Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (03/Jul/1852) - Deanhouse: Serious Riot at a Mill

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.



Serious Riot at a Mill.

On Monday last, a scene was enacted at the Deanhouse Mill, such as is not of every-day occurrence, and one which will not soon be forgot by those who witnessed it. Before describing the affray, it will be as well to state the cause of it. It appears that Messrs. John Heap & Sons, of New Hagg, occupied the top room in the mill, in which they had some spinning-mules, and these mules they wanted to remove to the Smithy-place Mill. To this end they had given legal notice of removal to Messrs. Haigh Brothers, of Deanhouse Mill, and the time would have been out on the Wednesday following. On the Monday, therefore the mules were taken down for the purpose of being removed, and the question arose, in what way could they be got out of the mill with least trouble or damage being done to them. It is well known that mules are long unwieldy machines, and that they are often got in or out of mills through an end window of the room in which they are to stand. This had been the case in getting in the mules under notice, and it was very properly suggested that it would be the best way to get them out again. It must be observed, in passing, that this mill or rather a part of it, is not much higher than the ground behind it, being built under a large bank to secure a “fall” for the water power ; that on the front side it is several storeys from the ground ; that the western gable it four storeys from the ground ; and that the mules would have to be taken out either from that end of the building or at the eastern end, where the mill is a floor lower, and where the roof, or a part of it, is not far from the ground. Thus, then, the Messrs. Heap wished to take their machines out the same way they had been taken in, seeing that it would be attended with the least trouble or damage, either to the machines or the premises, and whatever damage should be done to the latter they would make it up to the last penny. However, to this proposal Mr. Wm. Haigh refused to agree, and ordered the mill-hands to resist any attempt to remove the mules that way. The Messrs. Heap still continued to reason with him, wishing to remove their mules without annoyance from his men, and would do so in the most careful manner, and make all right. But still Mr. Haigh, for some reason, remained inflexible, and it was evident that force would have to be resorted to, which was eventually the case, and a serious affray ensued. By this time there were many persons assembled at the place. Mr. Haigh ordered his men to mount the roof behind the mill, and to strike down the first man who attempted to ascend. In the meantime the Messrs, Heap had consulted their legal adviser, who said they would he justified in taking the mules out at the same place where they were put in, and making good the damages occasioned by so doing. The mill party were armed with sticks, pieces of iron, and other weapons, and in battle array on the roof. But the Heaps are not of a temper to give up a victory without a struggle ; and after reasoning had failed, Mr. Mark Heaps led on his men to the charge, and ascended the roof, but was repulsed and driven back by the mill party, Mr. Heap being knocked off at a place where he had twelve or fifteen feet to fall, and was wounded on the head. Nothing daunted, they returned to the charge, and were again driven from the ramparts, blood beginning to show itself from several heads, and the fracas to assume a serious aspect The besiegers again renewed the assault again scaled the roof, and were again unsuccessful ; the mill party striking with their weapons most unmercifully, and victory seemed to be in their favour, which caused the bystanders on their side to shout vociferously. At this juncture Mr. Mark Heap was rallying and exhorting his men to return again to the charge, when Mr. Tom Dyson tippled him "neck and crop int the mill-dam close at hand." This rather heated than cooled his courage, and and on getting out he saw a quantity of broken bricks, and it struck him they would be exceedingly useful against the citadel, and he called out lustily "Brick 'em, lads — Brick 'em." "No sooner said than done," and immediately a volley of brick-bats were showered upon the fortress, which did terrible execution, and sundry broken heads was the effect. The mill party were now in a perilous position ; they dare not retreat to the side of the roof nearest the road, in that case life would have been in great danger ; there was, therefore, no resource but to abide the issue of another "brick 'em," which had the desired effect in bringing them to terra firma, when several got a good ducking in the dam, in addition to being severely wounded by the missiles cast at them. Thus the Heaps obtained a complete victory, and took their machinery away without further annoyance. Doctors, of course, were speedily in requisition, and many had to go with their severe cuts to be examined and attended to. Thus ended this awkward affair, which surely ought not to have occurred. Since the above was written, we have learnt from Mr. Haigh himself, that he gave Mr. Mark Heap a written notice not to remove the mules out at the eastern window, on account of the dangerous state of the roof below ; that he might remove them by the doorway, or at the western window. But Mr. Heap would do no way but his own, and that he did not offer to make up any damages ; and, moreover, that he (Mr. Heap) did not ask what way he should take them out, neither would he hearken to any reasoning whatever on the subject ; and, finally, that he (Mr. Haigh), from the furious threatening of the Heap party, had to run for his life. In all probability, this unpleasant affair will have to find employment for the gentlemen of the long robe.