Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Aug/1852)
The following are transcriptions of all of the content relating to the flood that appeared in the 21 August 1852 edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle. The individual sections are:
- Subscriptions for the Relief of the Sufferers
- Public Notices: Holmfirth Catastrophe
- Important Meeting, Yesterday, of the Central Committee
THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.
SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THE RELIEF OF THE SUFFERERS.
|Wm. Bayliss, Hatter||5||0||0|
|Mrs. Arthington, Stables Street||2||10||0|
|G. Woodhouse, Eastwood’s Factory||1||0||0|
|J. Oates, King Street||0||5||0|
|J. and I. Hudson, Butchers||5||5||0|
|Mr. Brown, Surveyor||2||0||0|
|Jno. Wilkinson, Upperhead Row||0||10||0|
AT a MEETING of the CENTRAL COMMITTEE for the RELIEF of the SUFFERERS at HOLMFIRTH, by the Bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, held in the Freemasons’ Hall, South Parade, Huddersfield, on FRIDAY, the 20th day of August, 1852,
JOHN BROOKE, Esq., in the Chair ;
Present :— The Huddersfield and Holmfirth United Committee, and representatives from London, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield, York, Hull, Sheffield, Bolton, Preston, Cleckheaton, Birstal, and Sowerby-bridge;
The report of the SUB-CENTRAL COMMITTEE, appointed at a meeting of the CENTRAL COMMITTEE, held on Wednesday, the 19th of May last, having been read,
It was resolved —
FIRST, — That the Report now read be received.
- Moved by John Sutcliffe, Esq., Huddersfield,
- Seconded by W. L. Brooke, Esq., Meltham Hall.
SECOND, — That the remaining one-third of the awards above £200, with the exception of Mrs. Hirst’s case, be paid.
- Moved by Mr. Wright, of Hull,
- Seconded by Mr. C. H. Jones, Huddersfield.
THIRD, — That with the view of restoring the Holme Valley to permanent prosperity, and subject to all matters in dispute respecting the Reservoirs being closed by a friendly agreement between the parties interested, or by an Act of Parliament if necessary, and subject also to the reduction of the interest which they offered on a former occasion, efficient assistance be given for the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir.
- Moved by Mr. Travis, of York,
- Seconded by Mr. Wright, of Hull.
FOURTH, — That the sum of £7000 be placed in the hands of Trustees, for the purpose of carrying out the preceding Resolution.
- Moved by Mr. Travis, of York,
- Seconded by Mr. Barber, of London.
FIFTH, — That the following gentlemen be requested to act as Trustees, in pursuance of the before-mentioned Resolutions :— Messrs. Charles Henry Jones, John Freeman, Thomas Mallinson, — Travis, John Rand, Joseph Firth, Frank Leighton, Thomas Dyson, Thomas Nelson.
- Moved by Mr. Travis, of York,
- Seconded by Mr. E. L. Hesp, of Huddersfield.
SIXTH, — That the proposition in the Report with regard to Mrs. Hirst be adopted, and that the United Committee appoint Trustees.
- Moved by Mr. C. H. Jones, of Huddersfield,
- Seconded by Mr. Jas. Charlesworth, of Holmfirth.
SEVENTH, — That the Report be adopted.
- Moved by Mr. Wright, of Hull,
- Seconded by Mr. Mallinson, of Huddersfield.
EIGHTH, — That £50 be granted for the repairs of Mytholm Bridge.
- Moved by Mr. Whytehead, of York,
- Seconded by Mr. Dibb, of Wakefield.
NINTH, — That after leaving in the hands of the United Committee a sum not exceeding £400 for casual purposes, the balance be returned to the subscribers not later than the 1st of November, together with an account of receipts and payments.
- Moved by the Rev. John Ward, of Hull,
- Seconded by the Rev. T. H. Ryland, of Bradford.
The Chairman having left the chair,
It was resolved, —
That the thanks of this meeting be given to John Brooke, Esq., for his conduct in the chair this day, to the Hon. Secretaries, for their valuable services, and to the several Committees.
- JOHN BROOKE, Chairman.
- J. C. LAYCOCK, JOHN FREEMAN, Hon. Secs.
THE HOLMFIRTH FLOOD.
IMPORTANT MEETING, YESTERDAY, OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.
An important meeting of the Central Committee was held in the Freemasons’ Hall, South Parade, yesterday, for the purpose of receiving the report of the sub-committee appointed at the delegate meeting of the 19th of May last, and to decide as to further awards and claims. The proceedings were presided over by John Brooke, Esq., Chairman of the United Committee, and there were present the following delegates :—
- Huddersfield — Thomas Mallinson, Esq., John Sutcliffe, Esq., William Willans, Esq., Messrs. E. L. Hesp, Thomas Nelson, C. H. Jones, Thomas Firth, jun., Jas. Booth, W. Burrows, Jos. Wrigley, and S. Oldfield, and Messrs. Laycock and Freeman, hon. secs.
- Holmfirth — W. L. Brook, Esq., chairman of the Holmfirth committee; Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., Joshua Charlesworth, Esq., Messrs. James Charlesworth, Joseph Firth, Thomas Dyson, and Jas. Beardsell.
- London — Messrs. Brett and Wm. Barber.
- Leeds — Messrs. Cooper and Passivant.
- Bradford — Messrs. Rhyland and Dale.
- Halifax — The Rev. Mr. Smith and Mr. Abbott.
- Sheffield — The Rev. the Vicar, the Mayor, and the Master Cutler.
- Wakefield — Mr. Dibb.
- York — Messrs. Travis and Whytehead.
- Hull — The Rev. Mr. Ward and Mr. Wright.
- Cleckheaton — Mr. Burnup.
- Birstal — Mr. Walker.
- Sowerby Bridge — Messrs. Stott and Pollitt.
- Preston — Mr. Goodyear.
- Bolton — Mr. Walker.
The Chairman having briefly opened the proceedings by specifying the object for which they were assembled,
The Secretary presented and read the following
“The Sub-committee appointed by the Central Committee on the 19th of May, 1S52, to apportion the amount to be paid to claimants on the fund raised for the Holmfirth sufferers, with power finally to settle all awards not exceeding £200 each, and to advance to larger claimants two-thirds of the estimated amount allowed to them, held their first meeting at Holmfirth, on the 26th of May last, and fifty-one cases were brought before them. In considering these cases, two different principles of distribution were suggested : one, that of a per centage to be paid upon the whole claims, without respect to the position in life or pecuniary ability of the claimants ; and the other, that the loss of each claimant, and his means of replacing them, should be ascertained, and a separate decision come to on each case ; and after full consideration it was unanimously thought to be the most equitable way of distributing the funds intrusted to the care of the Central Committee, that each case should be investigated solely with reference to its own merits, having in view the amount of loss sustained and the capacity of the claimant to bear it without inconvenience. In those cases where a firm consisted of several partners, some of whom were able to bear their share of the loss, and others not, your committee have thought the wisest course was to award to the less wealthy partners compensation for their share of the loss, and to disallow the claims of the rest of the firm ; and they have acted accordingly. Valuable assistance was derived by your committee from the enquiries previously made by the sub-committees as reported to you at the last meeting, but your committee thought that it would be more satisfactory to obtain the attendance of some of the claimants, and to re-hear then-statements. Some claimants attended, and with respect to those who did not attend, confidential statements and enquiries were made sufficient to enable your committee to come to a just conclusion. Confidential committees, consisting principally of gentlemen from a distance, were named, to whom those claimants who desired not to communicate with the committee at huge made their statements, and the opinions of those confidential committees upon the claims enquired into by them has been adopted by your committee, but there were not many of those cases. Your committee decided the fifty-one cases submitted at the first meeting, and adjourned to the 27th day of May, when sixty-five cases were awarded upon, and on the following day (May 28) 30 other cases (including some of the largest claims) were also awarded upon ; on the 3rd of June 15 claims of mill occupiers (many of them complicated, from their being made by firms whose partners were interested in different proportions, and very differently circumstanced in life) were also disposed of. The one hundred and sixty-one claims sent in to the United Committee were thus disposed of by your committee, viz.:—
Of these cases thirty-three were wholly disallowed, 101 had grants made in then: favour not exceeding £200 each, 17 had conceded to them sums not exceeding £500 each, and in 10 other cases larger amounts were appropriated, subject to the confirmation of the Central Committee.
“The total amount awarded and recommended is £24,834 3s. 6d., besides £667 17s. 7d. for further grants as after mentioned. The amount paid on account of the awards is £15,682 18s. 5d, reserving in hand one-third of the amounts exceeding £200, according to the resolution of the Central Committee, £9,151 5s. 1d.
“Besides the above, your committee have paid further sums to claimants under £20, who had been settled with prior to the last meeting of the Central Committee, but were considered entitled to further aid. These payments amount to £60 14s., and particulars of them are given in the schedule annexed to this report. It will be remembered that the Central Committee placed £200 at the disposal of this committee. The amount distributed has, however, been found adequate to the proper compensation of parties previously under-paid.
“Your committee are happy to say that they believe that these grants, together with those reported at the last meeting as previously made by the United Committee, have been the means of enabling the sufferers by the flood, in a great measure, to resume their business operations, and have been made to the classes of persons contemplated by the donors of the fund.
“Your committee held a further meeting on the 10th of June last, when the mode of disposing of or providing for those orphans who were made such by the flood, was considered, and they recommend the following payments:—
- To Mary A. Metterick, aged 6 years, 5s. a week until she attain 16
- To Wilson Metterick, aged 10 months, 5s. a week until he attain 16
- To Ruth Crosland, aged 6 months, 5s. a week until she attain 16
- To Johnson Cartwright, aged 12 years, 3s. 6d. a week until she attain 16
- To A. Shackleton Green, aged 12 years, 5s. a week until she attain 16
“To Emma Cartwright, aged six years; Ann Maria Cartwright, two and a-half years ; and Hannah Hartley, ten and a-half years, 5s. a week each until they severally attain sixteen years. But as their friends are willing that they should he sent, to an orphan asylum, your committee recommend that they should be placed in that excellent institution, and that such part of the principal of the grant recommended as may be thought be paid to such orphan institution.
“Your committee have received an intimation from the Leeds and Yorkshire Insurance Company that they will pay the before-mentioned allowance for the sum of £1078, and your committee recommend that sum to be appropriated for that purpose.
“At this meeting your committee came to the following resolution, to which they beg to call the special attention of the Central Committee :— ‘That, with a view of restoring the Holme Valley to permanent prosperity, and subject to all matters in dispute respecting the reservoirs being closed by a friendly agreement between the parties interested, or by an act of parliament, if necessary, and subject also to the reduction of the interest by the mortgagees which they offered on a former occasion, it be a recommendation to the Central Committee that efficient assistance be given for the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir, and that copies of this resolution be sent to London, Bradford, Hull, Manchester, Rochdale, Sowerby-bridge, Dewsbury, Nottingham, Birmingham, and Sheffield.’
“In pursuance of this resolution circulars were sent to the towns’ named, and as deputations are expected to attend the meeting of the Central Committee, it is hoped those gentlemen will give satisfactory replies.
“Your committee also met on the 16th of August inst., when seven claims and the awards thereon were reconsidered, and it was agreed to recommend to the Central Committee to make, further grants in six of those cases, amounting to £667 17s. 7d., and at this meeting the following resolution was passed :— ‘That in place of the grant made at a former meeting of this committee to Mrs. Hirst of £5,500 on condition of restoring the mill, it be recommended to the Central Committee that the sum of £4,500 be lodged in the hands of trustees, to be hereinafter named, to be invested for the benefit of Mrs. Hirst and her family.’
“The meetings have been attended by representatives of the following towns :— Leeds, York, Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield, Bolton, Holmfirth, and Huddersfield.
“Your committee hope that they have reported sufficiently in detail to enable the Central Committee to decide upon the appropriation of the remaining one-third of the awards above £200, and in conclusion they have only to add that they append to this report a list of the amounts awarded, and of the increased sums payable to persons previously underpaid, together with an abstract of the accounts of the receipts and payments up to the present day.
- “WILLIAM LEIGH BROOK,
- “Sub-Chairman to the Central Committee.”
A general abstract of the cash account was also read, from which it appeared that the committee have received in subscriptions £45,060 19s. 5d. ; £117 15s. l0d. from the West Riding constables ; £134 3s. 9d. on account of salvage ; £7 balance from meritorious services ; and £114 16s. 2d. for interest ; total, £45,434 15s. 2d. ; and expended £661 ls. 9d. to mill occupiers for labour in water-courses ; £1566 17s. 11d. for clearing water-courses ; £6545 16s. 3d. by sub-committee on account of schedules ; £11,313 8s. 5d. by Central Committee ; £55 for meritorious services ; £68 17s. 8d. valuers’ expenses ; £169 8s. 9d. deputation expenses ; £5 subscription paid in error ; £43 12s. 1d. by visiting committee for immediate relief ; £134 13s. l0d. for constables ; £980 4s. relief to persons out of employment ; £123 17s. 4d. recovery of salvage ; £19 9s. 9d, for recovery of dead bodies ; £4814s. 5d. for coals for distribution ; £383 2s. l0d. for printing, stationery, and advertising ; £60 18s. 7d. for clothing for the destitute ; £10 7s. 9d. for sanitary purposes ; £141 1s. 11d. in salaries ; £82 6s. 11d. for stock of work-tools ; £84 18s. 3d. for miscellaneous expenses ; £35 10s. 6d. for rent &c. — total, £22,534 7s. 11d. ; leaving a balance in hand of £22,900 7s. 3d.
[We may mention here that nearly one half the money has not been paid into the hands of the United Committee, but is retained by the local committees where subscribed.]
Mr. Weight, of Hull, then moved, and Mr. C. H. Jones seconded,
That the remaining one-third of the awards above £200, with the exception of Mrs. Hirst’s case, be paid.
The resolution having been carried, it was understood that the discussion on the case of Mrs. Hirst should be reserved for the last, after which a very protracted and irregular conversation ensued, involving a variety of topics, but chiefly as to the order and routine of the proceedings. Ultimately it was arranged that the report should be received, that it should then be discussed seriatim, and afterwards finally adopted, either in its original form or as amended.
This course having been determined upon,
John Sutcliffe, Esq., moved, and W. L. Brook, Esq., seconded,
That the report now read be received.
The motion was put and carried nem. con., upon which
Mr. Dibb, of Wakefield, rose and said he had no idea of calling in question the propriety of this report, but feeling that the sub-central committee had been somewhat bound by the course pursued in previous awards, he thought this meeting competent to revise anything that had been done by the sub-central committee, and recommend a further advance where it might be thought full justice had not been done. He had never sat in so unanimous a committee before, yet there were occasions when differences arose, and when gentlemen found themselves bound in their decisions by the previous awards. He had himself in several cases been desirous of voting a larger sum, but felt he could not do so under the circumstances he had named. Believing that it would be in accordance with the spirit of this charity he would move —
- Considering that the awards of compensation have reference only to schedules, the accuracy of which has been tested by careful scrutiny, and which in no case include any allowance for the interruption or suspension of trade — considering also that the ample funds subscribed warrant a proportionate liberality of distribution — Resolved, that in all cases in which awards of compensation have been recommended, a supplementary grant of 5s. in the pound be made upon the revised schedules, such grant to be modified where necessary, so that the total amount awarded shall in no case exceed 20s. in the pound upon such schedules ; and that all parties who have sustained losses, and who have, either from not having made any claims, or from having had their claims disallowed altogether, received no compensation, be permitted to send in their claims to the committee, and that the committee have power to take them into consideration.
Mr. Travis, of York, had great pleasure in seconding this resolution. There was nothing in this resolution which appeared to him to detract from the labours of the sub-central committee. The committee had rather kept the awards down than otherwise, and they frequently did violence to their own feelings in not granting so much as they would have done but for the principle previously observed. There could be nothing wrong in revising what had been done by that committee, and it was now in the power of the meeting to do what the sub-committee felt themselves restricted from doing, and award a larger amount in the cases under consideration. At first it was feared that the subscriptions would be considerably smaller than was required, and consequently the local committee, acting judiciously, afforded relief in proportion ; but there were many cases where parties had suffered greater damage than had been awarded for. He had been present himself on one occasion when 33 claims were rejected, in the majority of which the parties claiming were supposed to be in a position of life which disqualified them. There were other cases, where sufferers, from their position in life had not presented any claims, but whose loss had been considerable. It was very proper that these parties should not be compensated when more paramount claims were expected to absorb all the subscriptions, but now that there were abundant funds subscribed in part for their assistance, he felt that they were entitled to consideration, and that they, as the representatives of the subscribers, would not be carrying out the objects of the charity if they did not extend their awards. (Hear.)
Mr. Walker, of Bolton, said that three months had elapsed since, the sub-committee had made their awards, and with the exception of some four or five cases no complaints had been received, a circumstance which was satisfactory to his mind that the right course had been pursued. The committee had acted in accordance with the instructions given them, and for himself he could only say that he should not have given more had the sum at their disposal been £100,000. (Hear, hear.)
The Rev. Mr. Smith, of Halifax, thought the matter had been left entirely in the hands of the sub-committee, and objected to any reconsideration of the question. The committee had examined the schedules and had acted with a full knowledge of the circumstances of the case before them, and he did not think they ought now to be lavish because they had found they had surplus funds. (Hear.)
Mr. Brett, of London, aid not think this motion cast any reflection upon the committee. Awards had been made in these cases to the amount of 12s. or 14s. in the pound, and it was a fair question for this meeting to consider whether a larger sum should not be awarded. It was supposed that the loss would amount to something like £100,000, whilst the compensation afforded amounted to some £35,000 or £36,000. The public would be disposed to think there was something wrong, and believing that the subscribers gave their money to compensate small manufacturers, as well as to relieve the actually destitute, he was in favour of extending the bounty.
W. L. Brook, Esq., considered the sub-committee as delegated to carry out certain instructions given by the central committee. They had done this, at the same time he should not consider the adoption of this motion as a reflection upon the sub-committee. (Hear, hear.) He thought the question involved a fair one for the consideration of this meeting, for though toe proceedings of the sub-committee had been most friendly and amicable, yet there were cases upon which a difference of opinion arose. (Hear.)
The Rev. Mr. Ward, of Hull, was not satisfied as to the propriety of this motion, and should move the previous question, and in doing so, he meant to meet the original motion with a distinct negative. (Hear.) However guarded that motion might be in avoiding any reflection upon the sub-committee, it in effect said this — “Gentlemen, you have done your work, but you have not done it to our satisfaction, and we send you back again to reconsider your awards.” (Loud cries of “No, no.”) Such was his impression. If sufficient had not been done, why was such an intimation not engrafted in the report. The absence of any such intimation was a sufficient answer to this motion, and appeared to him to set this matter entirely at rest. He found by the 7th resolution of the meeting of the 19th of May, that the sub-committee were appointed to finally settle all claims not exceeding £200, and having done so, he objected to this meeting interfering with those awards. It had been said that no compensation had been made for loss of trade — in other words, loss of time. He thought it was a most dangerous thing to indemnify for loss of time, and would be productive of very injurious results to persons of indolent habits. (Hear.) The committee bad gone carefully through the claims made, and had been at infinite trouble, and he could not now think of re-imposing upon the committee the re-consideration of these claims. He begged to move the previous question. (Hear.)
The Vicar of Sheffield seconded the motion. He had great pleasure in meeting a number of gentlemen who had not only given a great deal of time in this matter, but who had accomplished their labours in a most effective manner. (Hear.) He did not know of any charity which, from beginning to end, had been conducted in a manner more creditable to the donors, the distributors, and the recipients. (Hear, hear, hear.) It was necessary that this charity should be properly applied. Other calamities would occur, and what better argument could they urge than to say, “We do not know what will be required, but here are a number of gentlemen who will take care that your donations are not improperly distributed.” (Hear.) He was opposed to the motion, and felt that by entertaining new claims, and increasing the awards on old ones, there would be a danger of exciting in the minds of the donors, and especially of the working classes, a feeling that their hard earnings were being lavishly expended. True, the subscribers did not consider what the money was given for beyond that it was for the relief of the sufferers, but they placed their subscriptions in the hands of respectable gentlemen, confident that they would not mis-apply them. To offer compensation to those who had made no claim would be to insult them, whilst on the other hand he felt confidence in the committee that they would award according to the circumstances of the case. He felt that the adoption of this motion would tend very much to lower the ground on which this sub-committee had stood, and he should therefore oppose it. (Hear.)
Mr. Barber, of London, though partly falling in with the views of Mr. Travis, finding that the funds were so large, should support the amendment.
Mr. Ryland, of Bradford, felt that so great a surplus might lay them open to the suspicion that they had not sufficiently relieved the distress, and he thought they might consider what could be done with it.
Mr. Abbott, of Halifax, said that the Halifax Committee had tied him and his colleague down to a resolution, that in any new matter brought forward for discussion they were not to consider themselves present. This was not to preclude them, however, so far as any small sum, from £100 to £500 might be involved, but beyond that sum they could not act.
Mr. Wright, of Hull, had heard nothing to induce him to support the motion, and thus ignore the proceedings of the subcommittee.
The Chairman suggested the propriety of Mr. Dibb withdrawing his motion.
Mr. Dibb said the motion involved two distinct propositions, and he was prepared to divide them.
Mr. C. H. Jones said it should be remembered that the committee had already been engaged some six months, and it was rather a serious thing to contemplate the going through this labour over again. (Hear, hear.) The meeting of the 19th of May were satisfied with what the committee had done up to that time. The united committee had disposed of 210 cases out of 400 ; and in disposing of those, 200 had been disposed of altogether by 20s. in the pound ; and as a proof that justice had been done he might say that himself and Mr. Joseph Firth had again gone through all the minor claims, to see if any further awards were necessary, and the additional sum required to be advanced was only £60, and with scarcely a single exception all expressed entire satisfaction. (Hear, hear.) In no instance had there been any complaint that sufficient justice had not been done. The sub-committee presented 161 additional cases this morning, out of which. 101 had been disposed of for £200 or less. They had come to their own conclusions on the cases as stated before them, and it was somewhat singular that their decision in many cases were the same as those which had been previously arrived at. Counting the 101 cases as settled for £200 or less, they had 340 cases, and those which remained were for claims exceeding £200. If they had erred in liberality, it was not in the larger claims, which had been paid more liberally than the smaller ones. (Cries of “Hear, hear,” and “No, no.”) In proportion to the circumstances of the parties. Having gone through all the claims, and awarded them on the merits of each case, he thought it would be a work of supererogation again to go through them. (Hear.) As to those whose claims had been disallowed entirely, it was on the principle that a man worth £500, and having lost £100, could not be put in the same category as those to whom relief had been afforded. (Hear.)
Mr. Whytehead, of York, wished it to be distinctly understood that the Original resolution did not call into question the fairness of the decisions come to, and had reference only to the ratable portion given. It was not impracticable to make this ratable increase, but was far more impracticable to return the money to the subscribers. It might not be difficult in the larger sums, but persons who gave smaller sums would not get their proportion back. (Expressions of dissent.)
Mr. Willans said this large surplus had been obtained in consequence of the erroneous estimates of the loss which had appeared in the public papers, but that was no reason why they should appropriate it. (Hear.) There were many persons around them in absolute poverty, and he should find no difficulty in apportioning his ratable return on his subscription to the relief of destitution ; but he did not think these were cases of destitution. Let each gentleman dispose of his ratable portion as he thought best — for himself he was not for giving his money to rich men. (Hear.) He was one of the deputation to London, and he then stated that the loss would be £250,000. The result was that gentlemen gave in proportion. It now turned out the loss was not more than one-third of that sum, and he felt some responsibility in having so much over stated the loss, and should expect the surplus to be returned. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. James Charlesworth, of Holmfirth, was glad to say that the sufferers had not complained of the awards made. The Holmfirth people were not a complaining people. (Hear, hear.) It would not have become them to complain when they had the sympathy of the public throughout the length and breadth of the land — (hear, hear) ;— and he must say it had been a very great pleasure to him to witness the thankfulness of those who had been relieved. (Hear, hear.) Notwithstanding this he felt he could support the first part of the resolution.
Mr. Dibb, of Wakefield, said he would withdraw the latter part of the resolution, commencing — “and that all parties &c.”
Mr. Charlesworth, in continuation, said he did not think there would be much trouble in carrying out the resolution as it now stood, and he was sure the sufferers would express their thankfulness for the additional relief granted. He was convinced the valley would never in his day be restored to its former prosperity, though it might be at some subsequent period. (Loud cries of “Divide, divide.”)
In reply to Mr. Oldfield it was stated that the proposed increase of 5s. in the pound would be on the amount awarded.
Mr. Dibb briefly addressed the meeting in reply, sub mitting that no reason had been shown why the motion should not be carried, and in reference to the alleged extra labour he said he would undertake to make the pro rata additions in one hour.
The motion was then put, and the previous question was carried by a large majority.
After a further discussion on a question of order,
The Mayor of Sheffield moved —
- That that portion of the report which referred to the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir be expunged.
Mr. Dale, of Bradford, seconded the motion.
Mr. Travis, of York, moved as an amendment —
- That with the view of restoring the Holme Valley to permanent prosperity, and subject to all matters in dispute respecting the reservoirs being closed by a friendly agreement between the parties interested, or by an Act of Parliament if necessary, and subject also to the reduction of the interest which they offered on a former occasion, efficient assistance be given for the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir.
He thought this amendment would be in accordance with the intention of the subscribers towards this charity. They would find on enquiry that upon the restoration of this reservoir depended the moving power of a great proportion of the mills of the valley — the active operation of the mills, and the consequent employment of the various classes resident in the valley. These were reasons which appeared to him to make it clear that they carried out the object contemplated by completing this reservoir. Had they been deficient in funds, personal claims might have been put in priority to those — though even that would have been doubtful — but now that the liberality of the public had supplied them with ample funds, and seeing that so much depended upon the restoration of the reservoir, he hoped there would be no difference of opinion upon the question, and that the amendment would be carried unanimously. (Hear.)
Mr. Wright, of Hull, seconded the resolution. At the meeting in May last he and his colleague were as strongly opposed as any one to the appropriation of any portion of the funds to the restoration of the reservoir, and they were supported in this opposition by the whole of the Hull subscribers. They had since however been led to change their opinions on that question, and they now felt that upon its restoration depended in a great measure the success of the valley. (Hear.) He believed he was right in stating that unless this reservoir was restored the valley of the Holme could not be put in the position in which it was before the occurrence of this calamity. It that was so, without advancing any further argument, he thought in justice they must repair it. They had sufficient funds, and he thought its restoration came legitimately within the objects of this charity. (Hear.)
Mr. Dale, of Bradford, said there was a very strong feeling in that town against such an appropriation of the money. The Holme Reservoir commission was looked upon as a joint stock company. (No, no,) and feeling that this calamity had occurred through their neglect, it was thought to restore the reservoir would be like rewarding them for neglecting the duties devolving upon them. At all events if any money was appropriated for such a purpose it was felt to be necessary that the grant should be made subject to the control and direction of the committee. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Freeman, of Huddersfield, proceeded to explain at some length the nature of the Holme Reservoir commission, and gave a brief sketch of the proceedings of the commission since the passing of the act, but as these are details which have again and again appeared in our columns it will be unnecessary for us to repeat them on this occasion.
In answer to Mr. Walker, of Birstal, the Chairman and Mr. Joseph Wrigley stated that the manufacturing power of the valley had increased considerably since the erection of these reservoirs, but that the moving power had remained almost stationary. The increase in manufacturing power had arisen from a greater regularity in the water power. Mr. Wrigley further stated that the erection of the reservoirs has been found of essential advantage in preventing floods during heavy rains, which prior to their erection were frequent, (in some instances very heavy,) and caused great damage.
Mr. Walker wished to know whether the recommendation extended to the Holme-styes Reservoir.
The Chairman — Certainly not, (Hear.)
Mr. Ryland, of Bradford, could not understand, all the intricacies of the case, but it struck him very forcibly there was some mismanagement. (Hear.) He thought the Bradford subscribers would not justify him and his colleague in supporting this resolution.
The Vicar of Sheffield knew there was a very strong feeling in various towns in reference to the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir. He had listened to the very luminous statement of the secretary, and to other gentlemen, but he must confess that he did not think the restoration of the Bilberry Reservoir came within the scope of this charity. He presumed that those manufacturers who were restoring the mills had included the restoration of the reservoir in their calculations, and imagined that if the meeting did not adopt this recommendation, these mill proprietors would restore it for their own benefit, and as part of their speculation. (Hear.) In reference to the appropriation of the surplus he suggested that it might be returned to the respective committees for their appropriation.
John Sutcliffe, Esq., strongly opposed the recommendation of the committee. The restoration of the reservoir would be of as much benefit to Sir John Ramadan, the Earl of Dartmouth, Sir. John Pilkington, Mr. Haigh, of Colne-bridge, and other manufacturers down the stream, as the Bilberry men. (“No, no.”) Such was his opinion, and he would say that he entirely repudiated any idea of diverting the funds of this charity for the relief of any but the poor ; and to appropriate it for the restoration of the reservoir would be to benefit the rich and affluent and those in comfortable circumstances. After referring to the resolution of the Halifax committee refusing to sanction any award for the repair of this reservoir, Mr. Sutcliffe read an extract from a letter from the Rev. J. A. Rhodes, of Leeds, expressing his strong disapproval of any appropriation of the money for such a purpose.
Mr. Freeman, of Huddersfield, observed that the property of the gentlemen named by Mr. Sutcliffe, with the exception of the Earl of Dartmouth, was on the Colne. They received no benefit, and were exempted from the payment of rates. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Barber, of London, said that the London committee originally, under the impression that the restoration of the reservoir would cost some £20,000 or £30,000, resolved not to support such a measure, but at a second meeting, on learning that the cost would not be more than £3000 or £9000, and having the facts of the case plainly stated to them, they rescinded that resolution and empowered their delegates to support the restoration of the reservoir to the extent of £8000, feeling that by so doing they would best benefit the labouring-classes. He should, therefore, support the recommendation of the committee. (Hear, hear.)
The Chairman did not see why they should not repair the reservoir. It was a matter of little moment to the large mill owners whether the reservoir was restored or not, because they had sufficient steam power ; but it was a matter of great importance to the small mill-owners, who had no other power than that of water. He maintained that the united committee had done nothing since the occurrence of the calamity to the present time to bind them from assisting in the restoration of this reservoir, and there-fore he felt the committee were perfectly justified in voting the money for such a purpose if they thought it necessary. He understood it was proposed, if the recommendation of the committee was sanctioned, to place the money awarded in the hands of trustees, who would see that it was properly applied. (Hear.) The question was whether the mill-owners should have this power restored to them, which was necessary to work their mills, or not. For himself he could see no reason why the reservoir should not be restored as well as the mills.
Mr. Brett, of London, concurred in the sentiments expressed by Mr. Barber, and should support the resolution, trusting that in future litigation would be avoided, and all parties work amicably together. (Hear.)
Mr. Ryland, of Bradford, said that after what had passed, he felt somewhat shaken in his views on this question. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Cooper, of Leeds, said that no one had been more fettered on this question than the gentlemen who attended the May meeting, but from what had since taken place the Leeds Committee had expressed themselves favourable to the measure. (Hear.) He would also state that the Rev. Mr. Rhodes had changed his mind on this question, and was now in favour of the restoration of the reservoir. (Hear.)
The Rev. Mr. Ward, of Hull, expressed the pleasure he felt at the character and result of the discussion which had ensued on this question. Originally opposed to the restoration of the reservoir, the Hull subscribers had been induced to change their opinions, and support it, feeling that it was of vital importance to the well-being of the valley and its inhabitants. He hoped they would come to a nearly unanimous decision, and he thought there would not bo much difficulty in satisfying the public, and he would suggest that the secretaries should draw up a brief statement of the facts of the case for circulation amongst the subscribers. (Hear.)
Mr. James Charlesworth, of Holmfirth, supported the recommendation, and hoped the meeting would make the sum sufficiently large as to restore the reservoir efficiently, so that the public of Holmfirth could sleep in safety. (Hear.)
The Rev. Mr. Smith, of Halifax, said they would place the matter before their committee, but they were so bound by their instructions that they could not take any part in this matter.
The Mayor of Sheffield, in reply, said he regretted that he could not coincide with what appeared to be the opinion of the majority of the gentlemen present, but there had been no bone fide case made out for the restoration of the reservoir from these funds. When the deputation visited Sheffield it was distinctly stated that no money would go for such a purpose, and it was on that understanding that the money in Sheffield had been raised. He should bow to the decision of that meeting, but acting conscientiously, he must vote against the appropriation of the money to the restoration of the reservoir. (Hear.)
The amendment was then put and carried by a good majority.
After a short conversation as to the amount to be appropriated, during which two estimates from Mr. Crowther were read, from which it appeared that the expense of restoring the embankment to its original height (80 ft.), would be £8500, £6000 for 60 feet, and from £4000 to £5000 for 40 feet.
Mr. Travis, of York, moved, and Mr. Barber, of London seconded,
- That the sum of £7000 be placed in the hands of trustees, for the purpose of carrying out the preceding resolution.
The motion having been carried,
W. L. Brook, Esq., moved “that the number of Trustees he nine.”
Mr. Travis of York, seconded the motion, which was carried, after which
Mr. Travis next moved, and Mr. E. L. Hesp seconded
- That the following gentlemen be requested to act as trustees, in pursuance of the before-mentioned resolutions :— Messrs. Charles Henry Jones, John Freeman, Thomas Mallinson, H. Travis, John Rand, Joseph Firth, Frank Upton, Thomas Dyson, Thomas Nelson.
The meeting proceeded to the discussion of the case of Mrs. Hirst, upon which Mr. James Charlesworth, of Holmfirth, moved
- That the proposition in the report with regard to Miss Hirst be adopted, and that the united-committee appoint trustees. John Sutcliffe, Esq., seconded the motion.
An interesting conversation ensued, during which the circumstances which had induced the sub-committee to rescind their former resolution, and to make this case an exception to the general principle laid down, were detailed and discussed.
The Chairman observed that if the mill was not restored, there would be a loss to the rates of £42 per annum, which would be like taking £42 per annum from the mortgagees under the commission. He thought this would be unfair, and he called upon them to give some guarantee that the mill should be restored by some one, or else appropriate a corresponding sum in lieu of the rate, before they adopted the resolution.
Mr. Cooper, Leeds ; Mr. Wright, Hull ; W. L. Brook, Esq., and others opposed the motion ; and Mr. C. H. Jones, Mr. James Charlesworth, Mr. Travis, of York ; Mr. Sutcliffe, Mr. Thomas Mallinson, and others supported it.
The Vicar of Sheffield, in consequence of a remark from Mr. Cooper, and the Rev. Mr. Wright, of Halifax, complained that certain committees had not handed over their money to the central committee. It was not placing that confidence in the committee to which they were entitled — (hear, hear) — whilst it placed the towns who had paid over in a very uncomfortable position. (Hear, hear.)
The Chairman assured the rev. gentleman that, notwithstanding this circumstance, the greatest care would be taken of the funds paid in, and that such committees would be dealt fairly with. (Hear, hear.)
The Rev. Mr. Wright and Mr. Abbott, of Halifax, repudiated any intention of acting dishonourably, and expressed their desire to pay their pro rata of the disbursements, except in the case of the Bilberry Reservoir.
The motion was then put and earned.
Mr. Wright then moved the adoption of the Report.
Mr. Travis seconded the motion, which was carried.
Mr. Freeman next read a memorial from a number of parties at Mytholm-bridge, applying for £50 towards the restoration of a bridge at that village, and the amount was ordered to be allowed.
The Chairman read a letter from a Mr. Beardsell, dated Stockport, August 19th, stating that he had lent Mr. James Beardsell, of Digley, £100, which, owing to the flood, had been lost, and making a claim for relief. Referred to the sub-committee.
In answer to one of the delegates, Mr. James Charlesworth said the relief in money had ceased.
A short conversation ensued as to closing the accounts, during which Mr. Laycock said it appeared to be the opinion of the committee that they would be able to return 8s. in the pound on the amount subscribed.
The Rev. Mr. Ward, of Hull, moved
- That after leaving in the hands of the united-committee a sum not exceeding £400 for casual purposes, the balance be returned to the subscribers not later than the 1st of November, together with an account of receipts and payments.
Mr. Ryland, of Bradford, seconded the motion, which was carried.
The appointment of trustees for the management of the money awarded to Mrs. Hirst was ordered to be left to the united committee.
Votes of thanks were then passed to the chairman, the several committees, and to the secretaries, which were
In adopting the last resolution a very strong feeling was expressed in favour of presenting the secretaries with some more substantial testimonial in acknowledgment of their services, but it being understood that a sum of some £400 was proposed to be left in the hands of the united committee to meet any contingency that may arise, the general feeling seemed to be in favour of leaving any surplus ultimately existing in that amount at the disposal of the committee, with the view of presenting some testimonial, in the form of a piece of plate, to the honorary secretaries. It was also suggested by Mr. Barber, that some means should be taken to commemorate the great liberality of the public in behalf of this charity.
The meeting then broke up between five and six o’clock, having been sitting from eleven in the forenoon.
The delegates adjourned to the Imperial Hotel, and partook of an excellent dinner provided by Mr. and Mrs. Bradley.
- A misreporting of the name Clementina Cartwright.