearing away was, however, maintained by the meeting, and Mr. Carter concurred in the idea, that the chasm itself weakened the general strength of the embankment in resisting the body of water. Mr. Greenwood, sub-inspector of the canal, said that he had no apprehension of danger either to the Slaithwaite or Cupwith Reservoir. On Sunday last, he was preparing to come over, when the message arrived desiring his authority for drawing the shuttle. The meeting then resolved itself, at the suggestion of the chairman, into a committee, to consider what could be done on behalf of the sufferers by the bursting of the Holmfirth Reservoir. He announced that the Earl of Dartmouth had communicated to him his wish to contribute £50 for the immediate relief of the poorer sufferers, and was anxious to know whether any of his lordship’s tenants had suffered by the catastrophe. Frederick Thynne, Esq., of Westminster, his lordship’s agent, had also intimated his wish to contribute £20 to the same object. Subscriptions were then made, of which further details will be given in due time. Special sermons and collections in the church, and the Upper Slaithwaite school, are announced for Sunday next A public meeting was also proposed to be held in the National school-room, on Wednesday evening next Several friends undertook to collect, including the Rev. C. A. Hulbert, the Rev. S. P. Lampen, Mr. William Dean, surgeon, Mr. Edward Sykes, Post-office, Mr. James Hoyle, and Mr. Joseph Pickles, Slaithwaite.