Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Feb/1852) - The Holmfirth Catastrophe
The following are the items relating to the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 that appeared in this issue of the newspaper.
- RIDING SCHOOL, HUDDERSFIELD.
- MR. HARTLEY will give a Grand CONCERT
- for the BENEFIT of the
- SUFFERERS AT HOLMFIRTH,
- On Monday, the 23rd February, 1852, for which occasion
- he has engaged with the celebrated vocalist,
- MRS. WOOD
- For the appearance of her talented Pupils,
- MISS SYKES, MISS MILNER, and MISS HEPWORTH.
- MR. HEMINGWAY,
- From the York and Newcastle Concerts.
- FULL ORCHESTRA.
- Musical Director … Mr. Hartley.
- Doors open at seven o’clock. To commence at a quarter before eight o’clock.
- Boxes, 2s.; pit, 1s.; gallery, 6d.
- Mr. Hartley’s Concerts for the People will commence on Monday, March 1st, 1852.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, Feb. 18.
CATASTROPHE AT HOLMFIRTH.
Mr. G. Sandars, who spoke in a low tone of voice, asked whether any correspondence had taken place between the local magistracy and the government relative to the recent dreadful calamity at Holmfirth, and whether it was intended to make any grant of money for the relief of the survivors?
Sir G. Grey said he had received from the local magistracy full particulars of the most appalling catastrophe alluded to by the honourable member. The magistrates informed him that the inquest had commenced, and requested that government, would send down a competent engineer to attend the adjourned inquest on the 18th, and to assist in investigating the causes of the accident. The magistrates further intimated that there was still another reservoir, which was in a most dangerous state. He (Sir G. Grey) had immediately complied with their request, and had sent down a government engineer to communicate with the magistrates, and in co-operation to obtain full particulars of all the circumstances. With regard to a grant of money, he was not in a position to give the hon. member any information.
LIBERAL DONATION FROM THE ODDFELLOWS.
It affords us great pleasure to state, that at a special district meeting (convened by circular) held at the Bull’s Head Inn, Beast-market, Huddersfield, on the 17th instant, it was resolved that £50 be granted to the Holmfirth general fund for the relief of the sufferers of the late awful calamity, out of the funds of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, Huddersfield district.
The Holmfirth Calamity — We have received numberless poetic effusions in reference to the above distressing calamity, all of which are wanting in some one or other of the poetic element, and are for that reason declined. “Thoughts suggested by the Bursting of the Bilberry,” are respectfully declined.
TO OUR READERS.
We are compelled to defer until our next the noble subscription list of the “workers” of Meltham Mills, also reports of proceedings on behalf of the Holmfirth sufferers at Slaithwaite and several other district towns and villages.
THE HUDDERSFIELD MUSICIANS AND THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS.
We are glad to hear that the musicians in Huddersfield and its vicinity are determined not to be behind their neighbours in the cause of charity, being about to unite their powers in giving a performance of sacred music, on as complete a scale as native talent will permit, the proceeds to be given to the fund for relieving the distress caused by the late calamity at Holmfirth. This will afford an opportunity to many who would otherwise have not been able to express their sympathy and contribute their mite towards relieving the destitute.
This celebrated collection of wild beasts arrived in this town on Thursday, and, in accordance with previous announcement, the proceeds of the first day’s exhibition (yesterday) were appropriated to the fund now being raised in behalf of the sufferers through the Holmfirth flood. We are happy to learn that the amount realised for this truly benevolent object was about £20. The liberality thus manifested speaks for itself, and we hope our towns-people, and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood generally, will bear in mind this manifestation of humanity, and encourage this celebrated collection during its stay in Huddersfield, which only extends over the present day (Saturday.)
MR. JACOBS’ ENTERTAINMENT.
Mr. Jacobs, the celebrated magician, ventriloquist, and improvisatore, gave an entertainment in the Philosophical-hall, on Monday night last, for the benefit of the Holmfirth sufferers. Owing to the very boisterous state of the weather the attendance was rather small. Mr. Jacobs’ performances were of the most astounding character, and elicited the warm plaudits of his auditory.
GRAND CONCERT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS.
We observe with great pleasure that Mr. Hartley has made arrangements for a grand vocal and instrumental concert in the Riding School, on Monday next, the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the fund for the benefit of the sufferers by the recent fearful calamity at Holmfirth. The talented pupils of the celebrated Mrs. Wood, Miss Sykes, Miss Milner, and Miss Hepworth, together with Mr. Hemingway, from the York and Newcastle concerts, will appear on the occasion, and will be accompanied by a full orchestra. We observe also that Mr. Hartley announces a series of cheap people’s concerts, for which he has already made several engagements. The first of the series will be given on the 1st of March.
On Monday evening last the party of gentlemen who have recently appeared on the boards of the Theatre, gave a second performance in behalf of the funds for the relief of the sufferers by the late catastrophe at Holmfirth. The pieces selected for the occasion were the melodrama of “John Stafford,” and the petite comedy of “The Spare Bed,” the principal characters being sustained by Miss Robertson, Mr. Robertson, Mr. J. Cowgill, Mr. W. C. Wilson, and Mr. H. Lawton. As an amateur performance it was successful. The characters of Ellen, Miss Robertson ; Eugene Reynolds, Mr. J. Cowgill ; and Hannibal Lookout, Mr. H. Lawton ; in the first piece, were well played, and in the acting of Mr. Cowgill there was displayed both judgment and taste, and histrionic abilities of a very creditable order. The after-piece was well played, and received with hearty laughter. The attendance, owing to the unfavourable state of the weather, was not so numerous as was anticipated, and we fear that the surplus in consequence will be nil.
CLOTHING FOR THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE.
- Notwithstanding the intimation which last week I felt it my duty to convey through your columns, that the supply of clothing for the sufferers by the Holmfirth calamity had been such as to meet existing emergencies, yet, the present week has witnessed frequent arrivals of parcels and packages containing further supplies. Some of these have been of an importance, and to an extent, which cannot be passed by without a distinct recognition. One is from the distinguished firm of “E. Moses and bon, Aldgate, London,” containing the following munificent contribution :— 100 men’s and boys’ coats: 36 men’s and boys’ jackets ; 116 men’s and boys’ waistcoats ; 32 boys trousers ; 8 boys’ suits ; 50 men’s hats ; and boys hats ; and the other is from Henry Ledgard, Esq., Wood-street, London, of the highly respectable firm of “Cash and Ledgard,” and with the following enclosures :— 144 pairs of worsted stockings ; 300 yards of Welsh flannel ; and 50 pairs of blankets. These are proofs of consideration and sympathy which need no comment, and the judicious appropriation of such supplies is confided to a sub committee appointed for that purpose. In making these acknowledgments I hope I may be again permitted to intimate that we can no longer expect to divert these offerings from their usual channel. The appeal having been met with a liberality beyond all expectation, it would be a matter of regret to all concerned, if, in supplying one want, another should be created, and more especially in what will be considered by all as the rightful inheritance of the poor.
- I remain, Sir, yours respectfully,
- THOS. MALLINSON.
- I remain, Sir, yours respectfully,
- Buxton-road, February 20th, 1852.
THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HUDDERSFIELD CHRONICLE.
- In your valuable paper of last Saturday there is an error under the head — “Relief afforded for the interment of the dead by benefit clubs,” alluding to the Holmfirth catastrophe. Sidney Hartley’s friends are represented to have drawn from a branch, held at Jackson-bridge, of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the sum of £13. It was from the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, and not the Independents. The sums paid were — Sidney Hartley £10 10s. ; his wife £5 5s. ; the same as paid at the death of every member or his wife. Trusting you will insert this correction, which is perhaps of more importance to the members of our order than to the public at large,
- We remain, yours respectfully,
- JOHN ASHTON, D.M.
- JOSEPH BATTYE, D. Sec.
- We remain, yours respectfully,
- Feb. 18th, 1852.
HOLMFIRTH FLOOD. — We are glad to notice that steps are being taken to get up a subscription in Saddleworth in aid of the sufferers by the late calamity at Holmfirth. Collections will be made on Sunday (to-morrow) in Christ Church, Friezeland ; St. Thomas Chapel, Friar-mere ; and in the Independent Chapel, Uppermill. In addition to this, the magistrates have formed themselves into a committee to collect subscriptions, and have appointed F. S. Buckley, Esq., banker, to be their treasurer. From the spirit with which the matter seems to have been taken up we have no doubt but a very handsome sum will be raised.
THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE
The official enquiry into the causes of the recent awful calamity at Holmfirth was opened on Wednesday morning last at eleven a.m., before George Dyson, Esq. coroner, and jury, at the Town-hall, the jury being sworn on the body of Eliza Marsden, aged 45, of Water-street, Hinchliffe Mill. On the jury list being called over the following gentlemen answered to their names :—
- Mr. Godfrey Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge, Foreman.
- Mr. Thomas Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
- Mr. Thomas Dyson, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
- Mr. James Brooke, manufacturer, Bridge Mill, Holmfirth
- Mr. W. D. Martin, clock and watch maker, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joseph Crawshaw, saddler, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Charles Taylor, linen draper, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joshua Moorhouse, shopkeeper, Holmfirth.
- Mr. John Burton, schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Richard Bower, manufacturer, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joseph Crosland, bookseller, Holmfirth.
- Mr. John Wylie, schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
- Mr. James Horncastle, gentleman, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Thomas Hinchliffe, manufacturer, Upperthong.
- Mr. Ralph Carter, manufacturer, Upperthong.
- Mr. David Brook, manufacturer, Burnlee.
Captain Moody, of the Royal Engineers, was present on behalf of Government, and Mr. W. Jacomb, solicitor, and Clerk to the Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs, attended to watch the proceedings on behalf of that body.
The Coroner, in addressing the jury, was but in-distinctly heard, but was understood by us to say that in the present investigation they would have to enquire into the cause of the death of Eliza Marsden, and 70 others, arising from the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir. He recommended them to divide the enquiry into two parts. First, as to the state of the Reservoir prior and up to the 5th of February, and this would from a very important part of their enquiry ; and second, whether or not this accident had arisen from culpable negligence. If they were satisfied that it had arisen from culpable negligence they would bring in a verdict of manslaughter, but they must be perfectly satisfied as to who were responsible, and how far that responsibility rendered them liable, before they could entertain such a verdict He proposed to enquire into the interpretation of the act of parliament, the construction of the reservoir, and, so far as could be ascertained, into the proceedings of the Commissioners, and the state of the reservoir previous to the 5th of February, and then complete the case by receiving that report of the engineer sent down by government to investigate the causes of this misfortune. When the whole of the evidence had been laid before them, and assisted by the report of Captain Moody, he apprehended they would not have much difficulty in coming to a conclusion. He understood it would be impossible for Capt. Moody to make his report until he had heard the evidence to be tendered at this enquiry, and as that gentleman not be prepared with that report before Monday, he (Mr. Dyson) proposed at the close of to-day’s proceedings to adjourn the enquiry to Monday.
Mr. Jacomb then rose, and addressed the jury, but his voice was frequently inaudible. He was understood to say that he attended there as the Clerk of the Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs, and took the earliest opportunity of producing an order of that body, made at an extraordinary general meeting on the preceeding day. The order he was about to produce was unanimously adopted, and was as follows :—
- That Mr. Jacomb, the clerk, be and is hereby authorised and empowered to give and produce such evidence at the investigation before the Coroner and jury as may tend to a full, fair, and impartial enquiry into the breaking of the Bilberry Reservoir.
In pursuance of that order he appeared there, and it would be his duty in the course of this very painful enquiry to act strictly according to his instructions, and with a desire to have a full, fair, and impartial investigation. He would wish, in the first place, to draw the attention of the Coroner to the constitution of the jury. He was informed by persons residing in the neighbourhood that one gentleman on that jury (he did not know him) had expressed very strong opinions upon the subject about to be investigated. That gentleman, he was told, had lost every penny by this painful calamity, and under such circumstances he must necessarily feel more strongly on this subject than others, and he (Mr. Jacomb) thought that if they were to have a full, fair, and impartial investigation, the jury should be free from such influences. He believed there were other gentlemen an the jury who were sufferers by this calamity, and the jury knew that it was impossible, in the course of human nature, for gentlemen under such circumstances not to be somewhat prejudiced against that from which their losses had arisen. He was aware that it was usual to take the jury upon such occasions from the surrounding neighbourhood, because such parties were supposed to possess a better local knowledge, and decisions in such cases bore out this course ; but he did hope the fame had arrived when, amongst other alterations, jurors assembled for the investigation of such matters as were then before them would be selected from persons who could not be influenced by personal considerations. For the reasons he had assigned he submitted whether it would not be better that the gentlemen to whom he had referred (he believed his name was Mr. Martin) should withdraw from the jury. As to the other gentlemen who were sufferers he would leave them to the consideration of their position.
The Coroner said that it would not be possible for him to permit the withdrawal of any other gentleman but Mr. Martin, as he thought in such cases as the one to be investigated it was necessary to have a larger jury than on ordinary occasions. He had been exceedingly careful in giving his instructions as to the formation of the jury, and it had been selected from three or four townships, including Holmfirth and Netherthong, and he thought it was so formed as to give satisfaction to all parties. As to Mr. Martin, if that gentleman had expressed the strong feelings attributed to him on this question, he thought it would tend to the satisfaction of the public if he withdrew. As to the other gentlemen he did not think the reason assigned sufficient.
Mr. Martin denied the charge made against him. The only expression he remembered having made use of was an enquiry as to whether the offices of treasurer and clerk were both held by one person, accompanied by the observation that if such was the case the party was liable to a penalty of £100.
Mr. Floyd desired to ask Mr. Martin a question, but Me Coroner said he could not allow the jurors to be questioned.
Mr. Martin resumed by saying that he had sworn to sit this jury without fear or favour to any one, and to intended to do so. He would discharge his duty, and the public would judge whether he did so or not.
The Coroner, in reply to Mr. Jacomb, said he could not discharge Mr. Martin. All that he could do was to give that gentleman permission to withdraw.
Mr. Jacomb then resumed, and said that there was another matter to which he wished to call the attention of the jury, and it was in reference to the press. He had to suggest the question whether the reporters should make their reports from day to day or delay their publication until the close of the enquiry. He was not one of those who would stop the liberty of the press, but a coroner’s inquest was merely an ex parte enquiry, and most probably a portion of the evidence might be whole on one side of the question, and exceedingly detrimental to individuals, if published before the close of the enquiry. It had been established that if reporters did publish that which was not correct, in reference to what took place before a coroner’s inquest, they rendered themselves liable to an action at law for so doing. He would beg the representatives of the press present to be extremely careful as to what they said. He mentioned this with the […?] feelings to the press, but he thought it his duty to mention them, that this was a very serious and very important enquiry, and might involve individuals to a very serious extent. That being the case, the reporters ought to be extremely cautious not to place themselves in wrong position.
The Coroner said that it was only in modern times that reports of inquests had been allowed to appear in print, but it had become a matter of such regular practice that he should not now think of interfering with it. At the same time he trusted, if it was pointed out to the reporters that an injustice would be caused to certain individuals by the publication of their reports, that they would postpone their publication until the close of the enquiry. This matter had been mentioned to him by the jury, but he did not make any request, and should leave the reporters to exercise their own judgment on the subject
EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES.
The Coroner then proceeded to examine the following witnesses :—
Thomas Hugh said I am a tailor, and live at Upper-bridge, Holmfirth. Eliza Marsden was no relation of mine. She lived in Water-street, Hinchliffe-mill. There were herself, her sister, and two children. Her house was entirely swept away with the flood, and she was lost. I was stood on the Higgin-bridge, ordering the men to take the wreck of the bridge, between three and four in the afternoon of the 5th. After they had removed some of the wreck I saw an arm, and I told them to be cautious. After they had removed a portion of the rubbish the body floated away, together with a cart wheel. On being recovered, I recognised the body to be that of Eliza Marsden. We put a plank to the wreck, and she was taken to the Rose and Crown.
Frederick Marsden said I am a joiner. I live at Holme. I knew deceased, and saw her the Thursday before this misfortune She was lost in this flood. I afterwards saw her at the Rose and Crown.
Mr. W. Jacomb was next examined, and said I am a solicitor, residing at Huddersfield. I am clerk to the Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs, and received my appointment on the 3rd March, 1846. The clerks who preceded me were Mr. W. Stephenson, appointed July 3, 1837, and Messrs. C. S. Floyd and H. Booth, on the 30th December, 1841, and Mr. Kidd on the 19th January, 1846. In the latter end of 1845, or the early part of 1846, I had a conversation with Mr. John Brooke, of Armitage-bridge, and Mr. Joseph Brook, of Huddersfield, two of the Commissioners, with whom I was then in almost daily intercourse. In the course of that conversation they stated that the Commissioners were in considerable difficulty in respect to the Holme Reservoirs, for which they required my professional services. They stated that Messrs. Floyd and Booth either had or were about giving up the clerkship, and requested to know whether I would accept the appointment. I told them I would consider the subject, and I afterwards saw Mr. Floyd, to ascertain of him the circumstances which induced him to retire, telling him I would not accept the appointment unless with his full approbation. In reply, he stated the Commissioners were involved in much litigation and other difficulties, causing difference of opinion between them, and that as several of them were connections or clients of his, he found it difficult to act with pleasure to himself, and he had, therefore, resolved upon retiring. He further added, that if I accepted the office it would be with his full approbation, and that he saw no reason why I should not. In consequence of this I afterwards told Messrs. John Brooke and Jos. Brook that I was prepared to accept the appointment. For several weeks after this I heard nothing more of the subject, until I received a letter from Mr. Kidd, on or about the 3d of March, 1846, stating that the appointment was given to me. My appointment was dated 3rd March, 1846. I subsequently obtained from Mr. Kidd or Mr. Floyd the minutes of proceedings, and all the papers and other documents of the Commissioners. The first meeting of the Commissioners was on the 3d July, 1837. The meeting was for the qualifying of Commissioners and the appointment of officers. The gentlemen appointed as Commissioners at that meeting were — Mr. John Brooke, Armitage-bridge, Mr. John Harpin, Burnlee, Mr. Edward Butterworth, Mr. John Hinchliffe, of Horsfield-house, Mr. Thomas Cockhill Wrigley, Mr. Joshua Moorhouse, Mr. John Hinchliff, Scholes, Mr. George Battye, Mr. Joshua Littlewood, Mr. William Battye, Mr. Thomas Battye, Mr. George Tinker, Mr. John Hobson, Mr. Benjamin Butterworth, Mr. Joseph Beardsell, Mr. William Lockwood, Mr. Thomas Moorhouse, Mr. John Hinchlifie, Upper-house. The officers appointed at that meeting were — Mr. Hugh Watt, treasurer, and Mr. W. Stephenson, clerk. It was also ordered at that meeting that the making of the Bilberry Reservoir should be proceeded with. On the 2d August, 1837, there was a meeting of the Commissioners, when the following Commissioners were nominated a committee, to treat with the several owners of land as to the “taking” for the reservoir :— Messrs. John Brooke, J. Harpin, J. Littlewood, E. Butterworth, and John Hinchliffe, of Scholes, with power for any three of them to act ; and at a meeting on the 20th October, Mr. Joseph Brook was added to that committee On the 6th April, 1838, there was a meeting of the Commissioners. Messrs. John Brooke, Jos. Brook, John Harpin, George Tinker, and Littlewood, were appointed a committee to engage a competent engineer for the making of the reservoir, on such terms as they might deem necessary, and at a meeting, 26th October, 1838, the construction of the Bilberry Reservoir was let, on their finding 83curity, to Messrs. D. Sharp, sen., and D. Sharp, jun., of Dewsbury, for £9324. I am in possession of the original contract of Messrs. Sharp, which I now produce.
Coroner — Would you let me have a copy of that document.
Mr. Jacomb — It is very long.
Coroner — Perhaps Captain Moody would require it.
Capt. Moody — It is very important that I should have copy.
Mr. Jacomb — Very well ; I am desirous of affording every information in my power ; and. if you will mention to me what you absolutely require I shall be happy to furnish it.
Mr. Jacomb’s examination continued — I am aware that Mr. George Leather was appointed engineer, though I cannot find any official mention of it.
Capt. Moody — Any papers of proceedings between Mr. Leather and the Commissioners, and between Mr. Sharp and the Commissioners, should be produced.
Mr. Jacomb — I will direct search to be made for them.
Mr. Jacomb’s examination continued — I find from, an entry in the minute book that Mr. Tait was appointed overlooker. Up to the 25th March, 1849, I find no entry of the Bilberry Reservoir, excepting those stated, and of certain payments made to Sharp and Co., on account. On the 25th March the clerk was instructed by the committee to write to Mr. Leather, instructing him to examine and measure the works of the Bilberry Reservoir, and the state of the works there with as little delay as possible. The contract with Messrs. Sharp I believe was broken, and it was afterwards re-let.
Coroner — Does there appear on these minutes any reason for the change of the first contract?
Mr. Jacomb — I am looking to see whether there is or not any such reason assigned. I find the following order at a committee meeting held on the 4th January, 1843:—
Whereas Messrs D. Sharp and Son, the contractors for making the Bilberry Mill Reservoir, having performed part of their work, up to the valve pit at the said Reservoir in an improper and unsatisfactory manner — it is hereby ordered that the Clerk do write to them to inform them that unless they immediately alter the said work, and acres to complete the same to the satisfaction of Mr. Tait, the superintendent of the works, they shall cease to proceed therewith, and other workmen will be employed to complete the same at their expense.
On the 12th May, 1843, there was a meeting of the Commissioners, at which it was ordered that the general committee enter into such steps as are necessary for the repair of the breach in the embankment of the Bilberry Mill Reservoir, and for the making of the same secure, and that any three of their number be empowered to act. There is also an order on the same day that Messrs. John Harpin and John Brooke be appointed a committee to wait upon Mr. Leather, and consult with him as to repairing the breach in the embankment of the said reservoir. I also find that a general meeting of the. Commissioners was held on the 20th August, 1848, when a committee was appointed to consider the estimates for the re-letting of the works. There is another meeting on the 19th Sept. 1843, ordering that the repairing of the embankment of the Bilberry Mill Reservoir, as advertised on the 30th ult., be let to Messrs. D. and G. Porter, at the prices contained in their tender. At a meeting of the Commissioners, 27th September, 1843, it was ordered that Mr. Joshua Little-wood be authorised to measure and inspect the work contracted to be done at Bilberry Mill Reservoir by Messrs. Porter, and that he give such orders to Messrs. Porter respecting the same as he may deem proper. On the 20th December, 1843, I find an order that Jonathan Thorpe, mason, be appointed inspector or overlooker of the works at Bilberry Mill Reservoir, at a wage of 5s. per day. At a meeting on the 24th October, Messrs. John Brooke, Jos. Brook, John Harpin, —— Dyson, G. Littlewood, T. P. Crosland, C. Beardsell, George Hirst, Charles Moorhouse, Joshua Moorhouse, John Hobson Farrar, and John Hinchliffe, were appointed a committee to enquire into the whole of the circumstances in reference to the reservoirs, and report to the next general meeting of the commissioners as to what further powers were necessary ; that they do take such steps as they may deem necessary, and that any five pf them be empowered to act. It was further ordered that the next general meeting of the Commissioners do determine whether or not application should be made to parliament to alter and amend the present act. On the 5th November, 1845, the Commissioners ordered the clerk to write to Mr. Leather, desiring him to furnish a plan and estimate for the repair of the Bilberry Reservoir ; and at a subsequent meeting, held on the 10th, an order was made for further powers to go to parliament, and a committee of nine was appointed to consider the necessary details. There was a division on this subject, and the number of votes forgoing to parliament was 28 ; against it, 17. At a meeting on the 28th Jan., 1846, it was ordered that inasmuch as Mr. Leather had refused to furnish the estimate, and Mr. George Crowther having declined to do so, Mr. Joseph Hall be requested to furnish one. And it was also ordered that an estimate be made for the completion of the Bilberry Reservoir. The appointments of the sluice committee, in accordance with the tenor of the act, appear to have been regularly made. The first order as to the appointment of that committee I find was on the 10th of September, 1840, under the 86th section. The committee was annually renewed save and except last year, when they do not appear to have been re-appointed, the last appointment being on the 9th of July, 1850. The gentlemen then appointed were Messrs. John Roebuck, James Robinson, John Haigh, George Hirst, E. Butterworth, Joshua Moorhouse, John Hinchliffe, of Scholes, David Hinchliffe, Sidney Morehouse, Abel Cuttle, John Moorhouse, Tenter-hill, and Joseph Broadbent. I understand there has always been an arrangement amongst the gentlemen forming the committee that three or some number of them residing the nearest to each reservoir should take the management of such reservoir, and that the remainder of their number should form and act as a general committee. I understood by the appointment that these gentlemen should superintend the supply of water to the mills below.
Coroner — Under the 86th section there is power to appoint a “drawer.” Has any such person been appointed?
Mr. Jacomb — Yes, they were regularly appointed, and the person appointed as drawer of the Bilberry Reservoir was Charles Batty, at a remuneration of £5 per annum From my appointment in Match, 1846, the Commissioners were in a state of insolvency, and have remained so ever since. By the Holme Reservoirs Act the Commissioners were authorised to make four pairs or eight reservoirs, and were empowered to borrow for their construction £40,000 at five per cent interest. On accepting their appointment as clerk, I found they had borrowed the whole £40,000, and not only expended the same in the construction of their reservoirs, but also that they were indebted, or had claims against them, to the amount of several thousand pounds in addition Amongst other debts was one of £2,000 to the Huddersfield Banking Company, for money which l understood the Commissioners had borrowed of that bank and expended in their repairs of the Bilberry Reservoir. Besides that debt they owed their late clerics Messrs. Floyd and Booth, some £700 or £800 on a bill of costs. There were also several sums claimed by Mr Leather, Messrs. Sharp, and Messrs. Porter. The claim by Messrs. Sharp was for £3,000, but they could not recover unless Mr. Leather certified that the works were properly done, and in consequence of Mr. Leather refusing so to certify Messrs. Sharp commenced an action-at-law, and filed a bill in chancery against the Commissioners, which is new pending. The Commissioners were also involved in litigation with some of the ratepayers who had refused to pay their rates. It appeared that the Commissioners had levied distresses upon certain parties for the recovery of rates under the act, and those parties had brought an action of replevin, which had been taken down to York for trial, and an order of reference made to the late Frederick Robinson, Esq., barrister-at-law. This reference was pending when I became clerk. The purposes of the act prepared and deposited in parliament before my appointment was to amend the rating clauses of the former act, and authorise the borrowing of a further sum of money for repairing and making perfect existing reservoirs, and for the paying off of the floating debts of the Commissioners over and above the £40,000 authorised to be raised by the original act. I took it up when it had passed the standing orders committee. The measure was opposed. It was proposed that the principle of rating should be laid down by scientific men. The opposers proposed Mr. George Crowther, and I endeavoured to obtain an engineer on the part of the promoters, but was unable to do so, and our reference on this subject failed in consequence. Upon appearing before the committee an objection was made to the form of the bill, inasmuch as it was a bill to repeal an act, and not a bill to amend an act and give further power. The committee held the objection to be valid, inasmuch as by repealing the existing act they might be interfering with vested rights, but they stated they were willing to grant us a bill for the purpose of raising a further sum of money for the repair and completion of the reservoir, and for the other purposes contemplated by the bill, and they gave us time to consider. The promoters and myself then communicated with the opponents, and I made enquiries of my London agents as to whether it would be possible to press such a bill through parliament that session. I learnt that this could not be done, and we renewed our negotiations with our opponents, and an arrangement was come to on the terms of two letters, dated 29th June, 1846, which passed between myself and the solicitor for the opponents. Previous to the Session of 1847 I prepared, gave notices of, and deposited a bill in parliament, the purposes of which were similar to the one previously applied for. After depositing such notices a meeting of the Commissioners was held on the 29th December, 1846, at which both the letters referred to were read, and a resolution was come to that it was inexpedient to proceed further with the bill. On the 26th of January, 1847, an extraordinary meeting of the Commissioners was held, and it was resolved that no further proceedings should be taken in parliament. Between these applications Mr. Frederick Robinson made his award, dated 21st December, 1846, by which award he decided that the mode of rating adopted by the Commissioners was illegal, and that the rating ought to have been by horse power, and not by foot of foil. Subsequently to that award some of the ratepayers gave notice of appeal, and claiming a reference under the 71st section of the act, and the matter was referred to Mr. Bateman, of Manchester, and Mr. F. R. Jones. Those gentlemen elected Mr. Robinson as umpire, and Mr. Robinson made another award setting out the amount of rates payable by horse power. According to the principle laid down by Mr. Robinson a sum of £700 or £800 only could be raised, instead of £1800 as required to liquidate the interest on the £40,000 already borrowed. Previous to the parliamentary session of 1849, the mortgagees gave notice of an intended application to parliament for a bill, and accordingly a meeting of the Commissioners took place in December, 1848 in reference to that notice, at which the Commissioners declined to take any part in such application. A further meeting took place on the 9th of February, 1849, when a resolution was passed, declaring that the bill was unjust and selfish, and I was instructed to oppose it. A petition was also ordered to be presented against the bill, and a committee was appointed, with power to confer with the mortgagees with the view of an arrangement. The Mortgagees’ Bill was promoted by some of the Commissioners and opposed by others. The bill passed through the Commons but was thrown out in the Lords. Whilst in the committee of the House of Commons clauses were inserted for the repair and completion of the Bilberry Reservoir. Since I was appointed it has been stated at many of the Commissioners’ meetings that the Bilberry Reservoir was safe when filled up to a certain height, and at a meeting on the 26th of August, 1846, the following order was made :—
- That an opening be made in the waste pit of the Bilberry Reservoir at the height of 18 feet above the clough or shuttle, and that Mr. Littlewood be authorised to see the same forthwith carried into effect.
Until the occurrence of this accident I was not aware that that order had never been carried into .effect. On returning from parliament, after being defeated in obtaining our bill, we considered it necessary that something should be done in reference, to this waste pit. I don’t know of any subsequent orders in reference to this waste pit. When we went before parliament to amend our original act we wanted powers to complete the Bilberry Reservoir, so that it might be rendered secure with any quantity of water falling into it
[The coroner and jury then adjourned, at ten minutes to two, for luncheon, and re-assembled at half-past two.]
Mr. George Leather, of Leeds, engineer, on being sworn, said — I was not employed as engineer in the application to parliament for the Holme Reservoir Act, but received my appointment subsequently. On the 18th June, 1888, I received the following, letter from W. and S. Stephenson :
- HOLME RESERVOIRS.
- Dear Sir,
- We are directed by the Commissioners to enquire whether you would undertake the management of making this reservoir. The Commissioners would employ a surveyor under you, — namely, Jonathan Crowther, or some other competent gentleman, to attend to the works ; so that you would only be required to come over now and then, as circumstances might require. If you can make it Convenient to give your attention to this reservoir, you will be so obliging as to favour us with your terms, in order that we may lay the same before the Commissioners, as they are extremely anxious to proceed.
- We are, dear Sir, yours very respectfully,
- (Signed) W. and J. Stephenson.
- We are, dear Sir, yours very respectfully,
- Holmfirth, 18th June, 1888.
I wrote to the Commissioners on the 23rd, accepting their appointment, specifying my terms, and recommending them to have the work properly laid out, and also that the men employed should be practical men, and constantly on the spot. I forwarded this reply to Messrs. Stephenson on the 3rd of October. I have the original plans and specifications of the Bilberry Reservoir, which I how produce.
Captain Moody — What was your data for drainage?
Mr. Leather — Fourteen thousand acres, as supplied to me in a letter from Mr. George Crowther.
Captain Moody — What was your data as to the fall of rain?
Mr. Leather — I had no data, but in making provision in cases of thin sort I generally calculated upon a fall of two vertical inches per 24 hours, so as to allow for the necessary overfall. A fall of two inches of rain per 24 hours on a surface of 1,400 acres would produce 10,164,000 cubic feet. This would pass off over a waste-wear of 36 feet, at a depth of 16 1/3 inches (the area of the culvert at the bottom of the waste pit of the Bilberry Reservoir which would have to take it away), and it would require a velocity of 3 feet per second to pass it off in 24 hours, being little more than 2 miles per hour.
Captain Moody — Can you describe the nature of the subsoil, shale, and rock of this reservoir?
Mr. Leather — The strata consists of millstone grit, shale, and grit alternating, the dip lying across the dam.
Captain Moody — Are you aware what kind of a dip it is. Whether it is gentle or abrupt?
Mr. Leather — It is gentle.
By the Coroner — I received repeated complaints from the overlookers, that they had great difficulty in getting the contractors to do their work according to the specifications.
Captain Moody — I notice in the specification it is required that the puddle trenches shall be carried down to the bottom, and five foot three inches into the rock — are you aware whether that was done?
Mr Leather — It was reported to me that it was, but I do not know.
Captain Moody — Did you see the puddle placed in?
Mr. Leather — No.
Captain Moody — How was the puddling done?
Mr. Leather — I don’t know positively, but when I saw it, it was according to specification.
By the Foreman — When you saw the puddle-bank, was it constructed according to the specification?
Mr. Leather — Yes : it was constructed with a breadth of 16 feet, as specified.
Captain Moody — Was any report made to you during the progress of the works of any spring or drip showing itself in the bottom of the puddle trench?
Mr. Leather — I had no such report, or I should have considered such a thing very important.
By the Foreman — Whilst the embankment was being constructed, did you never hear of any spring at the bottom?
Mr. Leather — No : there was a spring outside of the trench, on the north side, but quite clear of the embankment.
Captain Moody — How was the original brook carried away during the time the work was in progress?
Mr Leather — It was carried away into the Old Bilberry rivulet, and slightly diverged, so that the water might be conveyed by troughs into the old channel of Bilberry Mill.
Captain Moody — Was there any failure during the progress of the works?
Mr. Leather — On one occasion a flood came down, and took away the trough, and washed away part of the embankment.
Captain Moody — On that occasion did it take away the puddle?
Mr. Leather — Yes ; it washed the puddle away, and the latter had to be re-placed. I gave instructions for this to be properly done, but I did not see it done.
Captain Moody — Did you consider yourself the engineer from the commencement to the completion of the work?
Mr. Leather — Not to the completion, because it never was completed.
By the Coroner — You were the engineer up to what time?
Mr. Leather — September, 1844, was the last time I visited the works. In July, 1844, I visited the works, when they were going on with the repairs of the reservoirs, and at that time I was perfectly satisfied the reservoir could not be made to hold water without a puddle line. I described this to some of the Commissioners present, and how it ought to be done, in which they seemed to acquiesce, and I gave orders to the overlooker to have the water got out for the purpose. When I went again in September I found nothing had been done, and the overlooker told me my orders had been countermanded. Jonathan Thorpe was the overlooker, and he said Mr. Littlewood was the person who countermanded the order. I then considered had no further connection with the Commissioners. As early as 1843 there was a run of water through the puddle-bank, and in August 1843 I made a specification for a portion of the embankment to be taken away and replaced, and the culvert to be rebuilt. My reason for that recommendation was in consequence of bur having sunk through the embankment and found it to be unsound, particularly in what ought to have been solid masonry in the middle of the puddle. This was the reason of my making these specifications, but the work was never done during the time I was connected with the reservoir. During its progress I received repeated complaints from Thorpe that the contractors were not carrying out the specifications, but I was never called upon to pass the work.
By the Coroner — To what height had the work progressed in September 1844?
Mr. Leather — I cannot answer that question.
Captain Moody — Do you employ the overlookers, or do you consider yourself responsible?
Mr. Leather — Certainly not. The Commissioners could discharge the overlookers when they thought proper.
Captain Moody — Are you aware of any differences between the overlookers and Contractors from time to time, and particularly during and in reference to the puddling?
Mr. Leather — Yes. There were frequent differences, from the very first commencement. The contractors were reported to myself and the Commissioners by the overlookers constantly.
Captain Moody — Do you know whether the difference between the Messrs. Sharp and the Commissioners had anything to do with this, or what the difference between the, arose from, — whether it was of an engineering or pecuniary nature?
Mr. Leather — Both.
Captain Moody — How high was the embankment on the discovery of the first failing?
Mr. Leather — I do not know exactly, but it was a good way up.
Captain Moody — Was there a head of water at the time?
Mr. Leather — There was, and it had taken away part of the puddle. That was in the latter end of 1842 I think. The first defect was in 1842, or the beginning of 1843. There was a head of water then in the reservoir, and at that time I noticed a leakage in the bottom of the embankment, showing that the water was acting upon the puddle bank. The embankment had settled down.
Captain Moody — That is the whole story.
Mr. Leather continued — It was stated that the masonry above the culvert was had, and we sunk a pit down and replaced the masonry, but that did not remedy the evil. I have not the specifications of that work.
By the Foreman — Was the masonry of the puddle-bank done according to specification?
Mr. Leather — No. (We understood him).
By the Coroner — Then as to the second defect in 1844.
Mr. Leather — It was the same defect I had noticed in 1843. I cannot answer of my own knowledge whether any part , of the specifications were carried out. It was no part of ray contract to see to the carrying out of the plans and specifications. I had to write them out, and the men on the place had to see them carried out, as you will see by the letter of Mr. Stephenson.
Captain Moody — Are you aware whether there is any grating to the shuttle?
Mr. Leather — I am not.
The Coroner — What was the height of the waste pit?
Mr. Leather — 59 feet was the height of the waste pit, and the top of the embankment 8 feet higher. The opening of the shuttle was 18 inches. The superficial area of the culvert as 37½ inches. The quantity of water coming through the valve would be very small in comparison with the water coming through the waste pit. The valve was not calculated to discharge flood water. It the waste pit had been lower than the embankment it would have been sufficient to carry off the flood water. — The embankment according to my specification was sufficient for any size of reservoir. It had an internal slope of 3 to 1, and an external slope of 2 to 1, which gave s base of 5 feet for every vertical foot of water, besides the width of the top which I think was 16 feet. The subsiding of the embankment was caused by a leakage which took away part of the puddle. That is the leakage I noticed in 1842, 1843, and 1844, and which was then attempted to be remedied. On the 2nd of February, 1846, on the Commissioners again applying to parliament, I made an estimate for lining the Bilberry embankment with puddle, so as to reader it watertight. The estimate amounted to £7,800. It is such a long time since I have seen the embankment that I do not know how much it had settled ; but if it was below the waste pit, it could not be safe, because if the water washed over, it would wash away the outer portion of the embankment. It is rather astonishing the embankment stood so well as it did, as there was a leakage. My opinion as to the cause of the breaking of the embankment on the 5th of February is, that it arose from the overflowing and washing away the outer slope ; and thereby taking away the support of the puddle, which was already broken by its subsiding, inasmuch as there would very likely be a space or crack between the puddle and the inner slope of the embankment. The water getting in there would cause it to give way all at once, in consequence of the support on the outside being weakened. If the waste pit had been 7 or 8 feet below the embankment the inference is that the embankment would have stood. If the order of the Commissioners in 1846 had been carried out, and a hole made at an height of 18 feet, in addition to the shuttle, I think it very likely it would have prevented the accident. Had it been my own case I would have lowered the waste pit below the embankment, and had I been consulted I should have recommended such a course. This would not have been a matter of great expense, as the stones might have been used for another purpose. I could have got it done for £50 or less. (After a little consideration.) Mr. Leather added — At a charge of 3d. a cubic foot it might have been done at a cost of £12 10s. The lowering of the waste pit would have prevented the accident, I think, inasmuch as the embankment stood for two or three hours after the water had overflown it.
The following witnesses were then called, in order to ascertain how long the embankment stood after the water first overflowed it.
Charles Batty said — The first time I noticed the water running over the embankment was at half-past eleven. I was on the bank at nine, but it did not flow over then. The embankment gave way at half-past twelve, I believe, but I was not there at the time.
Joseph Whitely Broadhead said — The water ran over about half-an hour before it gave way. There was a cavity in the middle. That cavity might be 1½ yard.
Examination of Mr. Leather by Mr. Jacomb resumed — The last time I was at the reservoir was in September, 1844. In 1845 I went up to look at the embankment, and I saw a settling on the top of the embankment, but whether more than one I cannot say. I cannot say or speak as to the extent of that settlement, or form any estimate, my object being simply to ascertain whether the leakage was stopped. I did not notice whether the top of the waste pit was higher than the top of the embankment. I did not on that occasion suggest to the Commissioners the lowering of the waste pit. I ceased to be employed in 1844, but in 1845, at the request of Mr. Kidd, I gave an estimate. I had nothing further to do with the management than merely coming over now and then up to 1844. [On the suggestion of Mr. Jacomb, the letter to Mr. Leather from Mr Stephenson was again read.] I am certain Mr. Taite reported to me and the Commissioners from time to time as to the state of the works. I was to certify that the work was properly done before Messrs Shaw could obtain their money, and I refused to certify, because the work was not properly done. When I made the plans and specifications in 1843 it included the cutting down of part of the embankment, and the rebuilding of the culvert. There was a cutting made in the embankment, but I did not see it done. I was requested to come over when they got to the bottom, and I did so. The contractor under that specification were Messrs. Porter. I was over in ‘44. I knew Messrs. Porter were then proceeding with the work. I do not know whether they had completed their work when I was over in August, 1845. I cannot charge my memory as to whether the cutting was filled up, as I made my estimate on a general view of the reservoir. There has been a considerable quantity of rain falling throughout the country during the past three weeks. I cannot say whether it continued up to the 5th, but from what I know, I believe it did. There has been very heavy floods throughout the country, but I am not aware that there are any other reservoirs burst. I know they have had great difficulty in preventing such accidents in some cases. I have seen the water higher in the valley where I reside than it was then ; but there are places where I believe it was higher about the 5th of February than at any previous time. In Manchester, for instance, I understand it was higher than in. the celebrated flood of 1848. The fair inference is, that this would have stood if the water had not overflown it.
By the Coroner — I have never, since 1841, received any money (we understood Mr. Leather). I received no salary since that time, but have made charges for work done. In 1844 and 1845. I made special charges for work done, for which I have claimed.
The Jury then rose at ten minutes past five, and the enquiry was adjourned to ten o’clock on Thursday morning.
After the representatives of the Times and Morning Post had left the room, the Coroner, addressing the Reporters present, said, that the Foreman of the Jury had desired him to request that the publication of the reports of these proceedings might be delayed for a few days, but on learning that parcels had already been despatched to the London papers, the suggestion was not pressed, and the matter dropped.
The enquiry was resumed on Thursday morning at 10 15, and the jury having answered to their names the following witnesses were examined.
Charles Batty said — I am a cloth miller, of Bilberry Mill. That is the next mill to the reservoir. I have lived there six years since last October. I have been the drawer of the Bilberry Reservoir for six years. The gentlemen from whom I received my appointment were Mr. George Hirst and Mr. John Roebuck. Mr. J. Roebuck gave me the key. My salary was £5 per year. My duty was to supply the water for the mills below. I was appointed to draw water for Bilberry Mill. I was to draw water to “fit” our mill whether we had work or not, and for the supply of other mills as well I had directions from Mr. Hirst to keep the water at a height of 35 or 37 feet in the reservoir, and not to exceed 40 feet if I could help it. He assigned as the reason, that it was not safe above that height. We had no marks specifying the height. I ascertained when it was 37 feet, from a place in the waste pit called a “square,” which was generally considered 40 feet high. Some people estimate that at 44 feet. I have generally drawn the shuttle at that height, but sometimes the water rose higher. I never saw the water come over the embankment before the 4th of February instant. I received my orders and directions from Mr. George Hirst and Mr. John Roebuck during Mr. Hirst’s life, but since Mr. Hirst’s death I received them from Mr. Roebuck, and from no other person. I had no instructions to look to the repair of the reservoir, and my duty was simply to draw the water. We had a good deal of rain on the Saturday preceding the 4th, and some days previously. On the Saturday afternoon preceding the accident the water was 36 feet high. It was under the square referred to. The shuttle was partly drawn on that day. The proper quantity of water did not flow through the shuttle, and I drew it up to the height on Saturday, and it remained drawn up to Sunday morning. On Sunday morning the water had risen to 44 feet. It was four “courses” above the square, and we reckoned the “courses” at one foot each course. On Sunday morning Mr. John Roebuck was at our house, and I told him that there was not the quantity of water coming out of the shuttle that there used to do. We then went to the reservoir, and we found that the full quantity of water was not coming through. We had two shuttles, but one was not in working order. That shuttle, however, was up. We tried to move it, but could not and Mr. Roebuck measured it, and ascertained that it was up. The screw part had been taken off. We then tried the front shuttle. It was in working order. We let it down and pulled it up to try it, after which we left it up. The next time I visited the reservoir was on Monday, about noon. The water then was better than a foot below the “square.” The water coming in then was not so strong as on Sunday. I did not go up again till Wednesday night, about five. The water was just at the ladder at the bottom of the valve pit, and would be five or six feet above the square, and we estimated the height at 46 feet. The shuttle was still at the top. I did not take particular notice of the escape of water, but I think it was the same as on Sunday, and was loss than formerly. The first time that I had noticed that the escape was less than formerly was on the Saturday. I think there was more than half the usual quantity coming through the shuttle at that time. There was on the embankment, besides myself, Charles Batty, of Bottoms-mill, and Joseph Broadbent Whitely, of Green-owlers. It was raining very heavily at that time, and the water was coming very strong. Mr. Roebuck came up afterwards, and I saw him at my house, and told him the stream was coming in very strong, and that the escape from the shuttle was only about half what it ought to be. Mr. Roebuck said, he thought the reservoir would burst if it continued raining, and he ordered me to remove my family. This was betwixt five and six o’clock, and I did, remove them. I saw Mr. Roebuck again on the reservoir bank about nine o’clock. I can’t exactly speak to the height of the water, as it was getting dark, but it had risen three or four feet. The water was a good bit off running over then. I should say from the valve pit it would be 50 feet high at the time ; it would be at least ten feet above the “square.” I did not remain long upon the embankment then, but returned again soon after nine o’olock, and found the water about three feet perpendicular from the surface of the embankment, I was there several times again that night, but I don’t know exactly what were the hours. I left Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Whitely, and several other persons there. I was there about half-past eleven. Jos. Whitely was there, but I did not see Mr. Roebuck. The water was then running over, but not in a great quantity. I believe it had been running over some time. Mr. Roebuck might have been there then, but I did not see him. I had no conversation with him on the embankment. I saw him in a field close by at this time, and I had some talk with him. I heard him cry out to the people on the, embankment to come off. I am not aware he said anything else. I did not hear him say that he was afraid the reservoir would burst, but he might say something to that effect. I am not aware that Joseph Whitely said anything at that time. I asked Whitely at one time, but I don’t know when, what he thought of it. Mr. George Hirst’s sons were also on the embankment, and I asked them how it was they were not at home. I asked them if they had removed anything, and advised them: to go home, as their mother might require their assistance. My reason for giving this advice was that I thought the reservoir might burst. I did not remain long near the embankment then. I removed part of my goods about ten at night : the others were left. To the best of my knowledge the embankment burst about half-past twelve o’clock. I was in my own house at that time, but my family had been removed. It was with great difficulty that I escaped. I left Jos. Whitely on the embankment. Before, it burst I saw Joshua Charlesworth, engineer of Bilberry Mill, and he said he would go up and see how it was going on. He was the first who alarmed me ; I heard some one whistle, but I did not know what it meant. It would be a quarter of an hour after he went up that became down and alarmed me. There was not a great noise, but a tremendous rush of water. The regular stream was rather stronger for a few minutes, and then it came “all abreast” in one mass. I gave no warning to any one but Mrs. Hirst. The waste pit was higher than the embankment when I was appointed, and the embankment had settled since. There was a settlement at that time opposite the waste pit which still remains, I don’t think that has ever moved. There was another settling near the opposite side, and that also still remains. There was a small one on the right hand side of the embankment, but I don’t remember any other. Subsequent to that time another settlement took place where the embankment has burst. It was larger than the others, I think it will be about two or three years since I first noticed this last settling. I should think the embankment along the puddle line lowered ten feet after my appointment. I noticed water in the large settlement about half-past eleven, and it remained there a short time before it run ever. It was about an hour afterwards that the embankment burst. Messrs. John Roebuck and George Hirst observed this settlement regularly, but I do not remember having any conversation with them about it. I have never received any written or printed instructions or any book as to the height at which the water was to be kept. The instructions I received on my appointment were that I was to draw water to “fit” Bilberry Mill, and it was considered that the water which would “fit” that mill, with the runs would do for the mills below. I mean by “runs” what are “leaks” coming from the embankment of that reservoir. The water escaped in three places, one was fair in the bottom of the embankment about the middle. There was another in the corner of the right hand side of the embankment going up the valley. It would not be quite half way up the embankment. It was in the corner of the embankment close to the hill side. It was at the junction of the embankment with the hill, and we could not speak positively as to where the water came from as we thought it might have come from the rock. I think it would be a foot into the embankment from the hill side. There was a third leakage on the left hand side opposite the waste pit, where there had been a “drift.” I cannot speak positively as to the quantity coming from these leakages, but it might be a stream as thick as my arm from each, when there was a good quantity of water in the reservoir. The water from the leakages was not always clear, but was sometimes muddy. The water from the leakage where the drift had been was generally clear. I never noticed it muddy. The one on the right hand side used to be muddy when there came an extraordinary flow of water, — a “fresh,” but when there was no “fresh” it was generally clear. The leakages were clear, except during “freshets.” The embankment round the leakage at the bottom was generally dry. The bottom of the embankment about the leakage was of stone. It came out from the stone in one stream. I have never seen a leakage in the middle of the embankment, but when the water was about four feet above the square there was another leakage above the culvert, which was also about as thick as my arm. When I found the water did not come out full through the shuttle on Saturday, we put down the shuttle to see if there was any obstruction, but there was none. Since my appointment I have known an obstruction, and we then worked the shuttle to see whether it would go down or not. It would not, and we let the water off, when we found a tree which lay down the swallow, and into the shuttle hole, where it was held by a booked end. This obstruction took place a year ago last December. There was nothing done at that time to prevent such an obstruction, in future. I acquainted Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Hirst with this circumstance. There is no grate to the shuttle. I have not seen any person throw any trees into the reservoir. I have seen trees floating m the reservoir during a fall, up at a place called “Bradshaw,” about, half a mile from the edge of the reservoir ; but I don’t know whether they were thrown in. Those trees were taken out of the reservoir by some parties and removed. Sometimes they have been allowed to remain for some months. We have never put any timber there ourselves to season. The fall would be in the summer of 1850. The pole was in the shuttle the December following. I am not aware of any objection being made to this wood being in the reservoir. John Dyson Whitely was the owner of this wood.
Captain Moody — Did you before or at the time of the bursting of the embankment notice any powerful upheaving or springing up of the water from the foot of the embankment?
Batty — No.
By Mr Jacomb — The reservoir has never been empty during the last summer. The water was never so low as the shuttle. Six or seven feet above the shuttle was the lowest point at which it has been during the last summer or autumn. There had been much rain for two or three weeks before the Saturday preceding the accident. The rain was not very heavy on Saturday or Saturday night, but a good deal fell. It rained also on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday were fine days. Wednesday was a very wet day, and the rain continued up to eleven or twelve o’clock at night. It was also very windy and boisterous. I never saw so much water in the reservoir before as on Wednesday. Six years ago it was near running over, and there was very little difference between those two times.
By a Juror — When the water ran over the embankment it was about half way up the coping or top course of the waste pit, or within twelve inches of the top.
Mr. Jacomb continued — I don’t think the embankment would have burst if the water had not washed over it. There were a great number of persons on the embankment on Wednesday night. I went up to the Bradshaw dike to see the water come in, and in my judgment there was more coming in at the Bradshaw dike than was passing out of the shuttle There is another stream called “Hey dike” which flows into the reservoir. There is not much difference between the volume of these two streams. We could not get to see the “Hey dike.” I never saw the water in the reservoir rise so rapidly as it did that evening. I heard there were some persons from Holmfirth on the embankment on Wednesday night. One of those persons I believe was named Garside, and another Horsfall, but I did not see them. I am not aware of any conversation as to warning being given to the people in the valley. I think, the three runs or “leak” would not be so much as passed through the culvert. I think it would, not be equal to half the quantity.
By the Foreman — It would be when the water was very high.
By the Coroner — It is a year since last December since John Mitchell and I raised the inner shuttle. It could not since be lowered again.
Jonathan Woodcock said — I live at Hoobrook-bottom. I lived there five years, and previous to that I lived nearer the reservoir. I was appointed drawer to this reservoir I think in 1844. On being appointed I received no instructions only to draw for the mill. I had nothing to do with looking after the repairs. Mr George Hirst and Mr Edward Butterworth gave me my instructions about drawing the water. Shortly after I was appointed I had a little book given to me into which I entered the height of water daily. The first entry was on the 24th of May and the last on the 29th of September, 1845. Made no more entries because I gave notice to give up, and four months afterwards I did give up. In this book there were certain rules to guide me : I have read those rules. I was appointed soon after the reservoir was made, and the embankment was then in such a state that the water flowed from the leakages. When the reservoir was from 44 to 45 feet high, it was sufficient to supply the mills for a fortnight, together although the shuttle was down. I never had to draw the shuttle until the water fell to 30 feet. The reason why I gave up this situation was because I could not obtain my wage. There were marks on the rock up to 35 feet by which I ascertained the height of the water in the reservoir.
By the Foreman — The marks were every five feet.
By the Coroner — The embankment began to sink as soon as the contractors left, and it had sunk below the surface of the waste pit before I left. It was below, but I don’t know how much. During this time I noticed some leakages. There had always been a leakage at the bottom near the middle. It was sometimes as thick as my arm and sometimes less. There was another run on the north side, just at the end of the embankment. I cannot say positively, but I believe it was clear of the embankment. I did not notice any others. The water from the bottom run was frequently muddy. The water was clearer at one time than another, and it was more muddy when the reservoir filled. The water on the north side was always clear. The volume of the stream from the leakage varied according to the height of the water in the reservoir. I received no orders as to what height I should keep the water in the reservoir. I was at the reservoir on the Sunday morning before the accident. They were working the shuttles. Mr John Roebuck was. coming away when I was going, and he said, “There is great danger.” We were about forty yards from the reservoir then. The water was forty-seven feet high. It was three feet above the “square,” and I reckon the “square” as forty-four feet high. I noticed the water through the shuttle. It did not sweep through as it ought to do, and, in my opinion, there was only about half the quantity which ought to have come. I looked down the waste pit, and observed that the water was boiling up instead of sweeping through. I was at the reservoir again on Wednesday night, at nine o’clock. I went there because Joseph Whitely told me that the water was within eight feet of the top. When I got there it was within two courses (exclusive of the coping) of the top of the waste pit. It was about two yards from the top of the embankment by the slop, or about two feet perpendicular. There were many people on the embankment at that time. Mr John Roebuck was there, but at that time he said nothing. The first time I said a very little, and returned about eleven, when I found that the water was nearly running over. Mr John Roebuck was there then, and he said “you will see such a sight before one, or at the latest, two o’clock as you never saw in your life before.” I understood he referred to the bursting of the reservoir. He said there would not be a mill left in the valley. I remained on the embankment till it burst. The water began to overflow the embankment about, half-past eleven. There was nothing done the waste pit or other places to prevent the bursting.
By the Foreman — There was no means of getting to the waste pit after the water had risen.
By the Coroner — I was close to the embankment when it burst. It did not burst all at once. There was a hollow in the puddle on the north side. The water commenced to overflow on the north side, into the hollow first, and then over it, when it washed away part of the embankment. There was no Water to be seen in the hollow at eleven. The first time I noticed it flow into that hollow would be about, twenty minutes past eleven. It lodged there for half an hour, after which it overflowed the outer portion of the embankment. The hollow would be six feet in depth. It was on the outside of that hollow where I noticed the embankment first give way. It began to give way about the middle of the embankment. The water ran along the top, and the upper surface of the embankment continued to give way. After that the water boiled up about the middle of the outside slope of the embankment, and swept away a great quantity at once. The water washed nearly to the Bottom, close, as we imagined, to the puddle bank. We were then aware of the consequences which would follow, and withdrew from the embankment. The embankment gave way, and Bilberry Mill was swept down in less than five minutes afterwards. After the outer portion of the embankment was washed away the puddle bank was standing, but we had not much time to notice it.
By the Foreman — I did not stop on the embankment five minutes after that.
By the Coroner — We got on to the hill side, about 100 yards from the embankment, when we heard the noise of the bursting. Two men left the embankment to give the Warning, but I don’t know how long it was that they left before the embankment burst. At the time when John Roebuck made use of the language referred to, he did not, to my knowledge, give any orders for warning the people below. I cannot tell how long it was before the bursting when the two men were sent down to give warning. Their names were John Whitely and Benjamin Bray.
By Mr Jacomb — The entries in this book of the height of the water (book handed to him by Mr Jacomb) are my own. They were made from day to day after I returned from the reservoir. The greatest height of the water in the reservoir was not figured in the book. It was higher on the last Saturday in December, 1845, whilst I was drawer, when the water was within two or three feet of the top of the pit. On no other occasion except that did it exceed forty-five feet. I was not discharged for leaving the shuttle down. I never was discharged. I left because I could not get my wage. I waited upon Mr Hixon, Mr. Stephenson’s clerk, and he said he had no money, nor was he likely to have any, and I said, “Why, then, I must give up the business.” I afterwards waited upon Mr Jacomb, and he told me he had something else to do than attend to such like men as me. (Laughter.)
By the Foreman — I cannot say that Mr Jacomb said he neither wanted to see me nor the book.
Mr Jacomb — I won’t say I have not had such a conversation with the witness ; as I was much pressed with business at that time ; but I don’t remember ever seeing him before.
Mr John Hirst said — I live at Dobcross. I have lived at Digley Mill the whole of my life up to the last 16 months, being up to that period part owner of the property. I remember the making of. the Bilberry Reservoir. I never qualified as a commissioner. I was not cognisant of the plans and specifications of Mr. Leather. I knew that the work in the construction of the Bilberry Reservoir was deficient. I know the embankment sunk soon after it was made. I noticed some leakages in the embankment. I believe there were three. There was one near the waste pit where a drift way had been driven. I have no conception as to the volume of the stream of water from this leakage, as it was spread over two or three feet. The colour of the water varied, being sometimes clear and at others of a clay colour. The colour did not depend particularly upon, the fresh, nor upon the state of the weather in all cases. The second leakage was in the centre of the embankment, just at the bottom. This leakage covered a greater surface than the other. The colour of the water here varied also. The flow would be twice as much as the other, and was more spread. It did not spout out. There was a third leakage in the north side, still in the embankment and near the bottom. This leakage was not so strong as either of the others. It also varied in colour, but was more clear than the others. I also saw a leakage is the embankment, about the middle of the slope. When the reservoir was pretty well filled, this leakage was very strong. I noticed the leakage in tire embankment at the time of the flood, six years ago, and since. There was a fifth leakage over the culvert, and stronger than any of the others, the colour of the water being similar to that in the reservoir. The first time I noticed the sinking of the embankment near the waste pit was upwards of six years ago. The fifth leakage might be half a dozen-yards from this hollow. Considering all these leakages, I did not consider the reservoir safe, nor have I ever done so. Before leaving Digley I noticed two other settlements in the centre of the puddle line. The whole of the three settlements were on the south of the centre, one of them being near the centre. I informed my brother that I considered it unsafe. I have not mentioned it to any other person, except in general conversation. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood considered it unsafe. Five of six years ago last December there was a high flood, and the water reached up to the coping stones. The water went through the earth and over the puddling, and then into the enter surface, but it did not flow over the embankment.
By Mr Jacomb — For the last six years I have considered it unsafe. Notwithstanding this, I continued to reside at Digley Mill up to October, 1850. The house in which I lived up to that., tone was one of those which had been swept away by the flood.
[The jury adjourned for dinner at two p.m., and re-assembled at half-past two.]
Mr Joseph Sharp said — I live at Dewsbury. I am a stonemason. My father was one of the contractors for making the Bilberry Reservoir. I am 31 years of age. I worked at the Bilberry Reservoir whilst it was making. We constructed the puddle-line as follows :— When we got to the bottom of the puddle trench, to the specified depth, we found a bottom formed of “rag,” or shale. The weather was fine and dry. When we got to the bottom we had to wait of Mr. Leather something like a week. There was a soft place in the middle of the puddle dyke or trench. By somebody’s orders, I don’t know whether Mr. Leather’s or not, we were ordered to sink four feet below the bottom of the puddle trench. When we got to this depth we discovered a spring of water about as strong as my leg. We used a three-inch bore syphon to get the water out, and it took about three weeks to get the trench clear. During this time the water of the reservoir broke in upon us. After getting the place clear we started to puddle. We thought the weight of puddle would push the water back into its own course. The spring followed us up the puddle-bank, but I cannot say to what height. When the weight of puddle came upon it, and the water could not force its way up, it then worked its way to the outside on the lower side of the embankment. After that, by some one’s orders, we took out a piece of the outer embankment to the solid, and replaced it by a fresh puddle. I never saw anything more of the spring whilst I was there. The spring followed us up about twenty feet above the bottom of the trench. The spring was somewhere about the centre of the puddle bank. When we left the works the embankment appeared completed. The embankment was then up to its full height, and was six feet higher than the waste pit. When the reservoir, was full, or when there was any weight of water in it, I observed leakages.
By the Foreman — The reservoir was full before I left, and I have seen the water flow over the waste pit. That would be I think in 1839.
By a Juror — We were four or five years on these works.
By the Coroner — Before we had finished there was a solid mass of masonry put down the side of the culvert into the bottom of the puddle-trench. I don’t know the object of that being put there, but I believe it was to support the puddle-bank end and to stop a run of water which had broken out at the bottom of the culvert. We sunk down the embankment to do that. I did not think there was danger on account of those leakages. The water from the leakages during a fresh was rather yellow, but at other times it was bright.
By Mr Jacomb — I think it was about 1838 when we commenced the works. I joined them three weeks after the works were commenced and continued there up to the completion of the reservoir in 1842. The engineer who had the management of these works was Mr Leather. Mr Taite was the inspector during the great part of the work. I think Mr Taite was not there at the commencement, but came shortly afterwards. I don’t know whether Mr Taite communicated with Mr Leather. I saw Mr Leather there several times during the progress of the works. I did not see him there several times during one year I cannot say how often I saw Mr Leather there. There has been some “bother” between the commissioners and my father, but I don’t know what, Mr Leather refused to certify my father’s work. There never was any masonry put in the embankment that Mr Leather made us take away.
By the foreman — David Porter was employed at the reservoir after we left. We did complete the embankment.
By the Coroner — I believe my father and brother completed the work according to the contract.
Mr. David Porter said — I am a contractor, at Fartown, near Huddersfield. In 1843 I was employed by the Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs to pull down a part of the embankment of the Bilberry Reservoir, and make it perfect ; and also to repair a part of the culvert and rebuild it. We had a drift to drive (for about nineteen feet) from the bottom of the embankment, near the bye-wash, to convey away what might come in contact with us in our works. At the end of the drift we had a piece of masonry to put in, ten feet long and six feet square. There was an aperture through the middle to carry away the water. The drift was about nineteen feet below the culvert bottom. We came to the rock there. This was done in consequence of the lowering of the embankment, which had lowered about fifteen foot. Whilst sinking, we came to a bed of shale several feet thick, which it was thought desirable to take out, and have replaced with solid ashlar work. I one day saw Mr. Leather during the works, but I don’t know where I got my instructions from. We entered into a contract for £1450, to do certain work according to the specifications ; but besides this work there was some other special work. The total of my account against the Commissioners was about £1950. The whole of the nineteen feet of drift-way was completed according to the instructions of Mr Leather. We had instructions from Jonathan Thorpe, the inspector, which we understood were from Mr Leather, and were given in 1843 or 1844, to extend the drift to a hollow place in the embankment. We were engaged twelve months on tire Bilberry Reservoir works. Whilst engaged in driving the drift we were stopped by the inspector, Jonathan Thorpe. The water went away betwixt the shale and masonry, and came out through the aperture. The mason got a quantity of cement and stopped it up. When we came to fill up between the masonry and the puddle, there was so much water I would have nothing do with it. After that time nine of the Commissioners came up and employed my men to fill it up. I told them it would not do, it would give way.
By the Foreman — So much water came in that it was sludge instead of a stiff puddle, and the men worked up to their knees in water.
By the Coroner — About a week after that Mr Leather came. He said it was very foolish of them to send for him so often, it being money thrown away as Littlewood was the engineer, and not himself (Mr Leather). I never saw Mr Leather at the reservoir either before or after that time. Whilst they were stopping that water I went to Mr Harpin and he said I must follow the orders of Jonathan Thorpe, for they had been “Leathered” hard enough, The embankment gave way at the end of the masonry, two or three inches every morning. If we had had our own way we should have made it all perfect. Whilst we were puddling there was a stream of water flowing in which weakened it. If they had not let the water get in between the shale and masonry we should have made it good.
By Mr. Jacomb — I don’t know how long a time elapsed between Sharps’ giving up the work, and my taking it, but it would be a year or two. I finished my work in July, 1845. I both found my work in September, 1843, imperfect, and I left it imperfect in 1845, and so would any person else as they would not let me do the work properly. Mr Leather recommended the continuing the drift, and we went to Mr Harpin about it, and he said we had been “Leathered” enough.
By the Coroner — If the drift had been continued according to the directions first given, that part of the embankment we repaired would have been safe. Those directions were not carried out in consequence of the interference of the nine Commissioners before mentioned. The names of those Commissioners were Messrs John Harpin, George Hirst, John Hirst, two of the Butterworths, Joseph Beardsell. I don’t know who the others were. I think Mr Littlewood was there but I am not sure. The work we did is still standing. I think the overflowing of the embankment was the cause of it bursting.
By Mr Jacomb — In addition to driving the drift Mr Leather suggested the taking the rock out at the bottom of the reservoir, and replacing it with puddle, but this was not done. The rock was to be taken out inside of the reservoir about fifteen yards from the entrance of the swallow.
By the Coroner — Mr Littlewood measured my work.
John Taite said — I am a mason, and live at Holmfirth. I was clerk of the works of the Holme Reservoirs. I received my appointment in the commencement of 1838, and continued to the termination of the contracts. I was employed by Mr Leather, and paid by Mr Hixon, clerk to Messrs Stephenson. Whilst we were making the reservoir we had two floods. I don’t know the height of the embankment when the first flood came. These floods swept away a lump of the embankment and a trough. I cannot tell the date of the first flood. During the progress of the works there was a rise or spring of water in the bottom of the puddle bank, near the centre. I saw this before any puddle was thrown in. The stream of water from this spring would have filled a half inch pipe. It took three or four weeks to work the water entirely away. There was an additional strength of puddle, of the form of a crescent, put in on the outer side of the embankment, with the intention of throwing the water to the inside, instead of to the outside. It followed the puddle up to a height of fifteen or sixteen feet. This work was done by the directions of Mr. Falshaw, agent to Mr. Leather. We kept adding clay until we lost the spring, when we put the puddle bank into proper form. The spring was never stopped completely, and there was always a run under the embankment. I cannot say whether any of the leakages came from this spring. They always ran in the old water-course, which was the lowest part of the valley. When the floods came down, or heavy rains, it came through the puddle end next the rocks. I never saw a leakage on the north side, near the culvert. Sometimes the water from leakage was very clear, at other times of a clayey colour. It will be nine years and a half since I left the reservoir, and did not see it again until about eight or nine months ago. I then went over the embankment, and observed two sunken places. One of them was near the waste pit, and the other has been washed away. The centre one was rather nearer the waste pit. The size of the one in the centre would be twenty feet surface and more than two yards deep. I thought the bye wash was higher than the embankment, and I thought the reservoir was in a very dangerous state. I considered the settlements were caused by the run of water underneath. It was my place to look after the puddling and works as it progressed, and a man was kept to watch the puddling. In my opinion it was properly done. I never saw in the puddling trench more water than was necessary.
By Mr Jacomb — I left before Sharps’ finished their contact. During all the time I acted under Mr Leather or his agent, and I considered Mr Leather the engineer and manager. Every fortnight I sent Mr Leather a report as to the state of the works, excepting when the work was very light, when, perhaps, a month might elapse, and I occasionally, when anything particular occurred, went over to see Mr Leather personally. I communicated with Mr Leather, and I told him that the water was discovered in the puddle trench, and Mr Falshaw, his agent, came over. He considered the plan suggested would be sufficient. There was no other mode, either by pipes or otherwise, suggested for carrying the water away. The intention was to force the water through the clay from the outside to the inside of the reservoir. I did not consider that this would endanger the embankment.
By the Coroner — What I meant by forcing the water back, was to force it back through its own channel.
By the Foreman — They sunk down 15 feet to discover the spring.
By Mr Jacomb — I have no recollection of any masonry that was wrong whilst I was there. There was a shaft sunk down near the culvert to replace some masonry, but I am not aware that Mr Leather considered the work imperfect.
The Jury then rose at 5 50 p.m., and adjourned until ten o’clock on Friday morning.
The enquiry opened yesterday morning at ten o’clock.
Mr. Jacomb, before proceeding with the examination, suggested that certain parties who were stated to have been on the embankment on the 4th, and to have reported in Holmfirth as to the dangerous state of the reservoir, should he examined, and requested that they might be summoned to give evidence.
The Coroner thought it very proper that such parties should be examined, and summonses were granted.
The following witnesses were then called :—
Mr George Leather was re-called to correct certain dates in his previous evidence, and said — There are some dates in my former evidence I wish to correct in reference to the time when I observed the first leakages. I stated it was in the latter end of 1842 or the commencement of 1843, but I could not remember which. In that statement I was mistaken. I find on reference to my books that the first leakage was in May, 1841, as I find I went up to examine it on the 1st of June, 1841. The steps taken to remedy them were not completed until the latter end of 1842. The second defect took place early in 1843. The water then burst through the culvert. That was the leakage for the re-pair of which I made a specification in August, 1843. John Tait was appointed overlooker on my recommendation, but he was not appointed by me. I agreed with him as to what wages he was to have, but told him that he would be paid by the Commissioners. I did not consider that I could discharge him.
The Coroner drew Mr. Leather’s attention to the evidence of Tait, as to the discovery of the spring in the puddle trench, and the leakages in the embankment.
Mr Leather — I had no communication at any time as to the spring in the bottom of the puddle trench. I have looked through my papers, and I find a report from Tait, being a statement of work from the 21st of June to the 26th of July, 1839, which I now produce. Tait is quite mistaken as to reporting to me every fortnight — he did no such thing. The report is as follows:—
- STATEMENT OF WORKS FROM JUNE 21ST, TO JULY
- 26th, 1839.
- At Bilberry they began setting the masonry of the culvert on Monday last. They have got about 30 feet of the first course set. There is not much difference in any part of the work since Mr. Falshaw was here. The puddle trench is just in the same state, and is likely to be so, without there comes two or three weeks fine weather, or they adopt some other method from the one they are at present following. They worked at it up to last Friday night, and have got it cleared out to within a foot or so of the bottom, when it began to rain very heavy, and continued to rain all night, and by Saturday morning the place was again completely filled with water, and a great deal of dirt washed in. I advised him (the contractor) one day last week, to clear a piece about three yards wide on the top side of the puddle trench down to the solid, and build a rubble wall or “stank” across the valley, and put about a yard of puddle behind it, in order to prevent the water running through the bank into the puddle trench. By doing this he would make himself independent of the water, for then even in rainy weather all that could come into the puddle trench would be what fell, and that would run out through the level he has driven up on the low side as fast as it could come in. But this he seems to think he can do without, for, that it would cost too much money to do it ; but if he does not adopt that plan or something similar it may be a long time yet before he gets his puddle in, as one rainy day may undo more work than they will do again in a week or a fortnight. I shall stop then from proceeding any further with the embankment till such time as they get the puddle in, and see if that will make them use any other means.
By the Coroner — Is that the only communication you received?
Mr Leather — That is the last communication I ever had as to the puddle trench, and from it I inferred there was no spring. The suggestion of a rubble wall with a puddle behind it to keep the water out justified me in the inference that there was no spring. I never met with a spring in a puddle dike in my life that I did not take means to remove it, as I considered its presence there very dangerous. Mr Falshaw is my clerk, and he came over occasionally to measure the work, to ascertain how much the contractors were entitled to.
Coroner — It was subsequent to this communication that Mr Falshaw came over to inspect this spring?
Mr Leather — I don’t know any thing about it.
The Coroner then drew the attention of Mr Leather to Sharp’s evidence, after which asked — Did you ever hear of this spring (referred to by Sharpe) or give instructions to take a piece out of the puddle bank as stated.
Mr Leather — I never heard of this before, and never gave any orders to this effect. I never gave any orders to go down four feet below the puddle trench, and I again say I never received any information as to the existence of a spring in the puddle trench.
By Mr Jacomb — Mr Falshaw is not in my employ, and has not been for years. I think he is in Scotland.
John Mitchell said — I live at Hinchliffe Mill. I originally fixed the shuttle to the Bilberry Reservoir. The outside one was at the expense of the contractors, the inside one at the expense of the Commissioners. There was very little water in the reservoir at that time, and we had not to work in water when we fixed it. There was no grate there. About the 4th December, 1850, I pulled the Commissioners’ shuttle to pieces to repair by Mr John Roebuck’s directions. In my repairs I pulled off the top apparatus and made a model for a cast iron plate, which I got cast at Charles Marples’s, of Holmfirth. When I ordered the plate I told Charles to charge it either to John Roebuck or the Commissioners. He made no reply, but in a few months after he brought his account in to me, stating that he would not take either Mr. Roebuck or the Commissioners. I told John Roebuck, and asked him to give me the money, and he refused. He directed me to the executors of George Hirst, John Furness, and Joseph Broadbent ; but I told him I would not, and that I would not do any more until I was paid. That plate has been washed away with the flood. The shuttle was up, and without being repaired it could not be put down. The other shuttle was at that time in working order.
By Mr Jacomb — Charles Batty is the drawer at Bilberry Mill. I don’t know anything of him going to the embankment on the Wednesday. I came to Holmfirth from Hinchliffe Mill, and when I got to Holmfirth I heard there was danger. I heard this about three o’clock in the afternoon. I met with Richard Hardy, and he asked me if I had heard there was danger of the reservoir, and that they were removing things from the mill (Bilberry Mill). I don’t recollect having any conversation with any person else upon this subject. I returned home to Hinchliffe Mill between nine and ten o’clock, and I mentioned this circumstance to my wife and Sarah Batty.
By the Foreman — I never heard of there being any danger before.
By Mr. Jacomb — Some folks at Hinchliffe Mill on that night said there was danger. Eliza Marsden lived about 200 yards from us.
By a Juror — They could not put that shuttle down without the screw being fixed. The screw could not have been fixed without a cast-iron plate. The cost of the repairs would have been about £5.
The Coroner here explained to the jurors the relative uses of shuttles and the waste pit. The former bore to the latter about the same proportion as the bung-hole to the head of a barrel. The shuttles were merely to regulate the supply of water to the mill, whilst the waste pit was to carry away the waste.
John Whiteley said — I live at Greengates. I know the district well. I was on the embankment on Wednesday night at nine o’clock. John Roebuck went with me. I examined the settlements in it. The water was then about a yard perpendicular from the top of the hollow. Whilst I was there I beard John Roebuck, who was standing in a field near, say he was afraid the reservoir would burst He did not mention any hour when it would burst I remained there until after twelve. John Roebuck was also there. I heard him say several times that he was afraid it would burst. The water began to run into the sunken part of the embankment about eleven. It would be about half an hour or rather more that it began to flow over the embankment. I remained near an hour after it overflowed. As soon as the water began to run over it washed away the outer embankment in small portions. It began very slowly at first and extended to a broad stream, when it washed away the outer embankment in larger quantities. After it had ran over some time a stream burst out near the bottom of the embankment. The puddle wall had not been bared when I left. I saw the water heave forward a large quantity from the bottom of the embankment when I set off. I did not hear the embankment give way. I ran down to Holmfirth warning the people. The first time I saw the flood coming was when I had got to Victoria Mill. When I got to Upper-bridge I saw several persons standing on the bridge.
By Mr. Jacomb — I am a weaver with Mr. Roebuck. I heard Mr. Roebuck say he thought the Reservoir would burst if the wet continued, but he did not add “if it ran over the embankment.” I afterwards went up to Bradshaw dike to see the water come in, and when I returned I and others stayed to watch the waters rise. We had no orders to go and give warning. I don’t know what time the weather cleared up that night. Benjamin Bray and Joseph Whitely were near me on the embankment that night. They accompanied me to give the alarm. I overrun Benjamin Bray, and he said I was to go forward, and he would alarm them at Hinchliffe Mill. When I arrived at Upper Bridge I met several persons I knew, and gave them the alarm. I never saw the water so strong in the Bradshaw dike before, nor accumulate so fast in the reservoir.
By the Foreman — I think it would be about one when I got to Victoria Mill. When I got to Victoria Mill the water was very little behind me, and seeing the water up to the houses I ran forward to Holmfirth crying “flood!”
By the Coroner — I went to the reservoir out of curiosity, and remained there. Heard the reservoir was filling fast, and went up to Flushes to hear about it. I here met with Mr Roebuck, and we went together. When I got there I did not think it was likely to burst saw it give way in large pieces.
By a Juror — Roebucks occupy fulling stocks at Bilberry Mill, and I heard they had removed part of the goods.
Joseph Whitely said — I live at Hoobrook, about 200 yards from the reservoir. We can see the reservoir from our house. I recollect the building of the reservoir. I recollect seeing a spring in the puddle trench. The stream of water from it was about as thick as my arm. Sharp wanted to drain it out of the bottom of the embankment, or else “pipe” it into the culvert, but Mr Harpin, Edward Butterworth, and Joseph Littlewood came up, and the works were stopped until Mr Leather came. I have seen Mr Leather there some few times but not then. I saw no one do anything to stop the spring until the puddle was put in. I saw Tait there several times. That water always came out from the bottom of the embankment. I have told several of the Commissioners when they were up about that spring. It was after Sharpe had finished that I saw it. I told Messrs J. Hirst, Jos. Dyson, Joshua Littlewood, John Harpin, and others. I noticed that the embankment began to settle soon after it was finished. The embankment has always sunk during a wet time. I have been at a Commissioner’s meeting at the White Hart. I am a Commissioner, and I attended the meeting as a Commissioner. At this meeting I said the reservoir was in danger, but nobody took any notice of it. I have always considered the reservoir unsafe from the first. I did not ask to have it repaired.
By the Foreman — I qualified as a commissioner at the time they were about making application for a new Act. I did not attend the meetings regularly. I mentioned it at the meeting at the White Hart, and they took no notice of me. I also mentioned it at a meeting at Mr Jacomb’s office above a year since, at which some 30 or 40 were present, and they would not take any notice of me at that time either. I told them it was dangerous so long as the water came out at the bottom, as during a wet time the puddle-bank settled regularly. They gave no answer and took no notice of me.
By Mr Jacomb — I don’t recollect what year I qualified, but it was when the Commissioners were going to parliament in 1846, and I voted against the application to parliament. I qualified for the express purpose of opposing the acting Commissioners. I attended the meeting at your (Mr Jacomb’s) office, to hear what was going on. At that time they were again talking of going to parliament. I did not know what that meeting was for until I got in. There was no voting, and if there had, I don’t know that I should have voted against going to parliament. I was certain when the embankment sank below the waste pit that if ever the reservoir got full it would burst.
Mr. Joshua Littlewood said — I live at Dam-house. I am an architect. I am a Commissioner, and I believe I qualified on the first day. To the best of my recollection the works at the Bilberry Reservoir had been in progress upwards of twelve months before I went on the spot. I viewed the reservoir very frequently after it was found to be in a bad state in many parts of it. That was during Sharpe’s contract. The first time I saw it would be in the latter end of 1841, or beginning of 1842, when they were sinking a shaft in the embankment. I gave no orders about the works at that time. I might give my opinion to the Commissioners, but nothing more. I thought it was going to be a very troublesome reservoir. In 1843 I was appointed to measure the works of David and George Porter. I had not to certify that the works was properly done. Jonathan Thorpe was appointed to do that, and to report to Mr. Leather, from time to time, the state of the works. This was a cutting down into the embankment, to ascertain whether Sharpes had executed their work properly. I was appointed to certify as to the quantity of work done, and gave orders for the drawing of checks. Mr Leather had the management of the work. I never certified, nor Thorpe, as to the quality of the work. It never was certified. I never countermanded any orders of Mr Leather during that contract, but after it had been completed I did. I am not aware that Mr Leather ever ordered the drift to be continued, I had nothing to do with that drift, it was before .Porter’s contract. I was there once when the drift way was filled up, but I believe it was done under the instructions of Mr Leather. Never to the best of my judgment was Mr Leather interfered with while all our money was spent, and we had to borrow more at a meeting of the Commissioners in 1846. An order was made for an opening to be made in the waste pit at a height of 18 feet above the shuttle. I was the individual who recommended it to be done, and I was re quested to see it carried out. I had frequently been to the reservoir, and I considered it would be very dangerous if it filled, and I gave that opinion to the Commissioners. No dimensions were given to me, and was left to my own discretion as to the size of the hole. I thought if it was allowed to fill to more than 35 feet it would, be dangerous, especially if a flood came down, as it would fill more rapidly than the escape. I gave instructions to Jonathan Thorpe and his masons, to go to the reservoir, and ascertain what scaffolding would be required to cut this opening. I gave him orders to do this, and told him that as soon as he was ready I would go up and fix the size of the opening. Thorpe undertook the work. I afterwards saw him, and enquired if he was ready to do this work. He informed me that when he went up he met with some of the Commissioners, and that they told him the opening should not be made. He added, they told him that if he attempted to make it they would resist by force. In answer to my enquiries he further stated that they were parties for whom he had done work, and he did not like to have anything more to do with it. I don’t know who those Commissioners were. I took no further steps to have the work done, and I made no formal report to the Commissioners. I have not a very distinct recollection of the subject, but I have no doubt I mentioned it to the Commissioners, I stated at many of the meetings that the reservoir was dangerous, but we had no funds. I cannot speak as to the area of drainage of this reservoir.
By Mr Jacomb — The act was obtained in 1837. I was not one of the original projectors, but I considered that these reservoirs would be of considerable benefit to this valley. There were certain circulars issued at that time, and from one I hold in my hand I find the Bilberry Reservoir was estimated to cost £4500. It is also stated that the principle of rating was to be by foot of fall. When this scheme was first promoted it was a popular one, find was supported by influential parties. I was in London when this act was before parliament. There was a slight opposition by certain parties, and it was by arrangement with them that the “beneficial clauses” were introduced in committee.
Mr Jacomb proceeded to explain the principle of the beneficial clauses, and stated that their object was to alter the mode of rating of calculating from foot of fall, to basing it upon the benefit received.
Examination of Mr Littlewood continued.
By Mr Jacomb — I have continued to act since my appointment as Commissioner. To the best of my belief I never have been a member of the “sluice or drawing committee.” After obtaining the act the Commissioners took immediate steps for making four reservoirs. It was thought that four would be sufficient for the requirements of the mills on the stream. We proceeded to make three (including Bilberry Reservoir), and purchased part of the land for the fourth, but being unable to complete the purchase it was abandoned. The Commissioners employed Mr Leather as their engineer. The document handed to me is the contract of Messrs Sharpe for the Bilberry Reservoir. The amount of the contract was £9,324, exclusive of certain other work which was to be charged for extra. Messrs Sharpe proceeded with the work in pursuance of their contract. The occasion of my first going up was at the latter end of 1841 or beginning of 1842, in consequence of learning that Sharpe and Sons, the contractors, had sunk a shaft into the embankment to ascertain and rectify some deficiency in the mason work. I went up out of curiosity to see what was going on, and to examine the site of the reservoir. On getting there they were sinking a shaft near the culvert, and I understood the masonry was imperfect. I perceived there was open rock on both sides, and from the manner they were proceeding with the works I could not see how they were to prevent the escape of water through them. The embankment was not then built to the full height, nor was the waste pit. I know that part of the masonry was replaced. Mr. Tait reported the state of the works to us from time to time, and I expect these repairs were in consequence of these reports, and in pursuance of Mr Leather’s instructions, Messrs. Sharpe finished their contract in 1842. I saw the reservoir then and the embankment had been made to the full height, but it had settled. The waste pit was completed with the exception of a bridge which was to have been made, but was not. Sharpe considered they had completed the contract, and Mr. Leather considered they had not. I can’t say whether the settlements in the embankment had taken place prior to Messrs Sharpe giving up their work. Notices were given to Messrs. Sharpe that if they did not complete the work other parties would be employed to do it at their expense. The work was subsequently let to Messrs Porter, in 1844, I think, and their contract was to repair the work done by Messrs Sharpe. After Porters had finished their work Mr Leather ordered that a puddle should be laid upon a certain part of the bottom of the reservoir, within the embankment, and towards the centre, but a little to the north side. He also, I believe, ordered the cutting out of some rock, and the filling in the cutting with puddle. In order to lay such puddle on the centre an attempt was made to get out the water, but it was found impracticable. With that exception the other suggestions of Mr Leather were carried out. This was all before Mr Leather’s estimate for repairs made at the time when the Commissioners were about making an application to parliament was presented.
By the Coroner — I met Mr Leather on the spot, but I cannot state the precise time. Mr. Leather was called in subsequently to the completion of Porter’s work, to adopt such steps as would render the reservoir safe.
By Mr Jacomb — I recollect Mr Leather coming over to the reservoir in September, 1845, to prepare an estimate of the repairs which would be necessary. Something like £2000 over and above the amount paid to Sharpe was spent by the Commissioners in reference to the perfecting of the works of the Bilberry Reservoir. When Mr. Leather came over in 1845 he was authorised to make an estimate for going to parliament, and ultimately Mr. Leather furnished an estimate, but it was handed in only a day or two before going to parliament. An estimate was also obtained from Mr Hall and Mr Bateman. I think Mr. Hall’s estimate was about £2600, and Mr Bateman’s £2900. Mr Bateman is an eminent engineer at Manchester. He proposed for rendering the reservoir safe to puddle the inner slope, the bottom, and also the sides, where there was open strata. This was something similar to Mr. Leather’s plan, and the principal difference was in the estimated cost. Mr Bateman came over and examined the whole works. I don’t know that anything was said to Mr Bateman about the spring. If Mr Bateman’s or Mr Leather’s plan had been earned out, the spring would not have interfered with the security of the embankment.
Captain Moody — That is your opinion.
By the Coroner — I never knew there was a spring in the centre of the puddle bank, nor did I know where the outside spring came from. I had heard there was a spring.
[The jury adjourned at half-past two for dinner, and resumed at three.]
Examination of Mr Littlewood by Mr Jacomb continued — I can’t give you the date when the first rate was made, but there was one made soon after the completion of the works. That rate was made upon the principle of “foot of fall.” All the subsequent rates up to the time of Mr. Frederick Robinson’s award were upon this principle. I know that some of the occupiers of the mills refused to pay those rates from the commencement, and most of those persons afterwards became the opponents of the measure before parliament. I think litigation was pending between them and the Commissioners on the application to parliament in 1846. In 1846 there was a majority in favour of an application to parliament, but subsequently there was a majority against it. In the first application in 1846, there was a majority in its favour, but on steps being taken for the second application in 1847, which was after Mr. Robinson’s award, the majority was against the application. That majority prevented the acting Commissioners going to parliament in 1847. When the application was made to parliament by the mortgagees in 1849 a meeting of Commissioners was held, and a committee appointed to watch the progress of the bill, and an arrangement between the Commissioners and mortgagees, which was thought equitable, was entered into. Certain portions of the ratepayers opposed the bill, and it was thrown out. Many of the opposing ratepayers were Commissioners. When the Commissioners went to parliament in 1846, they were without funds, and were in a state of insolvency. They are in the same position still as Commissioners. I have made a considerable number of reservoirs, but none so large as this one. I have also repaired those constructed by others. In my judgment the Bilberry Reservoir was not unsafe, if the water could have been kept down to a certain height.
By the Coroner — In 1846 I gave an opinion that it would be safe at thirty or forty feet, but that it would not be safe to have it higher than forty feet, unless additional sources of outlet were provided.
By Mr Jacomb — I still entertain that opinion. I consider it would have been hazardous to fill the reservoir beyond forty feet, without an additional outlet with such an outlet it would have been safe at a height of 50 feet
By the Coroner — The Bilberry Reservoir, in 1846, was not, in my opinion, unsafe up to fifty feet if there had been a proper bye-wash. The present bye-wash would have been sufficient had the embankment been the proper height and sound. The largest reservoir I have ever made would, perhaps, be two acres in extent, with a depth at the deepest point of twelve or fourteen feet. The last time I saw the Bilberry Reservoir, three or four years ago, I considered it safe up to thirty or thirty-five feet. Undoubtedly these leakages would weaken the embankment.
By Mr Jacomb — The plans and sections as deposited for the first act contemplated a common bye-wash, and not a drop ; and the waste pit was substituted by Mr Leather. I have never heard the lowering of the waste pit suggested by Mr Leather or anybody else since the settlement of the embankment took place. I do not know how much the parliamentary estimate was.
Mr George Robinson then made a statement in reference to this estimate, but we did not understand its purport.
Mr Leather recalled, and examined by the Coroner — I did not prepare any estimates on going to parliament I saw Mr Jones’s estimate, but I don’t remember the amount I know that I considered it insufficient. My estimate for the Bilberry Reservoir was near £13,000. I told the Commissioners that it was impossible the work could be done for the sum tendered by Sharpe, and on that account they were rather particular about the bondsmen.
James Morton said — I am a mason, and live at Holmfirth. I assisted in the making of the waste pit and channel of the Bilberry Reservoir. I was one of the first masons employed on the works. I have considered the embankment unsafe from the first. My reason for considering it unsafe was from seeing the water come out in great quantities when the shuttle was down. The water in the reservoir lowered two yards in one night, although the shuttle was down. I have observed this both during the progress of the works and subsequently. There was a spring, about the thickness of my arm, in the bottom of the puddle trench. In preparing for the puddle trench we cut through about five feet of rock, when we came to a bed of shale. After we had got the proper depth Mr. Tait ordered us to sink through this shale. We blasted it, and after the blast the spring rose. I am quite sure the water came from the bottom, and not up the sides. It sprung up from the centre of the puddle dike. Tait saw this spring frequently. Both Mr. Leather and his clerk. Mr. Falshaw, saw it. The dike waited for six weeks before Mr Leather came, and the delay caused by Mr Leather not coming over cost Daniel Sharpe £200 or £300. Mr Leather did come over in the back end of the year, and saw the water bubbling up. I am certain that both Mr Leather and Mr Falshaw came up and saw it, as we were sadly put about by their neglect. After they had been over, orders were given that the puddle dike should be widened for a certain distance round the spring, so that if it burst the water might flow into the embankment. Daniel Sharp gave us the orders. It rose up through the puddle several yards. I left the works for a time. I never lost sight of the spring during the time I was there. I was in Jonathan Thorpe’s employ five years ago last August. He called on me, and I went up with him to do some work at the Bilberry waste pit. The embankment was lower than the waste pit. We saw Charles Batty there, and be assisted us in taking dimensions for some timber we wanted. Thorpe told me I was to cut a hole in the waste pit at a height of 30 feet from the shuttle, about a yard square on the outside, and rather more on the inside, that if anything got in it might pass through. We went to borrow some timber, and he told me I was to wait for further orders. No one obstructed me in making this hole. Jonathan Thorpe died in the May following.
Mr. James Armytage, the surveyor to the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners, said — On the 17th instant I superintended the lowering of the water in the Bilberry Reservoir, under the directions of Captain Moody. When the water subsided I examined the shuttle from the swallow. I found there a large stone in an upright position, with three smaller ones supporting it from behind. It was laid across the face of the supply valve, in contact with the iron valve itself, and the current of the stream in the reservoir came down upon it. There were earth, ling, and sticks Bur-rounding the stone, which completely stopped up the supply valve, so that no water in consequence could get through. The stone measures 17 inches by 20, with an average thickness of 5 inches. It weighs 6½ stone. The valve is 18 inches diameter. It is impossible to give an opinion as to whether the stone was placed there intentionally or not. It is possible the stone might have been placed there, but it is not probable.
By Mr Jacomb — The other stones were of a similar kind, excepting one which was a wall stone. The other waste stones in the bottom of the swallow were on a level with the supply valve.
Mr Leather recalled and examined by the Coroner. I am quite certain I did not come over as stated by Morton, to see the spring. If I had I should have ordered it to be conveyed away. It might have been taken away at an expense of £10 or £12, and the contractor would have had it to do at his own expense.
James Ramsden said I live nearly a mile from the reservoir. I know the waste pit. I never was up there with Jonathan Thorpe to make an opening in it. I never offered to make an opening in it.
James Garside, ironmonger, said — I live at Holmfirth. I went up to the Bilberry Reservoir on Wednesday, the 4th inst., about three o’clock. The water was about nine or ten feet by the slope of the embankment from running over. I remained there five or ten minutes. We had some business up there, and having heard at Holmfirth that the reservoir was not safe, we went to see it. We left Holmfirth about two o’clock. We heard of the reservoir being unsafe in the early part of the day. We did not think it very safe, especially if the water should run over. We came back to Holmfirth, and told it to several parties. I remember mentioning it to Mr Joshua Woodcock, the draper. I live near the church. We went to bed considering ourselves perfectly safe. The water came into my house and rose to a height of six feet. The furniture was broken.
By Mr Jacomb — I can’t say. I was told of the reservoir being dangerous by more than one person. Henry Horsfall, grocer, of South-lane, went with me. Mr. Kidd has not taken my evidence before either to-day or previously.
After a short conference amongst the jury, they rose a little after five o’clock, and the enquiry was adjourned to Friday next at ten a.m.
The enquiry during its progress has not excited that interest which might have been anticipated, and the attendance throughout has been small and select.
PUBLIC MEETINGS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THE HOLMFIRTH SUFFERERS.
PUBLIC MEETING AT HALIFAX.
- (From, the Halifax Guardian.)
On Saturday afternoon a public meeting of the inhabitants of the borough of Halifax was held in the Town Hall for the purpose of originating subscriptions on behalf of the unfortunate sufferers by the recent terrible calamity at Holmfirth. The meeting was called by S. Waterhouse, Esq., the respected mayor of Halifax. The attendance was not only numerous but highly respectable, — in fact we have not witnessed a more influential meeting in Halifax for some years.
Among the gentlemen present were Archdeacon Musgrave, Rev. W. Smith, Rev. J. H. Gooch, Rev. S Danby, Rev. G. Jackson, Rev. R. S. Hardy, Rev. W. Turner, E. Akroyd, Esq., J. Whiteley, Esq., James Stansfeld, Esq., J. Appleyard, Esq., G. Edwards, Esq., J. Thorp, Esq., Thos. Milne, Esq., John Abbott, Esq., John Crossley, Esq., John Baldwin, Esq., W. Emmet, Esq., R. Wainhouse, Esq., John Whitworth, Esq., g. Haigh, Esq., E. M. Wavell, Esq., Dr. W. Alexander W. Huntriss. Esq., F. Crossley, Esq., J. Emmet, Esq., R. Parker, Esq., J. E. Norris, Esq., W. Heap, Esq., Jonathan Smith, Esq., &c.
The proceedings having been duly opened by the Mayor,
The Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave said, that the Mayor having done him the honour to place in his hands the resolution which he would read, he had now the melancholy satisfaction of undertaking the duty imposed upon him. The resolution was simply—
- That this meeting sympathises most deeply with the inhabitants of Holmfirth, by reason of the awful calamity which has befallen them.
He did not conceive that this was at all a meeting where they needed any powers of eloquence or rhetoric to excite one another to the discharge of a high Christian duty. He believed that already everything that he could possibly advance had been anticipated in the public feeling, sympathising deeply with this most fearful visitation. He thought it highly honourable to the Christian feeling of this neighbourhood that so general a sympathy had already been elicited, and he considered that that sympathy had been called forth, not merely by a kind of instinctive compassion, but by a high principle of Christian duty. (Hear, hear.) To weep with them that weep, and to share each other’s burthens, was a high Christian object, and it was an object which, whatever differences might exist amongst them in the exercise of their ordinary religious opinions, nevertheless, he believed, universally pervaded every denomination of Christians. (Applause.) And it was particularly gratifying, so far, to have an opportunity of meeting his brethren of other and every denomination in this great work of Christian benevolence. There were many gentlemen present who he might venture to say, had visited the scene of the late disaster. Anything more entirely affecting than the desolation which was scattered over that once flourishing valley could not very well be conceived, and whatever could be done to alleviate the sufferings of those who had been brought into affliction and destitution, by this visitation, would, he felt sure, be gladly done by this simultaneous and generous effort of Christianity throughout the neighbourhood. As to those poor unhappy beings who were visited in the dead of night, and carried to their great account without warning, for them the meeting could only say that they were beyond all power of relief ; but with respect to the survivors, there were not fewer than four thousand persons who were thrown into immediate comparative destitution. (Hear, hear.) At least, there were four thousand persons whose daily work was suspended, and it was only by the efforts Christian benevolence that their sufferings could, is any degree, be mitigated. He felt confident that a disposition was now evincing itself throughout the whole of this populous district, which would show some substantial evidence of an earnest and sincere desire to mitigate the misfortunes of these unhappy persons. (Hear, bear.) In what way this could be most beneficially done must be left to those who would form a kind of central committee. It was enough for them to know hat the cause which they were now advocating was at most legitimate appeal to their benevolence, and that there were those whose minds and hearts were in unison with any thing that they might do, and who would devote their best thoughts and attention to a right application of any funds that might be placed at their disposal. (Hear, hear.) With these few observations he begged to move, with much satisfaction, the first resolution, containing an expression of their sincere and Christian sympathy with the occasion that had called them together. (Applause.)
E. Akroyd, Esq., in seconding the resolution, said they would be wanting in the common feelings of humanity if they failed, on an occasion of this kind, to offer their sympathy to those who were labouring under deep affliction. (Hear.) When they considered the very little which they were enabled to do in the matter as compared with the extent of the calamity, it was still more incumbent upon them to do that little, and thus aid in mitigating the intense suffering that prevailed. It was true that they could not do much towards feeding the hungry or clothing the naked, towards restoring the father to his children, or the wife to her husband, the partner of his joys and sorrows ; but still it was the character of Englishmen to direct their sympathies in a practical channel, and they had a most noble example set by the inhabitants of Huddersfield in this respect. He believed that the subscriptions in that town now amounted to something near £8000. (Applause.) The people of Huddersfield being nearest the seat of the calamity, of course the first duty of relieving the sufferers devolved upon them. From Huddersfield the next application was to Bradford, the inhabitants of which had followed the example most nobly ; and if Halifax had longer delayed this meeting, he thought that they would have been wanting in the character of the town, and in what was due to themselves, if they had not responded most readily to the appeal now made. (Hear, hear.) He believed that the mode of distributing the relief would be very satisfactory. A committee had been appointed at Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and relief would be given through the usual channels, but not in the form of gratuitous charity. It was intended that able-bodied men should assist in removing the accumulated rubbish, in order to prepare the way for the more permanent employment of the operatives who had been thrown out of work. (Hear, hear.) The next resolution would appeal more particularly to their practical sympathies, and in reference to that which he had now the pleasure of seconding he felt confident he should have the hearty concurrence of the meeting. (Applause)
The Mayor put the resolution, which was adopted unanimously.
John Crossley, Esq., said he had had a resolution placed in his hands, which ought to have been moved by another gentleman, — the member for the borough, who was expected to be present, and probably would be amongst them before the close of the meeting. He (Mr. Crossley) had the very great pleasure in moving—
- That a subscription be immediately entered into for the relief of the sufferers.
The very painful business that had brought them together, was one, perhaps, not so much to be talked about, as something to be done. (Hear, hear.) As had already been stated, Huddersfield had come forward very nobly and very generously in this matter, and he trusted that Halifax would ably second what had been doing there, and that the inhabitants, generally would respond, according to their several abilities, to mitigate the sorrows and the distresses of those who were in a moment plunged into this sad state of affliction. He had not himself visited this scene of devastation, but from all he had learnt from those who had done so, it was not to be described. He would not detain the meeting by any further observations, but at once move that the resolution adopted. Perhaps he might just be permitted to say, that as there would be a number of gentlemen nominated on the committee, he hoped that all would be found willing to render some share of assistance, as it was intended that the inhabitants generally should be waited upon, not for the purpose of making any pressure on them, but to receive their spontaneous contributions in aid of this deep and awful calamity. (Applause.)
John Whitworth, Esq., in seconding the resolution, would only observe, that the most effective means ought to be taken to obtain as extensive a subscription list as possible, not only in the town but throughout the parish. This was a point which no doubt would be taken into consideration by the committee, but he thought it would not be considered impertinent on his part thus to allude to it. (Hear, hear.) He begged to second the resolution. (The resolution was then put and carried unanimously.)
James Stansfield, Esq., said he had great pleasure in moving the appointment of a committee for practically carrying into effect the resolution which had just been carried. It appeared to him, from the names submitted to him, that they were all very efficient men for the purpose and he had no doubt they would ably fulfil the duty imposed upon them. Power was given to add to their number, and therefore the suggestion thrown out by Mr. Whitworth could be attended to, and the names of gentlemen added who resided in other parts of the parish. The resolution was as follows :—
- That a committee be formed to assist in the collection of subscriptions, consisting of Mr. Ald. Baldwin, Mr. Joseph Thorp, Rev. W. Smith, Mr. William Hatton. Mr. Robert Hartley, Mr. Ald. Whitworth, Mr. Ald. Gregory, Rev. James Pridie and Mr. John Walker, with power to add to their number.
He could not add anything to what the Archdeacon had advanced. In fact, words would be of no avail, they must have deeds. (Applause.) He thought there would not be a single man in the parish who would not aid this movement, either by his personal exertions or otherwise. The sad disaster which had befallen the inhabitants in the neighbourhood of Holmfirth could not be described. It must be seen to be known, and if there was any one who wanted his heart opening, let him go there and see the devastation which had been occasioned, and he was sure there would not then be wanting those who would willingly aid the sufferers. (Applause.) He begged to propose the resolution.
The Rev. G. Jackson (Wesleyan) was called upon to second the resolution. He said it would be impertinent in him to attempt to add anything to the impression which had evidently been produced in the meeting from what had already been said. He could say with the gentleman who had just sat down that the great devastation which had been occasioned by the flood at Holmfirth must be seen to be understood. (Hear, hear.) He had visited the place himself, and seen fourteen of the bodies of the sufferers. In one room he saw five children laid on a table just in the order in which they came into the world, with their mother at their feet, and the grandfather at the other side of the room. In another house he saw six of the dead bodies, and taking it all together he never saw such a sight before. He would say no more, excepting that he had the melancholy pleasure of seconding the resolution just proposed. (Applause.)
After a short conversation the resolution was amended by the addition of the following five names, and then carried unanimously :— Mr. John Abbott, Mr. W. Heap, Mr. Geo. Edwards, Mr. James Wiseman, and Mr. Eagland Bray.
Mr. D. Porter suggested that local committees ought to be appointed in the out-townships, for the purpose of collecting subscriptions.
The Mayor said this was an excellent suggestion, which he hoped Mr. Porter would make to the committee which had been just appointed.
Mr. Thorp suggested that Mr. Porters name should be added to the committee. (Applause.)
At this point, H. Edwards, Esq., M.P., entered the room, and apologised for the absence of himself, and also of Mr. William Henry Rawson. It was their intention to have attended the meeting, but an important case engaged them at the magistrates’ office, Ward’s End, and prevented their attendance. He had, however. come down to assure them of his entire concurrence in the object of the meeting, and that he should be very happy to odd his quota upon the subscription list. (Hear.)
J. Baldwin. Esq., moved the next resolution, to the effect that subscription lists should lie at the different banks in the town, and that John Abbot, Esq., be appointed treasurer. The motion was seconded by R. Wainhouse, Esq., and carried unanimously.
Mr. J. Thorp rose to move the next resolution, but before doing so suggested that two or three gentlemen should be appointed as representatives from the town of Halifax to the central committee at Huddersfield. One of their duties would be to act as the medium of communication with that committee, and the other would be occasionally to confer with that committee as to the mode of appropriation of the subscriptions.
The Mayor suggested that the treasurer should be one of these gentlemen ; but said the subject had better be left to the committee which had been just appointed.
Several gentlemen suggested that the Mayor and the treasurer should be the gentlemen appointed to this office.
Slips of paper were then handed round for the subscriptions of the gentlemen present. During the process—
The Rev. J. H. Gooch wished to know whether the subscriptions should be confined to the relief of the poor or for the benefit both of the poor and of those who were comparatively rich, but had suffered by this calamity. This question had been put to him by several persons.
The Mayor said he was not aware of the intentions of the Central Committee, but the respectability of the parties at Huddersfield, identified with the large subscriptions there, was a sufficient guarantee as to the proper appropriation of any funds which might be subscribed here.
The Rev. J. H. Gooch said he was informed that the Holmfirth and Huddersfield committee differed on this point.
The Rev. Archdeacon Musgrave, said the only account he had seen which seemed to be authentic was to this effect — that the central committee were taking an account of the number of persons thrown out of employ, that being their first consideration, amounting, as was stated, to an aggregate of 4000 ; and, by way of not leaving these to be entirely without employment and without the means of subsistence, they had adopted a sort of scale, by which a child could have its 4d., a woman a certain amount in proportion to her capability, and the adult males about 1s. 6d. a day — which, of course, was a very small portion of what they would be earning if they were in full employ, but perhaps was as much as according to any funds at present in their hands the committee were enabled to distribute. That seemed to be a very sensible application of the subscription, and nothing could commend itself more to the good feeling of every one. The object of that proceeding was that they might relieve immediate destitution, and at the same time assist as rapidly as possible in clearing away every hindrance to the entire restoration of the works. There seemed to be every probability, from the spirit elicited by this disaster, that funds would be available for that purpose, and it was to be hoped that there would be much larger funds available also, in some proportion, to mitigate the sufferings of those who were raised a little above the condition of the working classes (hear, hear, and applause).
J. Crossley, Esq., said the Huddersfield and Holmfirth committees were now united.
The Rev. J. H. Gooch expressed his satisfaction with this explanation.
The Mayor then read over the list of subscriptions already received, which amounted then to £700. (Applause.) In reading over the items, he remarked that the amount “collected by a female among her neighbours” was a most praiseworthy example ; and the meeting cheered each announcement of subscriptions raised by workmen.
J. Whiteley, Esq., seeing some gentlemen leaving the room moved a vote of thanks to the Mayor.
Mr. Thorp seconded the resolution.
Fresh subscriptions poured in, amongst which was one of £20, which Mr. F. Crossley said was from a gentleman who gave that amount with the express understanding that the subscriptions were applied to every class of suffer era, and not confined merely to the working classes.
The flow of subscriptions having ceased, the mayor read over the entire list amidst applause.
E. Ackroyd, Esq. then put the vote of thanks to the mayor, which was carried with acclamation.
The Mayor, in reply, said that it was to him a most gratifying circumstance that this should be the first opportunity of meeting his fellow-townsmen at a public meeting, where they had collected simultaneously the large amount of £1060 for so desirable an object.
The committee, which had been just appointed, then adjourned into the committee-room adjoining ; and some further subscriptions were received, making the list and the amount as follows :—
|J. Crossley & Sons||120||0||0|
|Jas Ackroyd & Son||100||0||0|
|S. & J. Waterhouse||50||0||0|
|J. L. Edwards & Sons||50||0||0|
|W. H. Rawson & Co.||50||0||0|
|R. Whitworth & Co.||50||0||0|
|C. & T. Milne||50||0||0|
|W. Appleyard and Sons||25||0||0|
|Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave||20||0||0|
|Parker & Adam||20||0||0|
|Stott, Porter, and Sons||20||0||0|
|Stott, Porter, and Sons’ Workpeople||13||6||0|
|J. Whiteley and Sons’ Workmen||12||0||6|
|J. Bracken & Sons||10||0||0|
|T. Drake, Ashday||5||0||0|
|J. E. Norris||5||0||0|
|E. E. Jarry||5||0||0|
|Rev. J. H. Gooch||5||0||0|
|Rev. S. Danby||3||3||0|
|Rev. W. Smith||2||2||0|
|Rev. G. Jackson||2||0||0|
|J. L. Stott, sen.||2||0||0|
|Rev. W. Turner||1||0||0|
|Collected by a Female amongst her neighbours||0||17||1|
MEETING IN LONDON.
On Monday, a public meeting of bankers, merchants, and others, was held at the London Tavern, for the purpose of promoting a subscription for the relief of the sufferers by the late awful calamity. The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor occupied the chair, and among the gentlemen present were Samuel Gurney, jun., Esq., M. T. Smith, Esq., M.P., Thompson Hankey, Esq., Lewis Loyd, jun., Esq„ James Cunliffe, Esq., — Glyn, Esq., C. Hanbury, Esq,, Alderman Sydney, M.P., S. Addington, Esq., N. P. Simes, Esq., T. Sturge, Esq., Charles Francis, Esq., Henry Brett, Esq., Wm. Barber, Esq., James Bell, Esq., C. Jacomb, Esq., Thomas Allen, Esq., II. P. Hughes, Esq., A. Caldicott, Esq., Henry Tucker, Esq., George Cook, Esq., &c., &c., and a deputation from the Huddersfield and Holm firth Committee, consisting of Mr. W. Willans, vice-chairman, Mr. Isaac Robson, Mr. Jos. Taylor Armitage, accompanied by Joseph Brook, Esq.
The Right Hon Chairman opened the proceedings by noticing the chief features of the late calamity, and expressed a hope that the citizens of London would be on the present occasion, as they ever had been, ready to succour the afflicted. He could not omit mentioning one circumstance which would, he was sure, be gratifying to every one — it was that her Most Gracious Majesty had contributed towards the wants of the sufferers the munificent sum of £150. (Hear, hear.) He trusted that his fellow-citizens would do all in their power to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Holmfirth.
Wm. Willans, Esq., said that the high honour of addressing his lordship and the meeting had been devolved upon him by his colleagues, who ; he was sure, would feel with himself, that their first duty was to thank the lord mayor for the courtesy with which he had received the deputation, and for the kindly tones in which he had now conciliated for them the consideration of that most respectable and influential meeting. The distress in Holmfirth — which the deputation sought the means of relieving — was, as the meeting was aware, occasioned by the bursting of a large public reservoir at the head of the valley of the Holme. That reservoir was formed for the purpose of supplying additional power to the mills situated upon the stream of the river. The melancholy accident which had occasioned so large a loss of property, of family comfort, and of human life, occurred in the dead of the night. Families retired to rest that night unconscious of danger, and awoke only when the flood came and carried them away. In some-instances only one solitary member of a large domestic circle survived, a monument of the wreck. In one cottage, a few days after the accident, a friend of his colleague, Mr. Robson, saw a poor desolate man writhing in agony upon his bed surrounded by the corpses of his wife and his five children. It would be easy to narrate numerous instances of heart-rending sorrow, but the meeting could imagine the incidents of so great a catastrophe, and he would not needlessly trespass upon their time. With respect to the destruction of property, it had been stated in the newspapers by parties who had doubtless taken pains to obtain the most accurate information, that the loss would amount to £500,000 or even £600,000. He hoped and believed it would not exceed £250,000, but [for reasons which Mr. W. assigned and illustrated by facts] it would be impossible to arrive at an accurate conclusion for some time to come. Upon the four mills totally destroyed, and the seventeen so much injured as not to be in working order, 7000 to 10,000 individuals were believed to be dependent directly or indirectly for the means of subsistence. Of those who escaped with their lives, many lost their furniture and perhaps their working tools. The class of shopkeepers suffered very severely. Seven shops were entirely destroyed, and 44 were injured, some of them seriously, and the stocks they contained were more or less damaged, or destroyed. The owners of cottage property were also great sufferers. Twenty-seven cottages were destroyed, and 129 injured by the flood. The small manufacturers — a most meritorious class — many of whom had by industry, sobriety, and frugality, raised themselves from the ranks of the working men, deserved also the sympathy of the public. Some of these occupied mills or parts of mills which had been injured. The mills of the larger and richer manufacturers were lower down the stream, nearer to Huddersfield, and escaped with comparatively little damage. With respect to the application of the fund they were endeavouring to raise, the united committees of Holmfirth and Huddersfield would so far as practicable consult the wishes of the committees in other places. Indeed, it was their wish to form a Central Committee, of which gentlemen deputed by the committees of Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, and other towns, including London, if practicable, should be members, and have votes in the appropriation of the funds. For the present the united Committees of Holmfirth and Huddersfield confined themselves to the relief of destitution, and the finding of employment. It was their principle not to give gratuitous relief where labour could be had in exchange for it. At present they were employing considerable numbers of men in removing wreck and cleansing the water courses, the owners of adjacent property paying one portion of the wages, the committees the other. In this manner they were not only preventing the formation of habits of indolence and dependence, but providing for the resumption of work by the mills as soon as repaired. As to the appropriation of funds beyond these limitations much must depend upon the amount placed at their disposal by the beneficence of the public, and at the present he could only indicate what he conceived to be the disposition of the united committees, premising that the question was not yet ready for discussion, and would doubtless be devolved upon the Central Committee, if such central committee should be formed. He was quite sure it would be the wish of the united committees — and he was equally sure the subscribers would concur in that wish — that where a poor family, escaping for their lives, had lost their furniture, or the looms, or working tools on which their subsistence depended, these articles should, as far as the funds would allow, be replaced. The class of shopkeepers would perhaps next claim their consideration. Several of these were in a very small way, and perhaps in some cases even £5 might enable a poor man to resume the making of a living in that particular line, who could make one by no other occupation. It would be in the disposition of the committees to go beyond this point, and he hoped the liberality of the public would put it into their power to do so. There were shopkeepers on a larger scale who, it was to be feared, would be ruined. In one case, that of a linen drape!, a member of the Society of Friends, he believed the loss would not be less than £1500. In such instances if the loss should be ruinous or even nearly so (he did not know how it was in this particular case), the committees would like to have it in their power to give to an industrious and sober man some measure of assistance. After mentioning other cases, Mr. Willans said that upon the same principle the committee would be disposed to go as far as the means at their disposal would enable them, in meeting all cases of loss which the sufferers themselves were not able to sustain. It would be obvious to the meeting that to alleviate only a small portion of such a mass of distress large funds would be required. They had felt the force of that conviction in the West Riding, and had responded to it. The Holmfirth committee had raised and collected about £2000, many of the sufferers by the flood having subscribed liberally ; Huddersfield had raised about £9000 ; Halifax, at a public meeting, had subscribed £1100 ; Bradford, £1000 ; and both Halifax and Bradford would yet do very much more. Leeds was meeting that day, and would do its duty. He had been informed that at a preliminary meeting there, seven gentlemen had already entered their names for subscriptions of £100 each. He begged to assure his lordship and the meeting that Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax had not taken up this matter lightly. The mayor of Halifax, before he originated the movement in that borough, had visited the scene of desolation, and had seen for himself the consequences of the disaster. The mayor of Bradford, before he granted a public meeting upon the requisition of a most respectable list of ratepayers, also paid a visit to Holmfirth ; and from Leeds a deputation of five or six gentlemen was entering Huddersfield, with the same object, as he (Mr. Willans) left the station to come to town ; and if any further proof were wanted by this meeting that a deep and wide-spread calamity had happened, he thought it was in his power to furnish one that could not be resisted. If there was one class of men who understood the value of money better than any other it was the class who earned it by sixpences and shillings. (Hear, hear.) Such was the class who are employed in the factories. Those men did not subscribe their money without a substantial reason. Now such men had had an opportunity of seeing for themselves, and of ascertaining the real character and extent of the distress occasioned by the flood, and they had shown their estimate of both by indubitable evidence. They had raised, subscriptions amongst themselves in their respective mills, and had collected amounts varying from £21 in one mill, to £178 18s. 4d. in another. (Cheers.) Perhaps that fact was the best criterion of the real merits of the case. (Hear, hear.) He was afraid he had trespassed too long upon the attention of his lordship and the meeting. (No, no.) He had compressed his statement into as small a compass as he possibly could, and he sincerely thanked the meeting for the great attention and courtesy with which they had listened to his statement of the case which be must now leave in their hands. (Cheers.)
The Lord Mayor enquired whether any other member of the deputation wished to address the meeting.
Joseph Brook, Esq., said, that the case has been so clearly and so fully presented by Mr. Willans that he should only ask leave to make a single observation The manufacturers of the Holmfirth district were a simple and primative race. Many of them had been working men who had saved a little money, and had invested it in a share in a mill, and would in many cases be seriously affected by the recent calamity.
M. T. Smith, M.P., said that they must all have felt deeply interested in the statements and narrative which had been submitted to them by the deputation from Huddersfield. They had lately been called on to sympathise with the sufferers by the burning of the Amazon, and they could not refuse, their aid to the sufferers by a dreadful inundation. He was sure the case was one to which they would readily respond. He concluded by moving a resolution declaring the sympathy of the meeting with the sufferers by the late awful calamity at Holmfirth.
T. Hankey, jun., Esq., the governor of the Bank of England, seconded the resolution in a very feeling and effective speech, in the course of which he said that he felt sure they might safely trust the disposal of the amount of their subscriptions to such gentlemen as those who represented the Huddersfield Committee.
Mr. Alderman Sydney, M.P., felt deeply interested in the object of the present meeting. He well, knew the locality in which the sad disaster had happened, and he could bear testimony to the correctness of the description which had been given of the inhabitants of that district. He had forwarded fifty guineas to his house in Leeds, to be paid over to the Committee there before that meeting was called. It might, perhaps, after mature consideration, be deemed desirable to have the London Committee represented upon the Central Committee. He begged to move the following as members of the London Committee :— Deputy Chairman and Treasurer, Samuel Gurney, jun., Esq. ; Baron Lionel Rothschild, M.P. ; James Cunlifife, Esq. ; G. C. Glyn, Esq., M.P. ; Lewis Loyd, jun., Esq. ; George Moffatt, Esq., M.P. ; Cornelius Hanbury Esq. ; G. W. Alexander, Esq. ; Thomas Sydney, Esq., Ald. M.P. ; Thomas Sturge, Esq. ; Charles Francis, Esq. ; Andrew Caldecott, Esq. ; William Barber, Esq. ; Henry Brett, Esq. ; Henry Tucker, Esq. ; Francis Bennock, Esq. ; Samuel Addington, Esq. ; N. P. Simes, Esq. ; Charles Jacomb, Esq. ; H. P. Hughes, Esq. ; George Cook, Esq. ; Thomas A. Allen, Esq, ; and James Bell, Esq.
Lewis Loyd, Jun., Esq., seconded the resolution.
Wm. Willans, Esq. begged permission to propose the thanks of the meeting to the Lord Mayor, for his kindness in taking the chair and conducting the proceeding of the meeting.
Charles Francis, Esq., seconded the resolution, which was unanimously adopted.
The Lord Mayor having acknowledged the compliment, subscriptions to the amount of nearly £1200 were put down by gentlemen present, and it was arranged that the committee should meet at eleven o’clock next day at the Mansion-house.
THE BRADFORD SUBSCRIPTION.
This subscription for the relief of the sufferers by the Holmfirth calamity is progressing Very satisfactorily. Up to the time our correspondent writes (Thursday evening), the amount considerably exceeded £2,000. On Sunday (to-morrow) congregational collections will be made in several places of worship. The town and neighbourhood have been divided into districts, and an active canvass for subscriptions will be made.
MEETING AT HONLEY.
On Monday evening a meeting was held in the National School at Honley, when on account of the severely wet weather the attendance was thin, but though there were not many present, a very decided feeling of sympathy prevailed. A deputation consisting of the Rev. J. Fearon, of Holmebridge ; James Charlesworth, Esq. ; and George Henry Hinchliffe, Esq., attended from Holmfirth. The Rev. C. Drawbridge was called to the chair, and after a report had been read by Mr. Thomas Brook, jun.. of the results of the Huddersfield collection, opened the meeting by an earnest appeal to the sympathy of the parties present on behalf of the sufferers. Addresses were delivered by Mr. Charlesworth, the Rev. Mr. Fearon, the Rev. W. Knight, incumbent of Honley ; and Mr. William Dransfield, solicitor. At the close, the Chairman paid a high compliment to the Huddersfield Chronicle, saying that through the exertions and energy displayed by the Editor in giving to the world so full and complete an account of the catastrophe, it had been the means through God of materially and effectually rousing the public to great exertions to relieve the sufferings of those who had lost so much, the consequence of which had been that larger subscriptions had been made, and therefore great praise was due to them on that account. A committee was formed for the purpose of collecting in the village. [The amount already received appears under the head of “Honley,” in our advertising columns.]
WORKING MEN’S SUBSCRIPTIONS AT LOCKWOOD.
During the present week subscriptions, in behalf of the Holmfirth sufferers, have been entered into by the men in the employ of Messrs. Berry and Crowther, manufacturers, Lockwood, which amount to £24 already.
THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.
MEETINGS OF COMMITTEES, RELIEF OF SUFFERERS, DISCOVERY OF FURTHER BODIES, AND LATEST PARTICULARS.
- (FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)
In addition to the proceedings at the inquest, reported in another portion of the present sheet, under the above head we have gathered such miscellaneous facts bearing upon the late melancholy catastrophe as we trust will interest the reader, both in this immediate neighbourhood and at a distance, in the hope that while we keep alive his interest, we may also in some measure find ourselves introduced into fresh channels of benevolence, and thereby procure a modicum of that pecuniary aid for these down-stricken brethren of the Holme Valley, who, though many men have subscribed largely and others with almost regal munificence, still stand in need of much, very much more assistance ere the immediate wants of all of them can be in the most limited manner complied with by the committees now watching over their necessitous position with so much zeal and devotion.
NUMBER OF VISITORS TO HOLMFIRTH.
On Sunday last, the number of people who visited the scene of desolation was, at a moderate calculation, double that of any previous day. The number of return passengers booked from the Holmfirth station was about 5400, and a continual stream of carriages, horse men, and pedestrians poured into the valley from all points of the compass, so that there could not be fewer than 14,000 or 15,000 people among the “ruins” during the day. We have been informed that one or more horses died from over-exertion or wrong treatment, one carriage was overturned, and several minor accidents happened. Since Sunday last the number of visitors has daily declined, yet there were not wanting an abundance of fresh faces, even up to yesterday (Friday).
SERMONS BY THE BISHOP OF RIPON AT HOLMFIRTH.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon preached on Sunday last, according to announcement, three most impressive and consolatory sermons, in the morning at Holmfirth Church, from the following text:—1st Epistle of Paid to the Thessalonians, 4th chap., 13th verse ; in the afternoon at Holm bridge National School, from Rev. 3d chap., and the former part of the 20th verse ; and in the evening at Upperthong Church, from Rev. 3d chap, and 19th verse. On Monday morning his lordship went to Holmbridge, and, accompanied by the Rev. J. Fearon, visited and kindly addressed several of the sufferers in the neighbourhood. In the afternoon, accompanied by the Rev. R. E. Leach, the bishop visited several of the sufferers in the neighbourhood of Holmfirth church and whilst he expressed the kindest sympathy towards the sufferers, particularly and most affectionately addressed the eldest son of Hartley, who, with his wife and five children, were drowned.
SERMON AT HONLEY ON BEHALF OF THE SUFFERERS.
On the afternoon of Sunday last a very impressive sermon was preached in St Mary’s Church, Honley, by the Rev. C. Drawbridge, the incumbent At the conclusion of the sermon a collection was made on behalf of the Holmfirth sufferers, amounting to £19 3s. 3d.
FURTHER DONATIONS OF CLOTHING RECEIVED.
The following lists of clothing contributed since our last have been received by the Relief Committee sitting at Holmfirth:—
Thomas Sturgeon, one bag of clothing ; ladies of the Eastbrook Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Bradford, one large bale of clothing, blankets, and coverlets ; T. G. Pilkington, Esq., one parcel ; Mrs. Hey and Miss Roberts, one box of new clothing ; E. Moses and Son, one immense bale of mens’ and boys’ clothing ; Mrs. George Armfield, of Leeds, one parcel of clothing ; Miss Jacombs, of Moldgreen, one parcel of baby linen and childrens’ clothing ; Mr. H. Williamson, Leeds, one parcel of clothing ; Mrs. Hood, Leeds, one parcel of general clothing ; Mrs. Stead, New Laith’s Hall, Leeds, one hamper of clothing ; Miss Norris and Mrs. Taylor, Barnsley, one box of general clothing ; Dorcas Society, Bradford, one large parcel ; Mrs. Brandt, Pendleton, one parcel ; Jos. Armitage, Esq., one bag of clothing ; Mr. Gelder, South-street, a parcel of clothing ; Mrs. T. Mallinson, Huddersfield (per Mr. J. Moorhouse), one large parcel of clothing ; Mr. W. M. Crowther, Gomersal, one large parcel ; Jos. Barker, Mirfield, one large parcel ; James North, Huddersfield, one large parcel William Garlick, Park-row, Leeds, one large parcel Mr. Smith, men’s and boys’ clothing ; Mr. Jos. Lowenthal, one parcel ; Dr. Casey, St. Helen’s, men’s clothing, Mr. L. Gledhill, one cask of clothes ; Mr. Thos. Hessle-grove, Saddleworth, one parcel ; Mr. John Haigh, solicitor, Huddersfield, one parcel ; Mrs. John Brown, Faraley Wood End, near Leeds, one parcel of general clothing ; Mr. John Cockcroft, one parcel of general clothing ; Mrs. John Carr, Huddersfield, one parcel of general clothing ; Mrs. Tetley, Leeds, one parcel ; Mr. Elliott, Lees, near Oldham, one parcel of cast-off clothing, per Mr. Micklethwaite, Huddersfield.
The Rev, Benjamin Firth has also received another donation of clothing from the Wesleyan congregation at Halifax ; and the Rev. Thomas Garbutt also received a small parcel from the Rev. W. J. Walker, of Denby Dale.
The Rev. R. E. Leach, incumbent of Holmfirth, has also received the following for distribution among his own flock, viz. :— Rev. H. Williamson, one package of clothing ; Rev. R. E. Brook, of Sowerby, one box ; Rev. T. Gutch, of St. Saviour’s, Leeds, three packages ; Rev. T. Atkinson, of Mirfield, three packages. He has also received several packages for the use of the general committee.
TWO MORE BODIES FOUND.
On Friday week the body of Alfred Ashall was found at Stanley Ferry, near Wakefield, at the distance, taking the course of the stream, of thirty miles from the scene of the calamity. On Saturday last, as some workmen were employed in clearing the goit belonging to Mr. Farrar, Uppermill, they found the body of Samuel Metterick, of Hinchliff Mill.
THE BODIES IN THE WESLEYAN GRAVEYARD.
We were enabled to correct an erroneous impression respecting the body of the late John Harpin, Esq., J.P., which it was supposed had been washed away by the flood from the place of its interment, in the Wesleyan chapel yard — but which, on search, was found undisturbed. We are now further enabled to state that the grave of the late Rev. A. Floyd, interred in the same burial-ground, which it was fully believed had also been completely swept out by the waters, has, on careful search, been found entire, the vault not having been affected by the flood, notwithstanding every vestige of the tomb-stone, with the palisades surrounding it, have gone. This, with the great damage done to the graveyard generally, left it difficult at first to ascertain the precise spot where the grave stood, and hence the rumour which has been current as to the fate of the rev. gentlemen’s remains for several days past.
INQUEST ON THE BODY FOUND NEAR WAKEFIELD.
On Saturday morning lost, the body of a remarkably fine child, was found in the river at Stanley Ferry, near Wakefield. An inquest was held upon it on Monday, before Mr. Taylor, deputy coroner, when Mr. Clegg, one of the constables of Holmfirth, identified it as the body of Alfred Ashall of Hollowgate, near that place coal miner, he stated that deceased was a year and ten months old, and that the house in which deceased’s father and mother resided, was entirely swept away by the late flood and all perished. Ashall’s house was the last Clegg was in on the night of the melancholy occurrence. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.” The place where the body was found will be at least thirty miles from where deceased lived, taking the course of the river.
ATTEMPTING TO PICK POCKETS. — On Saturday last before W. L. Brook, and Joshua Moorhouse, Esqs., John Weston was charged by Superintendent Heaton with attempting to pick pockets on the previous Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Heaton said that on the day in question he saw the prisoner in company with another young man of the name of Maccormick, trying people’s pockets in a crowd near the shop of Mr. Blakeley, linen draper. They tried pockets by knocking against them with, their hands. He afterwards saw them at the Town-hall doing the same, but did not see them pick any persons pocket. About 5 o’clock he saw the prisoner Weston in company with Maccormick and a boy, going towards the station. Another constable apprehended Maccormick and he followed Weston into the crowd. After watching him some time he saw him close in behind three ladies, and when the pressure from behind became greater he saw him by a lady’s pocket twice. He then pulled up, his hand and put something in his mouth. He immediately took him into custody and told him to put out what he had got in his mouth. He then put out two sixpenses. Mr. Heaton’s statements were corroborated by the testimony of several witnesses. The prisoner said he came from Derby and cot his living honestly. The worthy magistrates however did not chose to believe his statement, but committed him to Wakefield House of Correction for three months. — George Maccomrick was also charged by Superintendent Heaton with attempting to pick pockets. The charge against this prisoner was of a similar nature to that against the last. Constable George Brook said he had seen him in company with two others near Blakeley’s shop, where there was an auction sale going on, trying peoples’ pockets. He followed them towards the station, where he took the prisoner into custody, and on searching him found 2s. 8d. in his pockets. The prisoner said he came from Nottingham, and had not attempted to pick anybody’s pocket. He was committed to Wakefield House of Correction for three months. — Thomas Dickenson, who said he was a native of Warwick, but had been living with a Mrs. Johnson in High-street, Manchester, for some time past, was charged with attempting to pick pockets on the Tuesday previous. Mr. Harry Booth appeared on behalf of the prisoner. Mr. Heaton said he saw the prisoner on the afternoon of the day in question between two females near Blakeley’s shop. He tried the pocket of one. Later in the afternoon he saw him near Victoria-bridge, and told Constable Earnshaw to keep an eye upon him. John Bray said he saw the prisoner, when near Blake-key’s shop, lift up a woman’s shawl and try to pick her pocket, but she discovered him in the act, and pushed him away. Constable Earnshaw said he was near the bottom of Victoria-bridge with Mr. Heaton, when the latter pointed out to him the prisoner. He saw the prisoner go into the shop of Mr. Henry Burton, in Hollowgate, and there try to pick a lady’s pocket, but she turning aside just at the moment, he was foiled. The prisoner went up Hollowgate, and to the Victoria beerhouse, where witness followed him and took him into custody, and on searching him, found in his pockets £1 7s. In his watch pocket he found £1 6s., in all £2 13s., which he said was all he had, but on a further search, however, he found £2 10s. sewed in one of his braces. The witnesses were severely cross-examined by Mr. Booth, but without eliciting anything to damage their testimony. The prisoner was committed to Wakefield House of Correction for three months with bard labour.
SPECIAL SERVICES. — On Sunday last, a series of special services were held in the various places of worship, to turn the recent calamity to account in a religious point of view. The Lord Bishop of Ripon preached in the morning, at Holmfirth Church, from the following text :— 1st Thessalonians, 4th chapter, 13th verse. In the afternoon he preached in the National Schoolroom, Holmbridge, from Revelations, 3rd chapter and 20th verse — “Behold I stand at the door and knock ; If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me.” In the evening he preached in St John’s Church, Upperthong, from Revelations, 3rd chapter and 19th verse — “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten ; be zealous therefore and repent.” The attendance on each of the above occasions was very good. In the evening St. John’s Church was crowded. The very reverend lord bishop delivered three very appropriate and feeling discourses, which will not soon be forgotten by those who heard them.
MEETING OF THE UNITED COMMITTEES OF HUDDERSFIELD AND HOLMFIRTH.
On Saturday last, in the afternoon, a meeting of the united committees of Huddersfield and Holmfirth was held at the Crown Hotel. There were present between 40 and 50 of the leading gentlemen of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth committees.
The chair was occupied by John Brooke, Esq., of Armitage-bridge, the president of the united committee. A long and interesting discussion took place as to the appointment of a finance committee of relief and also as to the basis of an effectual system of action in giving relief, which was satisfactorily terminated. It was agreed that the number of the relief committee should not exceed twenty-four. W. L. Brook, Esq., J.P., and the Rev. T. G. Fearne, incumbent of Upperthong, were appointed a deputation to attend a meeting to be held at Liverpool. The meeting was then adjourned till three o’clock on Monday, when the chair was occupied by W. L. Brook, Esq., and the meeting proceeded to the election of a relief committee. It was afterwards arranged that the general committee should sit in future at the Crown Hotel, three times a week, viz., on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, at three o’clock p.m. ; and the relief committee on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, in the back-room of the Mechanics’ Institution, at three o’clock. The-following notice emanated from this latter body on Monday last :—
- Holmfirth Flood.
- Notice to the Unemployed.
- The Relief Committee will sit, in future, at the Mechanics’ Institute, Holmfirth, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in each week, at three o’clock in the afternoon, when persons who have been thrown out of employment by the late calamity, may apply for relief in work. No application will be entertained without a note, in writing, from their previous employers, stating such to be the case.
- By order of the Relief Committee.
- Committee room, Mechanics’ Institution,
- By order of the Relief Committee.
- 16th February, 1852.
A sub-committee of gentlemen was also appointed to assist them in the distribution of clothing, and a vote of thanks was unanimously awarded them for their kindness in coming forward, and the promptitude and efficiency with which they have fulfilled the arduous duties imposed upon them.
At a meeting of the General Committee, held on Wednesday, at the Mechanics’ Institution, it was decided to call a meeting of the owners and occupiers of mills, to agree among themselves about the steps to be taken in clearing the watercourse, preparatory to the committee taking any steps in the matter.
Subscription books were ordered to be sent to the different inns in the town ; and the Rev. T. G. Fearne was appointed to accompany Thomas Mallinson, Esq., as a deputation to attend the meeting to be held at York, on Thursday, the 19th instant.
MEETING OF SYMPATHY AT MARSDEN.
A public meeting of the inhabitants of this chapelry, convened by the respected incumbent, the Rev. J. M. Maxfield, was held in the Town’s School-room, on Monday evening, to take steps for expressing sympathy with, and to raise funds for the relief of the Holmfirth sufferers. Though the weather was very unfavourable there was a good attendance ; among those present we noticed the Rev. J. M. Maxfield, incumbent ; Rev. H. Pickersgill (independent), Messrs. J. Bower, Robinson, R. Taylor, Hirst, S. Dowse, Webster, G. Bower, J. Whitehead, S. Whitehead, Bottomley, Morris, Farrar, Nicholson, sen., Nicholson, jun., L. Hall, B. Hall, T. Russell, Newton, Johnstone, J. E. Dowse, L. Whitehead, Devenport, R. Goodall, F. Goodall, Sykes, Schofield, Russell, &c.
The Rev. J. M. Maxfield having been called to the chair, proceeded to observe that inasmuch as many men had many minds it was necessary that on such occasions as the present they should have unanimity of opinion and union of action ; and he ventured to assume that the meeting felt as one man on the soul-stirring question that had brought them together that evening. They not only felt as one man, but they felt as men prepared to act as brethren of the same common family towards those common sufferers with whose case of misfortune they deeply sympathised. (Hear, hear.) This, he reminded his hearers, in the language of the worthy vicar of Huddersfield, was a calamity which could not be described, which was stirring every heart, and opening every purse. (Hear, hear.) On that subject, then, they were perfectly agreed, — agreed in holding out the hand of Christian assistance, and thus by their influence and example endeavouring to remove the cup of bitterness from the mouth of these poor sufferers as far as lay in their power, ere they had drank of it to the dregs. The rev. chairman then proceeded to refer in terms of high eulogy to the noble subscription of the men of Huddersfield, which was worthy of being an example to the country at large, and which should rouse up that current of practical benevolence, which, when the heart was touched, redounded to God’s glory, who was thus moving in the hearts of men to effect his highest and noblest purposes. He then alluded to the sum subscribed by the Queen and Prince Albert, and to one or two other items in the list of subscriptions, such as those by the workmen of Messrs. John Brooke and Sons, and of Messrs. Starkey, the Latter of whom had given nearly £200, and then related several touching incidents in connection with the late melancholy catastrophe, all tending to show that amid such suffering on every hand large and liberal subscriptions could alone meet the urgency of the case demanding their aid. He called upon them not only to give liberally of their abundance, but to give in a spirit of self-denial by foregoing those little luxuries they now individually enjoyed, in order the more effectually to assist their brethren now standing so much in need of their assistance. (Hear, hear.)
The Rev. H. Pickersgill, in proposing the first resolution, said he presumed nothing need be said to induce the inhabitants of Marsden to give their sympathy and aid to those who were reduced to destitution and ruin. The rev. gentleman then drew a graphic picture of the suffering which had been inflicted on parents, tradesmen, farmers, and all ranks of life, and concluded by remarking that Huddersfield had set a bright example, and he believed Marsden would do its duty also. (Hear, hear.) The resolution he had to move was — “That this meeting deeply sympathises with the inhabitants of Holmfirth and neighbourhood under their recent calamity, involving as it does a fearful loss of life and property, and throwing thousands of operatives out of employment.”
The resolution was seconded by Mr. Bower, supported by Mr. James Hirst, and carried unanimously.
Mr. Robert Taylor moved the next resolution, which was as follows:— “That this meeting feels called upon to enter into, and promote as far as possible, a local subscription on behalf of the sufferers.” Mr. Taylor said that the business had been opened in such eloquent terms by their respected incumbent that little was left for him to add. However, he had seen the wreck, and the result must be that thousands of poor men would be thrown out of employment, and he thought that those operatives ought to be cared for whether others were or not. (Hear, hear.) It was not exactly the loss of property that was involved, inasmuch as the loss would extend in various directions throughout the whole district ; and he therefore thought that as Englishmen and as men who prided themselves on more self-reliance than was displayed by the people of any other country, it behoved them to do all they could to alleviate the sufferings of their neighbours across the hills. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Samuel Dowse seconded the resolution, which was supported by
Mr. J. B. Robinson in a brief but eloquent address, who observed that the scene had been visited by most of the people of that village, and every person, young and old, rich or poor, who had a mind to think, or a heart to feel, had been struck with emotion at this, the most distressing calamity of modern times ; and, therefore, it was not necessary to harrow up their feelings with fresh recital. He had himself formed somewhat of an estimate of the probable loss, but the most recent and authentic information had thrown that estimate into the shade. There was, he added, little hope that government would do anything ; and that circumstance rendered it the more necessary that the country should do its utmost, and especially those who, like themselves, stood in the close relation of neighbours and friends to the sufferers, and who could thus show that they not only possessed feeling but also liberal hearts.
At this stage of the proceedings the subscription was entered upon, which, with the subsequent sums obtained, appear in the list under the head of “Marsden.”
Mr. B. Hall moved the next resolution, which was as follows :— “That the following gentlemen form a committee, with power to add to their number, for the purpose of carrying out the resolutions of the meeting, viz. — The Rev. J. M. Maxfield, chairman ; Mr. John Dowse, treasurer ; the Rev. H. Pickersgill, Mr. James Hirst, Mr. Hall, Mr. Samuel Bower, Mr. J. B. Robinson, Mr. Samuel Dowse, Mr. W. Johnstone, Mr. Joshua Scirrow, Mr. Robert Taylor, Mr. Thomas Nicholson, Mr. Josh. Webster, secretary ; any five of whom shall form a quorum.” The motion was seconded by Mr. H. Davenport, supported by Mr. Joshua Farrar, and unanimously agreed to.
Thanks were then awarded to the Rev. J. M. Maxfield, for presiding, and to the Editor of the Huddersfield Chronicle for the able and lucid reports of the catastrophe which had from time to time appeared in that journal, after which the company dispersed.
PUBLIC MEETING IN LEEDS.
- (From, the Leeds Intelligencer of this day.)
On Monday last, at noon, a public meeting, convened by 6. Goodman, Esq., mayor of Leeds-, in compliance with an influential requisition, was held in the Stock Exchange, in order to consider the expediency of raising a fund by public subscription to mitigate the great distress and privations consequent on the awful calamity which has recently befallen the district of Holmfirth. The meeting was a numerous one, and comprised a great proportion of the leading clergy, bankers, and mercantile gentlemen connected with the town.
The Mayor introduced the business in an able speech, after which Mr. J. Jowitt read a report of the damage sustained, drawn up by the Leeds deputation that had visited Holmfirth.
Mr. Gott and Mr. Hall moved and seconded the first resolution, which was spoken to by
The Rev. J. Bateman, Vicar of Huddersfield, who said he was sure that all of them, knowing as they did all that had occurred in his rural deanery, and knowing all that the people had endured, would excuse his entering into details. He needed not to say it to many of those who had trodden over the ground, but to those who had not witnessed the scene, he would say let them fancy one of their pleasant Yorkshire vallies gathering within it a stream of water which was used for those mills employing the operatives whose houses were scattered around them on every side. On account of a frequent drought it was thought advisable that a large reservoir should be made so that they might be able to command a continuous stream The valley was therefore spanned by an enormous embankment, three times the width of that room and carried up to a height of 100 feet, which restrained the streams which ran into the reservoir which covered an extent of surface of about 12 acres, and was of a depth of 50 and 60 and even of 70 feet, when it happened, that the supply of water had enormously exceeded the usual average. It unfortunately occurred that the safety valve, a funnel or cofferdam down which the surplus water ran and was conveyed away by a sluice gate at the other side of the embankments, could not for some weeks be lifted up. The cause of this was not correctly known, but it was generally supposed to have been occasioned by the root of a tree having got into it, and prevented the action of the sluice gate. As the waters rose higher and higher so did the reservoir, until it became 10, twelve, and 15 feet higher by the mass of waters which was jammed back. Those who witnessed this felt their breath come short when they thought what might happen. No remedy could then be adopted. It was a matter of calculation, the water retained being a depth of 90 feet at the deepest part, that the weight which had accumulated was equal to two millions of tons, and that there were between two and three hundred millions of gallons of water in the reservoir hanging like a death-cloud over that devoted land Those who watched had no idea of what might be the effect of that accumulation. They thought that it might run over, and that little or no harm would be the result, but the sequel showed the terrible power which is exerted by water when it breaks forth from its bounds. It could not be said whether it had become undermined, although the probability was that it had, as well as rolled over the top, for there was no part of the embankment remaining which might have retained a portion of the water. It was cleft asunder from top to bottom, and they looked from the summit down to a depth of 100 feet. From the manner in which the tops of trees had been twisted off in the valley, it appeared that a volume of water had rolled forth equal in height to the hall in which they were met. How helpless then became all the efforts to aid, and how afflicting the sacrifice. All the works of men fell prostrate before it. Huge boilers, which they were accustomed to see dragged along by 16 horses, were tossed about like toys, one of them having been carried a distance of five miles, while one of the bridges was blocked up by another. There was one which lay by the road side, and it was difficult to conceive how it was bore there, as the spot seemed to be beyond the reach of the flood which had deposited it there Every day now made a change in the appearance of the scene, as there were men constantly engaged in cleansing away the debris, and an appearance of greater quietness, prevailed. Many who had seen it had well said that no man could describe one half of what had been done. Part of the walls of some houses, with the furniture they contained, were in some instances swept away, while in. others they were wholly destroyed. Mills were in some places overwhelmed, and in others their machinery was broken up. One large water wheel seemed alone to have withstood the shock. As if it had been accustomed to be tossed about by the torrent, it alone retained its ground in that valley which was now a mass of desolation. They were aware what Huddersfield had done, but what was Huddersfield in comparison to Leeds? What would the people of Leeds do? They of Huddersfield were willing to yield the palm of supremacy to the merchants of this town. He prayed to God to put it in the hearts of all to give. He trusted that He would accept the offering and return it sevenfold to their own bosoms. (Loud applause.)
John Brooke, Esq. (chairman of the united committees of Huddersfield and Holmfirth) next addressed the meeting, after which addresses were delivered by the Rev. W. Sinclair, Rev. G. W. Conder, Mr Hyde, Mr R. Jowitt, Mr J. R. Atkinson, and Mr F. Baines.
During the meeting a subscription was commenced, and in a very few minutes thirteen gentlemen put down their names for £100 each. The total sum collected up to yesterday (Friday) at noon was £3217 4s. 4d.
PUBLIC MEETING AND SUBSCRIPTION IN, YORK.
A very numerous meeting of the inhabitants of the city of York and its neighbourhood was held on Thursday at the Guildhall, over which the Lord Mayor presided, for the purpose of considering the expediency of raising a public subscription towards alleviating the privations occasioned by the calamity at Holmfirth. The meeting was attended by the Rev. T. G. Fearne, of Holmfirth, and by J. C. Laycock, Esq., of Huddersfield, as a deputation from the joint committees of Huddersfield and Holmfirth. Able addresses wore delivered by the Archbishop of York, Mr Thomas Barstow, of Garrowhill, Alderman Meek, the Rev J. Parsons, and other gentleman. Letters were read from Lord Wenlock regretting that his state of health prevented his attendance in parson, and begging to subscribe £50 to the object of the meeting ; from Mr G. Cholmeley, of Howsham, desiring to become a subscriber of £100 ; and from Lord Londesborough, as a subscriber of £50. The subscription list already amounts to upwards of £700, and the best feelings are manifested in behalf of those to whose use it is to be applied.
THE HOLMFIRTH CATASTROPHE.
HOLMFIRTH, FRIDAY NIGHT.
The excitement caused by this melancholy occurrence appears to be subsiding, and though the weather since Wednesday has been very fine, the scene of the disaster has not been visited by such numbers as on the preceding week. The Committee continue their sitting daily at the Mechanics’ Institution ; and on Monday last they issued a return of the estimated loss of life and damage sustained through the recent disaster, but as the return has already appeared in our columns, we shall not repeat it. On Thursday last a general meeting of the Holmfirth committee was held at the Crown Hotel, Holmfirth, W. L. Brook, Esq. in the chair, when the Rev J. Fearon and Mr James Beardsell were added to it. Mr. George Crowther was appointed joint valuer, and Mr. James Charlesworth was requested to attend a meeting at Barnsley, as a deputation from the committee. Steps were taken for carrying out a system of house visitation amongst the sufferers. The other business of a general nature, and with the exception of votes of thanks to those ladies and gentlemen who have come forward so readily during this trying period, possessed no public interest.
The Ladies Committee have continued their labours with a zeal and kindness reflecting the highest honour on its members. The number of applications received by them up to Thursday night was about 280. Of these some had been relieved several times. Some of the applicants represented whole families, and were dealt with as such ; in other cases several members of the same family applied individually, and each received something. It will, therefore, be seen that it would be no easy task to ascertain the exact number either of families or individuals who have availed themselves of the generosity of those whose hearts have been touched with sympathy for the houseless and destitute condition of many who were very recently in circumstances of comparative comfort.
The removal of ruins and rubbish is continued with vigour in every quarter of the town, and great improvement is observable during the past week. On Wednesday morning the ruins of the house previously occupied by Mr C. B. Marples fell into the river, but without committing any material damage.
We understand that the government have issued orders for a careful survey of the whole valley, and of the damage sustained, and in pursuance of such orders a body of Sappers and Miners, under Lieutenant St. John, arrived in this neighbourhood on Wednesday last.
Since our last publication several bodies have been found, and in order that our readers may have before them as accurate a return as can be obtained of the total of persons missing, and of bodies recovered and identified, we again give the list which appeared in the Chronicle of Saturday last.
TOTAL OF BODIES MISSING.
- * Found and identified.
- † Bodies found and identified since yesterday week.
- 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 (48)
- Mrs Dodd * (30)
- Sarah Hannah Dodd * (1)
- Elizabeth Dodd * (7)
- Joshua Earnshaw * (70)
- Charles Earnshaw * (30)
- Abel Earnshaw * (5)
- Ann Beaumont Earnshaw * (12)
- Betty Earnshaw (lived with Mettericks) * (30)
- William Exley * (26)
- Nancy Marsden * (40)
- Eliza Marsden * (45)
- Joshua Marsden * (14)
- Joseph Marsden (16)
- James Metterick (60)
- Jane Metterick * (3)
- Mary Metterick † (36)
- William Metterick * (38)
- Samuel Metterick † (21)
- Alfred Metterick (8)
- Joseph Metterick * (1)
- Elizabeth Healey * (8)
RECOVERY OF THE BODIES OF MR. JONATHAN SANDFORD AND GRACE SHACKLETON.
The non-discovery of the body of Mr. Sandford during the early part of the week created in the minds of the friends of the deceased gentleman a painful feeling of anxiety and suspense, and on Tuesday notices were issued increasing the reward for the discovery of the body from £10 to £100. Yesterday morning information was received that the body had been discovered near the tail goit of Messrs. Robinson’s mill, Thongsbridge. In consequence of the recent fine weather the water has become much clearer throughout the valley, and about seven o’clock yesterday morning a cartman named Bray, whilst passing over the bridge at Thongsbridge had his attention attracted by something in the water. The circumstance did not induce him to take any steps to ascertain what it was, and he proceeded forward. On returning about nine o’clock he again noticed the object which had previously attracted his attention. He mentioned the circumstance to a young man named Broadhead, and subsequently the matter was communicated to Hiram Earnshaw, fulling miller, and to John Crosland, engineer and constable, both in the employ of Mr. Godfrey Mellor, and about ten o’clock they, went into the stream. Upon removing a portion of the mud surrounding the object, they discovered it to be a human body, and from certain marks on the back, they at once identified it as that of Mr. Jonathan Sandford The body was deeply embedded in the mud, as though it had been puddled in, and occupied fully half-an hour before it could be released from its position. On being taken out of the water, it was found to be dressed in a flannel shirt, linen shirt, with, a stock round the neck, — the shirt being washed over the head. It was removed to the Royal Oak Inn, Thongsbridge, and subsequently to the Crown Hotel, Holmfirth. The coroner’s jury, we believe, viewed the body at two o’clock, and we understand it is to be interred to-day. It did not appear to have undergone decomposition, and was easily identified.
The total amount of subscriptions received up to last night from all known sources is nearly £25,000, including the following sums collected from strangers visiting Holmfirth since the disaster :—
DONATION FROM THE ROYAL FORESTERS OF THONGSBRIDGE.
We have pleasure in announcing that at a meeting of the Royal Foresters, held at Mrs. E. Bray’s, the Royal Oak Inn, Thongsbridge, last evening (Friday), the liberal sum of £20 was voted from the funds for the relief of the sufferers by the calamity at Holmfirth and neighbourhood.
HOLMFIRTH. — The word materially which occurs in the twenty-fifth line of the communication from the Holmfirth magistrates to the Home Secretary, which we gave in our last, ought to have been naturally. The mistake occurred with our printers, who, under the heavy demands made upon them, ought certainly to stand excused in consideration of their great efforts to inform the public mind in and out of season.