Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Apr/1856) - Holmfirth Flood Monumental Alms-Houses
HOLMFIRTH FLOOD MONUMENTAL ALMS-HOUSES.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE.
This event took place on Monday morning last. The day was warm and cheerful — occasionally in the morning a thick haze set over the hills, and threatened an unpropitious day, but about noon it entirely disappeared — and the sun benignantly shed his rays over the valley for the remainder of the day.
Owing to some misunderstanding the inhabitants did not by any outward demonstration seem to take much interest in the matter ; but few banners were to be seen, and business avocations were pursued as on ordinary occasions. Groups of persons began to collect around the Town Hall, from which place the procession was announced to start ; and also along the streets through which it was expected to proceed. Large number also went to view the site of the "Monumental Alms-houses," which are intended to commemorate the awful flood of 1852, the liberality of the nation in relieving the sufferers by that calamity, and to provide a residence and means of subsistence for the decayed tradesmen of Holmfirth.
The site, which has been presented by Cookson Stephenson, Esq., is situated a little above the Railway Station, on the Newmill Road. Situated on the slope of a hill, it commands an extensive view of the valley of the river Holme, in which so many persons lost their lives by the calamity of 1852. To the left is Holmfirth, in front portions of Upperthong and Netherthong, and to the left Thongs Bridge, all of which are within view.
The design for the Alms-houses, chosen by the committee, from fourteen other designs sent in for competition, was that of Mr. William Hill, architect, Albion Street, Leeds. The building comprises five houses, each house containing a living room, pantry, and coal house on the ground floor, and over these a good chamber and closet. The style of architecture adopted is the gothic of the 14th century, the building is constructed of the local stone, with ashlar dressings to windows and doorways, and with wall stones pitched on the face. The front of the building is broken up into recesses, and from the centre compartment rises a turret, which will have a beautiful effect when finished, and gives a decided character to the building. The building is elevated about twelve feet above the road, and the houses will be approached through a lych gate, up a flight of steps, and then by terraces, which are intended to be planted with shrubs. The whole, when finished, will cost about £700. Messrs. Pounders, of Leeds, are the contractors, for the whole of the works.
The procession started from the Town Hall shortly before twelve o'clock, in the following order:—
- James Bates, Esq., Conductor of the Procession, on horseback,
- assisted by Adjutant Johnson, 2nd West York, Halifax, also on horseback.
- The Chief Constable, on horseback.
- The Constables of the District.
- The Magistrates.
- The Clergy and Ministers.
- The Architect and Builder.
- The Committee.
- A Band of Music.
- The Freemasons.
- The Churchwardens, Overseers, and Guardians of the Poor.
- Gentlemen and Tradesmen
But few gentlemen and tradesmen joined in the procession, and the benevolent societies of the locality, although invited, did not attend.
The Freemasons mustered in strong force — about 120 members being in attendance, besides a number who came late, representing the following lodges :— Probity, Halifax ; Peace, Meltham ; Three Grand Principles, Dewsbury ; St. George's, Doncaster ; Amphibious, Heckmondwike ; Nelson of the Nile, Batley ; Harmony, Huddersfield ; Fidelity, Leeds ; Huddersfield Lodge ; Philanthropic, Leeds ; Alfred, Leeds ; Candour, Saddle-worth ; Integrity, Morley ; Aire and Calder, Goole ; Tudor, Saddleworth ; Wakefield Lodge ; Truth, Huddersfield ; Harmony, Bradford ; Zetland, Cleckheaton ; and the Holme Valley Lodge, Holmfirth.
The procession went along the Huddersfield Road to Upperbridge, then through the Hollowsgate and over the new bridge to the church.
Prayers were read by the Rev. Dr. Senior, of Wakefield. The Rev. John George Fardell, M.A., Rector of Banham, Norfolk, Chaplain to the Right Hon. the Earl of Courtown. P.P.S.G.W. and P. Pro. Grand Chaplain of West Yorkshire, who was conducted to the pulpit by Brothers Marsh and Aston, two of the P.G. Stewards, preached the sermon from 1st Peter, ii. 12 :— "Whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." After referring to the fact that the great honour of laying the foundation stone of the new alms-houses to commemorate the awful flood of 1852, had been assigned to a freemason — he proceeded to show that only by evil and ignorant men could freemasons be spoken against. Reverence to God, charity — attachment to their country, secrecy and fidelity were all implanted within them — and a society that inculcated such principles had little in it to excite the contempt of foolish men or the smile of ridicule. Freemasons had ranked amongst them the great and good of all ages and in all countries, and whilst other institutions had vanished and the place thereof knew them no more — masonry had existed and flourished. He next glanced at the insecurity of earthly possessions. Perhaps, he said — there never was a more distressing instance, or one that excited greater sympathy than the calamity which took place on the evening of the 4th of February, 1852. The day had been spent as other days were spent, and things looked as on ordinary occasions. Some of the inhabitants had been to the field, others to their mills and all having pursued their usual avocations — had returned home to their nightly repose. The man of money and enterprise after inspecting his great works had given his mind to vest. The minister of God after having visited his people, prayed in the sick chamber and sat by the bedside of the sick man, had retired to recruit his weary spirit and seek renewed strength ; and mankind in that beautiful valley had resigned exhausted nature to find repose. All were at rest save a very few whose duties were to watch that mighty mass of water banked up to supply the valley. In a moment the mighty mound of earth gave way — parting asunder from top to bottom, and down the valley came the water lull of destruction and death. In the morning how many a vacant spot was there — where memory remembered friends and inmates that had been swept away. (After vividly depicting some of the melancholy scenes which presented themselves on that memorable morning — and eulogising the liberality which poured in subscriptions to relieve the distress occasioned by that calamity) — he remarked that none were more liberal than his masonic brethren. The relief committee whose labours deserved their heartfelt thanks had again added to the obligation of the public, by their liberal contributions to the Alms-houses to be erected to commemorate that awful flood — and he appealed to the masons and others present,, to show their appreciation of such con-conduct by raising sufficient to endow the Alms-houses — bearing in mind that ‘charity never faileth.' This was a common cause and worthy of their notice. Charity he knew had been misapplied ; but in this enterprise so simple, so unexceptionable, and under such control and excellent management, no demoralising result could be apprehended. Such was the insecurity of temporal possessions and the reverses of fortune, that none of them were raised above these distressing reverses, which might plunge them into the extremity of want, and render them dependent upon charity. He felt that remembering these things, he need not prompt their benevolence, as he was sure they would not suffer the appeal already made for the endowment of these alms-houses to be in vain. He therefore concluded with the words of divine inspiration, "Blessed is the man that provideth for the sick and needy, the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble."
A collection was made amounting to £20. The Rev. R. E. Leach, incumbent of Holmfirth, pronounced the benediction, and the congregation then separated.
The procession again formed in the same order as before, and proceeded to the site of the intended building. On the way the streets were crowded with spectators. A large space had been railed off, and a small fee was charged for admission to this reserved space. It was speedily crowded, principally with ladies. The freemasons arranged themselves around the stone, leaving a space in the centre.
On the ground were the following clergymen and gentlemen :— Revs. R. E. Leach, incumbent of Holmfirth ; J. Fearon, Holmbridge ; J. W. Town, Upperthong ; T. James, Netherthong ; T. B. Bensted, Lockwood ; E. D, Marshall, J. Owen, E. Bagott, J. Kendall, and D. Walton ; J. Moorhouse, Esq., and J. Charlesworth, Esq. Mr. Jas. Bates, inspector of factories ; Mr. A. Cuttell, chief constable ; J. C. Laycock, Esq., and T. Mallinson, Esq. Messrs. J. Moorhouse, S. Wimpenny, G. Robinson, G. Hinchliffe, J. Charlesworth, C. Moorhouse, William Moorhouse, J. Hixon, G. Tinker, J. Beardsell, T. Haigh, J. Carter, R. Ramsden, J. Hartley, W. F. Moorhouse, N. Thewlis, T. Thewlis, J. Crosland, E. Barker, J. Midgley, J. Harpin, T. Hinchliffe, J. Wylie, J. Burton, J. Holmes, C. Taylor, J. Crawshaw, T. Dyson, J. H. Farrar, J. L. Nelson, and W. Hill. There could not have been less than 2,000 spectators.
Amongst the brethren present we noticed the following officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge :— Dr. Fearnley, as D.P.G.M, Dewsbury ; John Lee, P.G.S.W., Leeds ; W. W. Widdop, P.G.J.W., Brighouse ; C. S. Floyd, P.P.G.S.W. ; Bentley Shaw, P.P.G.S.W. ; the Rev. Chaplains, Brother Fardell, A.M., P.G.C., and Dr. Senior, P.P.G.C. ; Richard Carter, Halifax ; T. J. Wigney, P.P.G.R. ; James Peace, P.P.C.J.W. ; W. J. Clarke, M.R.C.S. ; Joseph Brook, P.P.G.D.C. as P.G. Secretary ; Wm. Kilner, P.P.G.D.W. ; William Smith, P.G.D.C. ; George Mitchell, P.P.G.S.B. ; T. Thewlis, T. Dyson, R. H. Thompson, P.P.G.J.D. ; J. Thomas, P.G.P. ; W. S. Thornton, Aston, Bradley, Nelson, and Marsh, P.G. Stewards.
The ceremony was commenced by singing the following ode :—
- Almighty Lord! our heavenly King,
- Before whose sacred name we bend;
- Accept the praises which we sing,
- And to our humble prayer attend.
- All hail, great Architect Divine,
- This universal frame is thine!
- The heav'ns were spread at thy command,
- Earth's vast foundations also laid
- May this our work of human hand,
- Be bless'd with thy eternal aid,
- Proclaim the Great Jehovah's praise,
- To whom this structure now we raise.
Bro. the Rev, J. G. Fardell, M.A., then offered prayer ; after which the ceremonial of laying the stone commenced. Brother C. S. Floyd, P.P.S.G.W., who, in the absence of the Provincial Grand Master, and Deputy Prov. G.M. officiated under a dispensation as D.P.G.M., first asked the provincial grand treasurer for the bottle, with suitable contents for the occasion. The bottle was produced by Brother Thomas Dyson, hermetically sealed, and the contents were enumerated. It contained copies of the Huddersfield Chronicle, the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner, the Leeds Mercury, and Leeds Intelligencer (with supplement), the Manchester Examiner and Times, and the Times (with supplement), — all of last Saturday's date, — a pamphlet, containing an account of the proceedings of the relief-fund committees, and specimens of all the silver and copper coins of the realm for the present year. The bottle was deposited in the cavity prepared for it, and was then covered with a brass plate, having the following inscription :—
- "The foundation stone of the Holmfirth Monumental Alms-houses, erected to commemorate the great flood, caused by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir, on the 5th of Feby., 1852 (by which upwards of 80 lives were lost) ; and also the munificent liberality of the British public, was laid by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Freemasons of West Yorkshire, on Monday, the 21st of April, A.D. 1856, A.L. 5856."
Mr. Hill, the architect, produced the plan, which was handed round and inspected by several gentlemen.
The mortar was then carefully spread by Bro. Floyd, and the stone was lowered into its place, the band in the meanwhile playing a solemn tune.
The Provincial Junior Grand Warden, W. Widdop, Brighouse, then advanced and applied the implement of his office, and ascertained that the stone was plumb ; the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, J. Lee, Leeds, also applied his instrument to see that the stone was level, and Bro. Floyd, having ascertained that the stone was square, took the mallet and striking it three times said "Thus, and thus, and thus, I lay the foundation stone of this building to be called the Monumental Almshouses, and to be erected in commemoration of the awful flood of 1852, and of the nation's liberality towards the alleviation of that distressing calamity; and may the great Architect of the Universe prosper this benevolent undertaking now commenced and crown the work with his blessing." Bro. Floyd then strewed the corn, and poured over the stone the wine and oil, which were presented to him in silver cups by three Past Masters — and prayed
- "May the all bounteous Author of Nature bless this village and neighbourhood with an abundance of corn, wine, and oil, and with all the necessaries, comforts, and conveniences of life ; and may the same Almighty power preserve this neighbourhood from flood, fire, and tempest, from ruin and decay to the latest posterity."
The brethren replied "So mote it be!" Brother C. S. Floyd, Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Acting Deputy Provincial Grand Master, then said — Brethren of the ancient and honourable society of Freemasons — In the absence of our Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, the Right Hon. the Earl of Mexborough, whose engagements in the south of England at this moment prevent his having, what I am sure he would have considered the greatest pleasure and privilege, of being amongst you this day ; in the absence also of our worthy Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Brother Charles Lee, which is owing entirely to indisposition of such a nature as to call for rest and quiet, and therefore preventing his mixing with us on so interesting and exciting an occasion as this would be to him. All who know him, well know what great self-denial it must be to him to be absent to-day, because I am satisfied his spirit at this moment is with us, and my earnest hope and prayer is that it may please the Great Architect of the Universe speedily to restore him to his wonted health, and may he long live to occupy the prominent position to which his abilities and his love of masonry so pre-eminently entitle him. (Applause.) In the absence of these lights in masonry, and by the kindness of my brother, Dr. Fearnley, who ought of right to be in my place now, I have, by command, taken upon myself to do that which would more properly be done by some one more experienced in the craft, or that would, perhaps, be more acceptable to the neighbourhood. ("No, no.") No doubt, the selection was made on account of my local connection, and on account of the position which I have the honour to hold as Master of the Holme Valley Lodge, recently established in this locality. On this account, therefore, though I feel somewhat diffident in undertaking the duty, I nevertheless feel proud the selection has fallen upon myself, I need not recapitulate the circumstances that have brought us together, the origin of the circumstances I perhaps ought to say. You have heard them so ably and eloquently depicted from the pulpit this morning, that anything I could advance would only weaken the impression which must have seized the mind of every one who listened to that discourse. The result has, I hope, been found in a good collection, and so prove that the appeal of our excellent and worthy rev. brother Fardell has not been made in vain — because, as he beautifully observed, charity is one of our distinguishing characteristics. Brethren, the night of the calamity was indeed an awful one, and had it not been for the kindness of friends not here alone — nor in the particular neighbourhood — but friends from a distance and throughout the nation at large — I cannot tell, nor would it be easy to foresee, what would have been the position — the painful position of this locality at this moment. But, by the aid of charity, begun first by an example set in our own immediate neighbourhood — next, and mainly, by the good people of Huddersfield — gentlemen, tradesmen, operatives, Sunday school children, and this most nobly responded to by the public in general, — every one, in fact, nobly coming forward, and contributing according to their means — some most abundantly — and superabundantly; and others — even the widow's mite — in order to raise a sufficient amount by which this neighbourhood should once more endeavour to smile and look up. Brethren, that having been done, and this neighbourhood to a great extent once more restored, it became a matter of consideration what should be done for the purpose of most suitably commemorating that awful event and the nation's liberality. Many schemes were devised ; some not practicable, others too expensive. The plan eventually hit upon was such as we thought we might with additional assistance — which at that time we were partly led to expect — be able to carry out ; namely, the erection of a number of suitable alms-houses. Contributions were made and subscriptions entered into ; and here I must give the committee great credit for their liberality manifested in this our endeavour — by placing at our disposal the surplus fund in their hands to the amount of some hundreds of pounds for the purpose of achieving what we are now endeavouring to carry out. In addition to this there were gentlemen who nobly came forward and placed at our disposal large and munificent sums of money for the same object. All these sums unitedly have been the means of enabling us to see our way clear in the erection of these alms-houses in that beautiful design and style of architecture which does such great credit to the architect, Mr. Hill, of Leeds. There is another thing I must mention — though these alms-houses may be built — they still require to make them complete — a proper endowment. This is the object we have now in view. The ladies, to their credit be it spoken, have with a oneness of heart so remarkable, come forward and spontaneously offered to do their very utmost to promote this further undertaking. This combined with other sources of contribution that may be expected, and in aid of which the collection at the church this morning has been made, will we hope place the houses when erected on that footing that will make those inmates comfortable who may be the recipients of this very excellent charity. For after all it is a charity, and who can say which of us in this changing world may not be an inmate of these very almshouses. Be that as it may, I do not know anything in which we could exercise more true Christian charity — than in the erection of a building where the decayed tradesman after battling with the vicissitudes of life may have become penniless, and instances of such we often see in the order of Providence — may here find a peaceful home in his declining years. Where the widow and the orphan, the aged, the infirm and the afflicted may likewise find a home and a welcome ; an asylum where they can repose in the evening of life, with it is to be hoped a calm and settled sunshine to cheer them to the end of their days. I hope your bounty will be brought to bear in furtherance of this object in such a shape as to reflect honour upon you as contributors, and happiness to the expected recipients. It would be idle to continue this subject further. If I had come prepared with any speech for the occasion, it would have been better to have left it behind rather than have troubled you with it after listening to the able and eloquent discourse we have heard this morning with such satisfaction, and which has quite anticipated me in anything I might wish to say. I can only conclude by hoping that it may please the Great Architect of the universe to crown this our endeavour with his blessing : and may we, all of us, have satisfaction in looking back to the time when on this beautiful day, in great contrast to that dreadful night of the calamity — whilst here assembled together it has pleased Providence to smile upon us once again in this our endeavour to raise a structure to his glory, and the welfare of our fellow creatures. I cannot do better than conclude with a few lines which my Brother Fearnley and I, and we freemasons in general, have often sung together, and which, I hope, we may again have a similar pleasure.
- Genius of masonry! descend,
- And bring fair virtue, brightest maid ;
- Bring love, bring truth, and friendship here,
- And smooth the wrinkled brow of care.
- Come charity! with goodness crowned,
- Encircled with thy holy robe,
- Diffuse thy blessings all around
- To every corner of the globe.
Bro. Floyd, after a pause, said he should like to thank an unknown lady for the mallet put into his hand. It was an implement most beautifully carved, and made of the most valuable materials. It had been placed at the disposal of the brother who should lay the foundation stone. He understood that thirty years ago it did duty in laying the foundation stone of a church, and since then on several other occasions. He should prize it as a trophy of that day.
Bro. Dr. Fearnley expressed a hope that the building would be raised and completed without injury to life or limb.
Bro. Floyd said a circumstance had just occurred to which too much publicity could not be given. He had made a few remarks upon the very excellent, eloquent and appropriate discourse to which they had just listened. A deputation had waited upon their Bro. Rev. Fardell, in the vestry, for the purpose of thanking him for his services, and to ask him to place the sermon at the disposal of the committee, in order that it might be printed, and more widely diffused. He was happy to say that their excellent brother Fardell, with that love of masonry in the first place, and of his fellow-creatures in the second place, had kindly responded to the call by placing the manuscript in his hands. And, as his contribution, Bro. Fardell had insisted that it should be printed at his expense ; the entire proceeds of the sale to go in aid of the alms-houses. (Applause.)
Three times three cheers were then given for the houses. The national anthem was sung, and three times three cheers were next given for the ladies.
The procession again formed, and went through the streets to the Victoria Bridge, where it halted.
Dr. Fearnley, of Dewsbury, addressing the people around, said it was the first time that the freemasons had visited Holmfirth, but he hoped it would not be the last. He hoped that the part they had taken in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of so admirable an object as the alms-houses would meet with their satisfaction, and be accepted as a proof of their good will. He thanked the inhabitants in the name of the freemasons of West Yorkshire for the kindness they had shown, and he could not do less than propose, on that spot where the flood was most destructive, three hearty cheers for the prosperity of the town and trade of Holmfirth.
Three hearty cheers were given by the freemasons.
The Rev. J. Fearon, as one residing in the valley, and a witness of the calamity that lead to that movement of benevolence and love, felt it his duty with all his heart to reciprocate the compliment which the freemasons had paid, The freemasons had done them an honour beyond what they had a right to expect ; their conduct on such an occasion was a proof of their brotherly love and kindness. (Hear, hear.) And might he assume a place, which did not of right belong to him, and say, on behalf of the valley, that the inhabitants did most heartily thank, and feel deeply indebted to the society of masons tor honouring them with their presence on that occasion. (Applause.)
On the proposition of the Rev. T. B. Bensted, three hearty cheers were given for the freemasons, and in return, Bro. Floyd proposed three cheers for the clergy, which being given, the freemasons walked along Victoria Street and the Huddersfield road to the Victoria Hotel, where dinner had been provided.
The band and other portions of the procession went forward to the Elephant and Castle Inn, where they were dismissed by Mr. Bates, who had conducted the procession.
DINNER AT THE VICTORIA.
The masonic body, to the number of nearly 80, sat down, about half-part three o'clock, to a most sumptuous dinner provided by Mrs. Kippax. Bro. Floyd occupied the chair, supported on the light and left by the rest of the P.G. officers. The vice-chairs were occupied by Bro. Josh. Mellor, junior warden, and Bro. John Burton, junior warden , of the Holme Valley Lodge. The usual loyal and masonic toasts were given with the honours peculiar to Masons. Bro. Fearnly, in an able speech, proposed "Prosperity to the Holmfirth Monumental Alms-houses," but as our reporter was not permitted to be present we are unable to do more than announce the fact. An interesting correspondence took place between the Rev. R. E. Leach and Mr. Floyd, which we have, by particular desire of the brethren who heard it read, obtained for publication. The Rev. Mr. Leach, after the ceremony, and before he went to dinner at the Elephant and Castle, wrote a note to Mr. Floyd, which reached him at the Victoria. The cloth was drawn — it was read to the brethren assembled, and elicited warm expressions of approbation. Mr. Floyd was requested to return an answer, which was also read and approved by the brethren previous to its being sent. The following are the letters referred to :—
- Holmfirth Parsonage, April 21, 1856.
- My dear Sir, — May I beg the kindness of your expressing to the masonic body that will dine with you the pleasure I feel in their attendance at my church, and their liberal contribution. I cordially agree with your sentiments of the excellent discourse delivered by the Rev. Mr. Fardell, and think that its circulation would be attended with important benefits. Though not a member of the masonic body, it is my happiness to be united to one who was not only united to a mason of high degree, but has seen masonry in all its glory in the eastern part of the world ; and I beg to assure you that the reports which that lady has given me of the integrity, kindness, sympathy, and brotherly love of masons in various parts, and under trying circumstances, is such that I cannot but honour so respectable a body. — I am, my dear sir, yours faithfully,
- C. S. Floyd, Esq. R. E. Leach.
- Victoria Hotel, Holmfirth, 21st April, 1856, 5 30 p.m.
- My dear Sir, — I have to acknowledge, with much pleasure and satisfaction, the receipt of your interesting and very friendly letter, written in a truly masonic spirit, although you are not formally a mason. On behalf of the brethren of West Yorkshire, and on my own behalf especially, I have to thank you for your expressions of kindness and sympathy towards the masonic body. We beg to reciprocate this very kindly feeling, and at the same time to thank you most sincerely for the very generous and truly Christian manner in which you have acted towards us, by giving up your church to the brethren on this occasion, and allowing their chaplains to take possession of both pulpit and reading desk. I express our rev. Bros. Fardell and Dr. Senior's opinion and thanks also in alluding to this disinterested act on your part.
- We are much gratified to find that Mrs. Leach still continuce to entertain a lively reminiscence of Freemasonry ; the testimony of that estimable lady to its value leads us to infer from that she may have witnessed to-day that masonry is the same now it was once, and that neither time, locality, nor distance has impaired her appreciation of its excellency. With kind regards to Mrs. Leach, I remain, on behalf of the Provincial Grand Lodge and brethren assembled, and with best wishes for your continued usefulness in your sacred vocation and health, long to enjoy your position in society, your very faithful and much obliged friend and servant,
- C. S. Floyd, P.P.S.G.W.,
- Acting D.P.G.M. of West Yorkshire.
- The Rev. R. E. Leach, Holmfirth Parsonage.
- P.S. — You will readily excuse both the soiled paper and possible illegibility of style, when I tell you I am writing amidst much clatter on a dessert plate.
DINNER AT THE ELEPHANT AND CASTLE INN.
About 60 gentlemen sat down at five o'clock to a dinner provided in commemoration of the event at this hotel. Mr. A. Cuttel, chief constable, occupied the chair, and Mr. James Bates the vice-chair. Dinner was of the most superb and recherche description — the vintage good — and full justice was done to the store of good things provided by the Mrs. Dyson and Miss Waterhouse. For the information of the public in general, and of all gastronomers in particular, we may here remark from an inspection of the bills of faro of the two dinners at the Victoria and Elephant and Castle, it appeared to us that whilst both were got up in first-rate style, doing much credit to the respective hostesses, the palm must be awarded to the latter ; for whilst the freemasons had mock turtle only, the gentlemen had real turtle soup, with such interesting et ceteras as spring chickens, new potatoes, duck and green peas to boot, which we believe did not grace the table of the former. It may after all be a mere prejudice on our part, but it will be a very pardonable one when we mention that we were invited to be partakers of the one dinner, but we were hardly permitted to look at the other, the regulations of the craft not permitting non-members to join them.
After the removal of the cloth, the Chairman gave in succession the toasts of "The Queen," "Prince Albert," and "the rest of the royal family," and "the army and navy."
Mr. G. H. Hinchliffe replied to the last toast. He supposed he must have been called upon to do so because he was the only soldier present. He had not seen much active service himself — but after all that our army and navy had achieved he felt pleased with the compliment paid by the chairman.
The Rev. J. Fearon rose to propose the "Alms-houses, may they long continue as a monument of the nation's liberality and munificence." This was an aspiration that he was sure would meet with a response in every heart present, assembled at that day's festivities. The toast placed in his hands was one that was not unsuitable to his position as a clergyman, as it bore upon the face of it an illustration of that glorious charity originating in the great faith which they all acknowledged, and on which they built their hopes : a faith which was well adapted for spreading itself, and which had given evidence of its capability of spreading itself through every form of society. He was not going to depict the scenes which called forth this munificence of the public. They had all been witnesses of the broad facts before them, and he did think they might ransack the history of all former times in vain to find a parallel to that munificence and liberality — the memorial of which they were about to erect. He felt it to be a proud day for the people of Holmfirth to be enabled, even in the feeble way proposed, to satisfy their hearts desire — for such it must be, by erecting a permanent record of such munificence. Time was when the valley was spread with gloom ; when desolation and dismay was depicted on every countenance ; and surely it was an evidence of the Christianity of the land that might go forth to the honour of the nation to all lands, to know that at such an emergency ample reparation was provided, nay a superfluity as it was thought, so much so, that they were enabled to return the superfluous amount. He could not attempt to express his feelings, but he did most cordially in a spirit of great gratitude to God express his thanks to those who had been instrumental in raising that valley from its lost condition. With that reeling of gratitude which they must all have in their hearts he invited them to join in the toast "The Almshouses, may they long continue a memorial of the nation's liberality and munificence." — Drunk with applause.
J. Moorhouse, Esq., briefly remarked that no doubt the toast he had to propose would meet with their cordial approbation, as it referred to a class of men to whom they were much indebted, and he was glad to see so many of them present. The toast he had to give was, "the bishop and clergymen of this diocese, and the ministers of other denominations."
The Rev. R. E. Leach in responding to the toast said, it was with much pleasure he had accepted the invitation to dine with them. He felt considerable reluctance to make an address, but could not refuse alter the toast just proposed. It had been his lot to have much correspondence with the bishop, who had always shown the utmost interest in the welfare of Holmfirth. His lordship had not confined himself to expressions of kindness, but had shown by his conduct that he really felt for their sufferings. He also declared that he would do something at their approaching bazaar. He (Mr. Leach) had also had considerable correspondence with the clergy in various parts of the kingdom — all of whom sympathised with their sufferings, and declared their readiness to do all they could to relieve the wants of the sufferers. As to the clergymen around him, they were all ready, and he spoke in the presence of one (the Rev. Mr. Fearon) whose heart was ever in the work, and to whom much was due for what he did on that occasion. He was glad that a liberal feeling had been infused into the toast. He was warmly attached to the church — at the same time he was warmly attached to the ministers of other denominations — for they also had done what they could to assist in alleviating the effects of the calamity. This was a day of solemnity and of pleasing recollection — as it would serve to record what ought never to be forgotten — the nation's liberality. He did rejoice that these alms-houses were to be erected as a monument — that they were deeply impressed with the kindness then shown, and were anxious to hand the example down to future generations. After eulogising the masonic body, he concluded by expressing his willingness to aid the cause hereafter by contributing to the bazaar. (Applause.)
The Rev. Mr. Owen, Unitarian minister, returned thanks on behalf of the ministers of other denominations. He said they always rejoiced in aiding every work of charity, benevolence, and kindness — and in every opportunity of manifesting that they prized that charity which was the most distinguishing and blessed feature of Christianity. He fully agreed with all that his reverend friend had said with reference to the calamity — the manifestation of benevolence which it called forth, and the steps they had taken to erect a permanent monument recording their sense of that benevolence. (Hear, hear.) He well remembered the morning subsequent to that fatal day when he first visited that valley, and found it one scene of desolation. He could never forget the heart-sickening sensation which overpowered him. But when he looked back on the event, he could only praise the name of Him who brought good out of evil, and had caused that great calamity to be an opportunity of manifesting such feeling of sympathy and kindness as did honour to all. (Cheers.) They had done well in perpetuating their sense of the spirit then manifested by erecting monumental alms-houses. As had been justly said that morning, all ranks and parties, from the throne to the humblest cottage, had contributed to the relief fund. He was himself the gratifying instrument of conveying a small donation from what might represent one extremity of the social circle — the objects of charity themselves — the Sunday scholars of a school in Bristol. Whilst, therefore, they felt a deep concern and much gloom in the recollection of that sad night, they should still find occasion for thankfulness to Him who had thus made it the occasion of calling forth the kindly sympathies of their nature, manifested in a manner so truly honourable to their age and country. He could only assure them that in every charitable object, and in every object in which the interest of their district was concerned, they would not only find him, but he had no doubt the ministers of every other denomination ready to co-operate most cordially. (Cheers.)
The Vice-chairman said the toast he had to propose would be a bumper — "The health of the magistrates of the district." (Cheers.) One of the magistrates who attended the ceremony that morning would also have been present at the dinner had his health permitted him. (Hear, hear.)
J. Moorhouse, Esq., thanked them for this kind expression, at the same time he must express his regret that ill-health had prevented his worthy colleague from being present.
Mr. James Hinchliffe proposed "The United Committees of Huddersfield and Holmfirth. In so doing he should have to call upon them to look back for a moment on the labours of the committee, in the distribution of the funds entrusted to them by the public. He felt confident that all would award their warmest thanks to the committee for having given great zeal, an immense amount of time and unwearied attention in the discharge of their duties. The fact of the committee having returned 8s. 8d. in the pound was a thing unknown before. He was sure they would all join in drinking the toast proposed. (Cheers.)
Mr. G. Robinson, in responding to the last toast, said he felt himself placed in a rather awkward position. He could have wished that the chairman of the united committee, or some more active member than himself, had been called upon to perform the duty. He thanked them for the honour they had done the committee. They bad been honoured with the presence of one gentleman at that day's ceremonial, whose presence he could also have wished that evening. He meant Mr. Thomas Mallinson, who was the first to commence the clothing department. The very morning of the flood Mr. Mallinson came over to Holmfirth — immediately returned to Huddersfield, and forwarded a large quantity of clothing for the sufferers. He also made an appeal, the result of which was, that an immense quantity of clothing was forwarded to the committee, consisting of 8,300 articles. (Applause.) Had Mr. Mallinson been present they would have shown him that they were thank-fill for his eminent services on that occasion. (Cheers.) Unfortunately, the chairman of the united committee was not present. He (Mr. Robinson) was aware there had been diversities of opinion with reference to the manner in which the immense sum raised bad been disposed of. It was impossible to please every one. The number of applicants, irrespective of the working-classes, was between 400 and 500. It was very possible for the committee to err in judgment ; but if an error, it was only an error of judgment. The committee were anxious to serve the public to the best of their ability. Expressions of dissent and dissatisfaction had been made ; and he did not agree with many acts of the committee ; but he believed every one would admit the immense service the committee had done to the neighbourhood. Perhaps it was an unprecedented circumstance to return 8s. 8d. in the pound, and in some cases 10s. The committee felt that the position of many of the sufferers did not warrant them in making good their claims, or even giving anything under the circumstances ; and of course, they, at Holmfirth, bowed to that decision. He believed that generally speaking, if there had been some dissatisfaction with reference to the conduct of the committee, there had been unbounded satisfaction with reference to the conduct of the public. They were deeply thankful for the manner in which the public had responded to the call. They were not participators in the act of the committee. They gave their money freely, intending that every shilling should be given to the sufferers, and if the committee thought proper to return the money, it was the act of the committee and not of the public. The committee were anxious to do their best for the district — the exertions they made, and the valuable time they spent, proved that they were sincerely actuated by making such great sacrifices. (Applause.)
Mr. G. Tinker proposed "The town and trade of Holmfirth. (Cheers.)
Mr. I. Beardsell had much pleasure in responding to that toast. However much they might feel interested in their alms-houses — their clergy, ministers, and other topics — they must all feel interested in the prosperity of the town and trade of Holmfirth. (Applause.) A good deal of allusion had been made to the calamity of February 5th, 1852. He was sorry to say that although they might speak perhaps rather favourably of the present state of the town and trade of Holmfirth in comparison to what it was sometime ago — yet he was convinced that the calamity of 1852 had materially affected the position of that neighbourhood. He said this deliberately, after making the closest observation and obtaining the best information upon it. He said it advisedly, although they could not but feel grateful to the public for the manner in which they came forward — and never was appeal more nobly responded to, or in a more becoming manner, than that on behalf of Holmfirth. Great duties had devolved upon the united committees of Huddersfield and Holmfirth, which they had performed to the best of their ability, and he thanked them sincerely for the way in which they had performed that duty. Still there was an impression — an almost unanimous feeling — that if the committee had been a little more liberal it might have been better for the neighbourhood. If they took the trade of Holmfirth above Upperbridge and compared the extent of manufacture with what it was before the flood, they would find a material falling off. The manufactures above Upperbridge had been reduced mainly in consequence of that flood, above 25 per cent. If they also examined property they would find that it had been depreciated 20 percent, and in some cases more than 20 percent. The trade had also been lost to the district, and would never be regained in their day and generation. (Oh yes.) He was afraid there was not the least chance of its being regained. Notwithstanding property was to some extent reinstated, it was not reinstated in comparison to its loss — what it had suffered, was suffering, and was likely to suffer for years to come. Trade had considerably revived below Holmfirth where the loss had not been so great, and perhaps there might be much to complain of there.
The Rev. J. Owen, in a speech of some length, proposed "Success and prosperity to the Almshouses." He thought great praise was due to the committee in carrying the design of an appropriate commemoration of the nation's liberality towards the valley of Holmfirth into effect. They had also manifested great taste in the selection of the plan for the building which would prove an architectural ornament to the neighbourhood. He hoped that the liberality of the valley would be manifested in such a way that the committee would have placed at their disposal a sum which would secure a sufficient pittance for those who should dwell within the building. There could be no more appropriate manner of commemorating the return of peace. (Applause.)
Sir. G. Robinson, as secretary of the committee, responded to the toast. The committee and its objects had had many phases. At first the erection of some commanding pillar was proposed ; then the proposition assumed the more useful shape of a dispensary ; but, there being an excellent institution of that kind at Huddersfield, this also was abandoned. Lastly, monumental alms-houses were suggested, and approved. At first, seven were proposed, being one for each township injured by the flood, instead of five, as now decided upon. After the first appointment of trustees, all future trustees will be elected by the ratepayers in each township, and those trustees would have the gift of the charity to deserving persons. If they would permit him, he would say that he, and every other member of the committee, felt that they were deeply indebted to a gentleman now no more, but who rendered great services at the time of the flood — he alluded to W. Leigh Brook, Esq. There was not one gentleman in that company who did not entertain a lively sense of the services rendered by him during the time he was senior magistrate in that neighbourhood. A hope was entertained of immense benefits to be derived from him hereafter, but unfortunately his life was suddenly cut off, and in him the neighbourhood sustained a serious loss. He could not sit down without paying a tribute to the services of that gentlemen. He thanked them for the honour they had done the committee, and assured the meeting that nothing should be wanting on the part of the committee to give practical efficiency to the alms-houses. (Applause.)
The Rev. E. Baggott proposed "the ladies" and adverted to the exertions being made by the ladies to further the endowment of the alms-houses by holding a bazaar for that object.
Mr. Thomas Farrar returned thanks on their behalf.
"The Masons," and other complimentary toasts followed, and the meeting separated at an early hour.