Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (07/Feb/1852) - Awful Calamity at Holmfirth
The following are selected items relating to the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 from this issue.
In general, spellings of places and names have been left as originally printed, even if inaccurate. Text that was difficult to read is shown within square brackets and may not be accurate.
THE LATE DISASTROUS FLOOD.
It is our melancholy duty, this week, to record one of the most appalling catastrophes that was ever known in any part of this island; the particulars give an awful solemnity to columns. The value of the property destroyed by the flood is not yet fully known; we believe it will amount to some hundreds of thousands sterling; but this, though it will be productive of much suffering, is a trifle compared with the fearful loss of life attending this disastrous event. Nearly one hundred of our neighbours, of various ages, and of both sexes, have been hurried into eternity, almost without a moment’s warning. Most of these were sleeping in their beds when the mighty and unexpected rush of water swept away themselves, and their houses, at “one fell swoop;” several entire families thus disappeared in a moment, and were at once numbered with the dead. To the surviving relatives of these unfortunate persons we accord our deepest sympathy; their loss is indeed irreparable. Nothing can recall life, or replace its loss, but some alleviation may be afforded to the surviving sufferers, and we hope that the most strenuous endeavours will be made, by a sympathising public, to give ample and immediate relief.
This calamity is one which will have the effect of throwing vast numbers out of employment, as one large mill (Digley) has been completely destroyed, and several have been greatly damaged. It will require a great outlay of capital to restore these mills to the condition in which they were previous to the flood, and a considerable time must elapse before they can resume work, during which many families will be in a state of comparative or absolute destitution.
We would recommend that subscriptions should be commenced in every part of England, for we fear that all the efforts which may be put forth will be inadequate to meet the want caused by this unforeseen and most terrible occurrence. We are glad to learn that a Public Meeting will be held this evening at the Town Hall, Holmfirth, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best means of affording succour on this occasion.
It gives us much pleasure to state that a gentleman — a friend of ours — has placed in our hands £5, on behalf of those who have been deprived of the means of livelihood. The letter accompanying the gift we publish in another portion of our paper. We hope many will “do likewise.” We need not add anything to show that charity here cannot easily be misplaced. To the wealthy we would respectfully say in the language of Holy Writ, “freely ye have received, freely give.” We believe there exists no necessity for any urgent appeal from us to our immediate neighbours. The spectacle of desolation and ruin before their eyes speaks with a pathos deeper than words can embody; but we would hope that parties residing at a distance will listen to the wail of the helpless, as conveyed — though feebly — in our “tale of woe,” and contribute of their substance to the relief of their unfortunate fellow creatures.
AWFUL CALAMITY AT HOLMFIRTH.
BURSTING OF BILBERRY RESERVOIR FEARFUL LOSS OF LIFE AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
We have this week to record one of the most awful and heart rending, catastrophes that has occurred in this kingdom;— we know of no similar calamity in the annals of this country — the suddenness and the awfulness of which have struck terror to the heart of the bravest, and blanched the cheek of the most indifferent: such a scene of ruin and devastation we never witnessed, and have no desire to see again;— houses, mills, &c, &c, swept away like chaff leaving not even a wreck behind. Whole families, who retired to rest at night, were swept into eternity in a moment; in many instances not a single member of a whole family left behind to tell the tale of horror which burst upon them in the dead hour of night The utter ruin of very many families, which, a few hours previous, could boast of a competency, the number of work-people thrown out of employment present such a fearful scene of misery that sickens the heart to reflect upon.
We will endeavour to give as minute and correct account as we have been enabled to collect from personal observation, and from other sources of information.
Holmfirth, as most of our readers are aware, is a large and populous village, situate in the valley of Holme, and its appearance is calculated to impress the mind as one of rugged grandeur. The village itself lies chiefly in a valley enclosed on three sides by high hills; the gulley through which the river Holme runs is very narrow. The river passes through the centre of the village: mills and factories abound on the banks of this stream, and a perfect hive of industry this valley has been for many years; in fact, we question whether a district so rich in wealth and industry could be found in the United Kingdom as this vale was on Wednesday, all of which now lies in utter ruin. Immediately behind Holmfirth rises the majestic range of hills — Holme Moss — one of the continuous chain which has obtained the name of “The Back-bone of Old England.” Here, in the deep ravines, have been collected the waters which ran down the hill side, and thence conveyed into vast reservoirs, formed to supply the factories and mills with water during the dry weather. One of these, called the Bilberry Reservoir, situated in a deep gorge above Digley, about two miles S.W. of Holmfirth, was of a very extensive character, covering when full no less a space than eleven acres, which gives 479,160 feet, and averaging the depth at thirty feet (it is eighty-six feet deep at the deepest point), gives an amount of water, when the catastrophe occurred, of not less than eighty-six million, two hundred and forty-eight thousand, eight hundred gallons, or the enormous and fearful amount of three hundred thousand tons weight of water. Thus a faint idea may be formed of the mighty mast of this destructive element let loose, in one to uncontrolled and irresistible power, scattering death and havoc on every side.
On Wednesday last, the 4th inst, a heavy and continuous fall of rain took place during the whole day, which filled the reservoir very rapidly, and from what we can gather, this reservoir has been considered unsafe for a long period. How far this may be correct we shall be enabled to judge better as our narrative progresses. On Sunday last fears as to its safety were expressed, and attempts made to work the valves for ejecting the too but accumulating water; but from some unexplained cause the valves were found out of order, and did not work. In fact, they were perfectly useless. To whom the duty belonged we know not but we are given to understand that a commit-tee had the management of them. We also understand that some £1,500 had been expended about three years ago to remedy the defect, but that the object had not been accomplished. Be this as it may, we doubt not that a most rigid investigation will be instituted, which public justice demands, and that it may be placed in its proper hearing, so that blame may not attach itself where it is not merited.
We have also to notice, what to us was perfectly a mystery, there in built near the front of the reservoir, the byewash, supposed to be constructed to take away the superfluous collection of water, on examination we found the mouth of the same considerably above the embankment of the reservoir — consequently totally unable, and utterly worthless for the object for which it was built.
As we have before stated, there was a heavy and continuous fall of rain during the whole of Wednesday, and fears were entertained that the reservoir would burst its banks. On Wednesday it was seen to rise very rapidly, for at six o’clock in the evening it bad risen to within eight feet of the top of the embankment; at nine o’clock it was only two feet; and at twelve o’clock at midnight it washed over; at first gently, but at the same time it was noticed that a current had made its way under the embankment, in the very bed of the river, the place which had been considered unsafe, and which had received the repairs before spoken of. The valves were useless, and hence the mighty mass of waters had no outlet, — nothing to take away the increasing torrents, and at ten minutes after one o’clock in the morning the front of the reservoir gave way with a crash that no language can possibly describe. On went the mighty torrent; the first obstacle in its progress being Bilberry Mill, occupied by Mr. Broadhead, but, being to a certain extent sheltered, it did not sweep the building clean away, but destroyed a cottage and about three yards of the mill, leaving the whole in a state of ruin, sweeping away a large quantity of machinery. Happily, Charles Battye and family had left the night previous, fearing the consequences; also Mr. Roebuck, who had a considerable amount of pieces, had had them all removed during the evening — thus evidencing that he considered there was imminent danger. About 20 workpeople are here thrown out of employment. The next object was Bilberry Bridge, a good substantial stone-built structure, swept away, and not a vestige left. Here the valley expands, and the bed of the river is turned completely out of its course. The fields for a vast extent are covered with stones and sand a yard deep. Next was a cottage, which escaped with one corner being swept away; Upper Digley Mills escaping with a comparative trifling loss. Next comes Upper Digley Bridge, also built of stone: this is completely swept away, leaving not even a trace that ever such existed. Next comes Digley, which is built in a truly romantic situation. Here the valley contracts itself into a deep and narrow gorge. In this deep and narrow ravine, Messrs. Hirst had built an extensive and compact establishment, the mill or factory reaching across the valley, along one side of which ran the sheds, dry-houses, weaving sheds, dye-house, and other outbuildings. Immediately behind the mill stood the mansion. Some faint idea may be formed of this establishment from the feet that the main building alone was 60 yards square, and four stories high. Upwards of 100 workpeople were employed here. Alongside were nine cottages, occupied by the men in the employ of Mrs. Hirst.
As we before stated the valley here narrows itself, and the principal mill formed a barter across the river. On came the water, and such was the power that it swept away mansion, mill, dye-house, out-buildings, and nine cottages, in fact, with the single exception of the chimney, not a vestage of that noble property remains to tell the sad tale of its utter destruction. Mrs. Hirst has lost everything, not having had time to save even the books. We were informed that they had a very considerable sum of money by them, all of which was swept away along with four cows and one horse; happily no lives were lost: one poor man, named James Wood, having a narrow escape, being confined to his bed: in the hurry of the moment he was forgot, but ultimately he was rescued, the men having to risk their lives to save him.
From the best authority, we are justified in stating the loss sustained by this family alone will not be less than £22,000. Immediately below the valley opens out, and it presents an awful spectacle — furniture, machinery, goods of every description, scattered in the woods and fields, on all sides. Next was Roebuck’s mill, which escaped with the loss of one corner of the building, and the destruction of the greater portion of the machinery, with the stove, which is completely gone. About forty workpeople are thrown out of employment. Holmbridge was the next object that presented itself; the bridge, with the exception of one arch, is completely gone. The church has escaped with little damage; the walls surrounding the burial-ground have been carried away, the grounds laid waste. The valley here is very wide, so that the mighty mass of waters spread out, and from this fact only, the church escaped being swept away. Just below, the valley again narrows.
Now we come to one of the most fearful and deplorable parts of our sad task, to record the fearful loss of life at a village, called Hinchliffe Mill. Here the alarm was given, but all being asleep, and the flood coming with such terrific haste, no time was given to escape; and in one street, called Watergate, six houses were in a moment swept away, carrying with them the unfortunate inmates at one fell swoop. In this small village not lets than forty-two lives have been lost.
We are unable, at present, to give the history of all these unfortunate individuals. Many of the bodies were washed down the river. Seven bodies were recovered, and are now laid at the New Inn. Their names are James Booth, Nancy Booth, (wife of the preceding,) William Healey, (a lodger,) Lydia Brook, Hannah Brook, (her daughter,) Elizabeth Todd, and a little girl, not yet recognised, but through not be the child of a poor man, who with his wife were swept down the river and lost. Joseph Brook, the husband of the above named Lydia Brook, escaped by the lobby, thinking his wife and children were before him; but on discovering they were not, he attempted to reach them but was unable, and they perished before his sight. The loss of life and property here is very great indeed, and of which we are totally unable to convey the faintest idea. Here a young man named James Mettrick had a narrow escape, the waters carrying him on a portion of the bed into the dam of Bottoms Mill. He fortunately floated near a tree, to which he clung for several hours, when he was rescued. The havoc is beyond description. In one house along, occupied by Jonathan Crosland, nine lives have been lost, including that of a lodger: not one escaped. The mill escaped with less damage than could have been conceived, judging from the position in which it stands: the engine-house and its contents, barn, stables, haystacks, and cattle of Mr. Bower, have, however, been entirely swept away: also Hinchliffe Mill Bridge was totally destroyed. Next comes Bottoms Mill, which has sustained very considerable damage; but here, we rejoice to say, no lives were lost, though the inmates of three cottages had a very narrow escape from death; the alarm having been given, the inmates of the house nearest the river, seeing the danger, burst though the parpoint walls, and got into the house farthest off, where a ladder was got and placed against the chamber window, from which all the inmates succeed in escaping; but scarcely had they reached the road when the whole pile fell with a loud crash, and was swept away by the relentless torrent. We have also to record the most providential escape of five workmen. It is usual for the fulling millers to sleep in the mills, and in this mill there were five, who were aroused from their sleep by the loud noise and crushing of machinery: they rushed up stairs, and succeeded in climbing up amongst the rafters; but even here they were pursued by the waters, and for upwards of an hour they were nearly covered, but after that time the water subsided, and they all escaped. Here was also a temporary wood bridge, but now nothing remains.
Next comes Sandford’s Mill. Here, we regret to say, the inmates were unconscious of the danger that was fast approaching them, and, in the midst of sleep, Mr. Sandford and two children, aged, respectively, twelve and five years, along with the housekeeper were swept into eternity, none being left to tell the tale of horror. Here also much damage has been sustained; the dwelling-house swept away, and much injury done to the machinery, &c.; Sandford Bridge also destroyed. Victoria Mill, which stands near, has escaped with comparatively little loss. Farrar’s Upper Mill was the next: here, as above, the loss is smaller than its situation would have warranted us to expect, yet the loss of property here is great. The dye-house, bath-house, &c, are completely swept away, together with a vast quantity of wool and other material, the engine-house being a total wreck, scribbling and other machinery broken and utterly spoiled. In truth we may say that from Bilberry to this place never was seen such a scene of devastation, ― machinery, furniture, cattle, &c., scattered on every side; the fences washed away; and the whole presenting a picture of desolation and misery that is truly painful to gaze upon, and which none can realise but from an actual visit, and even then the mind can hardly conceive the amount of ruin that presents itself to the eye, such destruction visible on every side.
About a hundred yards down the stream stands Farrar’s Lower Mill. The boiler here was torn away, and part of the steam-engine was also carried off. The water entered the lower rooms of the mill, and very great must be the amount of damage sustained.
At Scarfold, where there were about a dozen houses the water rushed into the lower rooms and chambers, and a person of the name of Hellawell had five of his children borne away with the flood. Two children also belonging to a person named Richard Woodcock were carried away, but the rest of the family were rescued from their perilous position by the exertions of the neighbours, who succeeded in getting them through the top of the house.
The wife of Woodcock, and two of the children, had a very narrow escape From the account furnished us it appears that Woodcock was apprehensive of danger before the flood came, and went up the Scar Fold to the new road leading from Upperbridge to Hinchliffe Mill, whilst there he heard the alarm given; he immediately rushed back to fetch his family, he seized two of his children and urged his wife to fly for her life, she said if she could not save her other children she would perish with them. The water was now almost up to the waist of Woodcock, as he ran up the steps, and a son of his following close at his feels was carried away. His house door gave way, and he supposed his wife and children had gone down with the flood. He was however anxious to see if anything could be done to reach them, if they should he still alive. A hole was immediately made through the door above the house, and Mrs. Woodcock was discovered standing upon a ladder, holding up two of her children above the surface of the water, which had reached her shoulders; the bottom of the ladder rested on a small portion of the door which remained of the wreck, and by this slight circumstance three lives were saved, as they were immediately drawn up and placed in security.
Two houses which stood at one end of Upperbridge are almost destroyed; one which was in the occupancy of Mr. Anor Bailey, tailor, was swept away entirely, and his wife and two children were carried away by the flood. Bailey himself was thrown out into a field at the back of his house, and fortunately escaped without any serious injury. The other house was occupied by Mr. John Hepworth, a shoemaker, who, with is family, consisting of six or seven children, all escaped. The house, however, is a complete wreck, and the furniture and work-tools are entirely destroyed. The Elephant and Castle Inn, occupied by Mrs. Kippax, and a butcher’s shop and house, belonging to Mr. Henry Bowers, together with a dwelling-house and shop, occupied by two sisters, named B. and E. Woodhead, were flooded; the water rushed into the rooms, and the inmates finding that escape either through the front or back door was impossible, went up into the garret, and there stayed until the flood had subsided. Near to Woodheads’ is Henry Swires, clogger, who has sustained damage to the amount of £30 or £40. In this neighbourhood is the shop of Mr. McClellan, bookseller and tea dealer; the water forced its way into his shop, and goods have been damaged to the amount of at least £400.
About 50 yards below Upperbridge, stood the Hollow-gate Toll Bar, with a house attached, which was swent away with all its inmates, consisting of S. Greenwood, his wife, and a little girl, their niece. A few yards below this place stood a currier’s shop, and connected with the shop a dwelling house, occupied by Mr. John Ashall, who attended to the leather business for Mr. S. Crawshaw, of Dewsbury. Ashall, his wife, and a child about a half old, were observed standing at the windows by their neighbours, and crying out for help. Immediately after, the house was carried away by the torrent. Next to Ashall’s house was one occupied by John Kaye, Matthew Fearns, his wife, and two children. The wife and children were swept away, but Fearns himself escaped. Kaye was carried across the street into the Ribble water course, close to the Rose and Crown Inn, and was observed by Mr. Boothroyd, the landlord, and some other persons that were with him in the house. They got a long pole, a kind of flag-staff, and held it out to Kaye, who laid hold of one end, and he was ultimately dragged, in safety, into the parlour window, at the lower part of the house. Near to Kaye’s house was a shop, occupied by Henry Firth, grocer and provision dealer; at the end of the shop was a place for green groceries, in the occupancy of Abel Hoyle, the whole of this row of houses and shops was completely swept away, leaving not a vestige behind, and the water now flows over the spot where they recently stood.
At a place called Rocher, a great amount of damage was done. In one house, occupied by James Lee, and old man, aged 65 years, were his daughter, and her husband, and one of Mr. Lee’s own sons, who all slept in the house. The son, who slept in a lower room with the old man, perceiving the water rushing into the lower part of the house, partially succeeded in breaking open the chamber door, through which aperture the persons inside managed to drag him. During this time the house was rapidly filling with water, and the old man, James Lee, was unable to make his way to the chamber door, and was drowned almost instantly. All the houses in Rocher were completely flooded; but the exact amount of damage to which cannot yet be correctly ascertained; but, with the exception of Lee, fortunately no lives were lost. A butcher’s shop, in the occupancy of Mr. Jonathan Butterworth, has been destroyed. A house also, occupied by Mr. Balmforth, suffered severely. On the opposite bank, a dye-house, a stove, a barn, and other outbuildings, belonging to J. P. Moorhouse, Esq., J.P., are all destroyed. That gentleman, together with his family, were roused from sleep by the water rushing into the house, and effected their escape by breaking through the house into the office of Mr. H. Booth, solicitor. The lower part of Mr. Moorhouse’s house was filled with water, and the furniture, &c., sustained great damage. Adjoining the dwelling occupied by Mr. Moorhouse is a house occupied by Mr. T. Silverwood, which was also flooded. A boy named Wadsworth, about fourteen years of age, floated on the surface of the water an hour before he could be reached, but he was ultimately rescued from a watery grave. The shop and house next to Mr. Silverwood’s are occupied by Mr. Samuel Wimpenny, grocer, in which he kept a great portion of his stock, are destroyed, the goods washed away, and damage to the extent of about £200 has been done. Here, at a quarter before two o’clock in the morning, a man, whose name we have not learned, rendered frantic by the loss of some of his relatives, was observed in the road, tearing his hair, and shouting that “his family were lost.” Mr. Wimpenny and his family escaped unhurt. Parties inhabiting the town [..cher?] went to the house of Mr. John Wimpenny, and other houses in the neighbourhood of [Cock?] Green, where they found shelter. About twenty persons, chiefly ladies, were seen on the road in their night-dresses, making their way to the houses of friends on the hill side, called North Terrace and Carr House: some were going to other places leading to a village called Hill.
On the south-west end of Victoria Bridge is a row of new shops, called Victoria-street, where a large amount of damage has been sustained. Mr. Harrison, who occupied a shop farthest from the water, has suffered scarcely any damage. His neighbour, Mr. Lawson, tinner, has sustained damage to the amount of betwixt £100 and £200. The next shop is one that has recently been opened by Mr. Bocock, as a grocery establishment, where a great amount of damage has been done. The next shop was recently occupied by Mr. Geo. Dawson, bankrupt, and was to have been re-opened next Monday by Mr. Edward Williamson, a young man who lately was an apprentice with Mr. Walter, draper, now of Manchester, but late of Holmfirth. Williamson had got most of his goods in the shop, and these are nearly all rendered useless, so that the damage is not less than [£600?]. He was sleeping along in the house during the night, and was aroused by a tremendous rushing noise of water. He immediately jumped out of bed, saw the flood nearly up to the chamber window, dressed himself, but saw no way of escape behind. He heard the shop floor underneath him give way; he got out of the window on the ledge above the shop, and walked along it a short distance; and from this ledge he jumped on to a bag of wool which had been washed on to the road, and there he stood until the water subsided a little, and allowed him to escape. The next shop to Mr. Williamson’s is that of Mr. T. Dyson, druggist, whose house was flooded, but the damage done is not so great as at some other places; his loss will be about £50. This gentleman said to us that he saw no way of escape for himself and children, either at the front or back of the house, and they were oblidged to remain in the upper rooms; the house rocked fearfully, and the intense anxiety of the moment can only be understood by those who felt it. The next shop belongs to Mr. John Hargreaves, boot and shoemaker; the damage here is very great, and will amount to at least [£500?]. Adjoining Mr. Hargreaves’ shop is that of Mr. Gutteridge, confectioner, who has sustained damage to the amount of [£250?]. Next to this is Mr. Joshua Woodcock’s, the house nearest the water-course, and the damage is very considerable here ― at least £700. The family were aroused by the noise of the water, which completely surrounded them, and during the height of the flood every moment they expected the house being earned away. The bridge, however at the end of which the house stands, stood firm, the battlements only being carried away: and to this circumstance is attributed the comparative safety of Mr. Woodcock’s house and shop. At the opposite end of the bridge stood the house of Mr. Chas. Marples, which has been destroyed: the inmates escaped through the roof. Next to this were the residence and shop of Mr. William Martin, jeweller, who had a very valuable stock of jewellery, watches, &c., the whole of which, with the exception of some watches, was completely swept away, so that not even a remnant of it is left. The next shop is that of Mr. James Whiteley, boot and shoemaker; the back part of whose house, as well as Mr. Marple’s and Mr. Martin’s, was washed away. Whiteley’s family went up into the highest room in the house, which is four stones high; from this room they clambered on to the roof, and were ultimately rescued by means of a ladder, which was procured for them by the people in the street. Mr. Whiteley informs us that his loss will be at least from £1100 to £1200. Money that he had with him in the house, as well as the goods in his shops, were carried along with the flood. This gentleman told us that he heard the screams of several parties as they passed the house in the water. On the opposite side of the street to Martin’s and Whiteley’s is the grocery and drapery establishment belonging to Mr. Alfred Wood, into which the water broke with great force, and spoiled a considerable portion of the stock. We were in the shop on the morning of the disaster, and saw the drapery goods, many of which were completely imbedded in mud. Valuable shawls and other articles of drapery are entirely spoiled. The contents of the lower warehouse, consisting or grocery goods were almost entirely spoiled. The loss is estimated at from £1,500 to £2,000. Next to Mr. Wood’s is Mr Blakey’s drapery establishment, where several hundreds of pounds damage has been done. In this neighbourhood also the valuable stock (the amount of which we have not yet heard) of Mr. Watson, druggist, has been all destroyed. Nearest to this is the Shoulder of Mutton Inn, kept by Mr. James Haigh; the lower rooms of the house were filled with water, the kitchen in particular, was full to the ceiling. The inmates were in the upper rooms. Mr. Haigh and a sister of his were looking out of the window when the flood was at its height, and observed a woman borne along on the water throwing up her arms and calling for help, but none could be afforded. As the cellars were completely filled, the amount of damage here could not be ascertained. A few yards from Haigh’s is Mr. Garside’s ironmongery shop, where the damage is about £200. Several shops in this neighbourhood, occupied by Mr. Johnson, tinner, Mr. S. Woodhead, boot and shoemaker, &c., have suffered severely, but not to the extent of those we have mentioned.
Mr. J. Boothroyd, draper, Chapel Yard, has sustained a loss of at least £250. The water in the street, where the church stands, would be about nine or ten feet deep. One of the large stone pillars, at the entrance of the church-yard, has been displaced. The houses in the neighbourhood of the church are very much crowded together. Mr. Samuel Woodhead’s house, with several others, in this part of the town, were all filled with water in the lower rooms. At the house of Mr. William Cartwright, the Jolly Hatters Arms Inn, the water covered the whole of the lower rooms; but Mr. Cartwright cannot speak as yet to the amount of damage he has sustained. Mr. Francis Vero, hatter, estimates his damage at about £100 at least. The shop adjoining this, occupied by Mr. Elliott Brown, boot and shoe maker, which had an upper room was completely swept away, with the whole of the stock. On the opposite side of the street from the water-course, stands the shop of Mr. Francis Gutteridge, confectioner, which was filled with water, and all the goods were spoiled. A pig, also belonging to him, was washed away from the back part of the premises. Next to this is Mr. Dyson’s (tinner) shop and house, where some damage has been done, but only to a very trifling amount, about £20 being the estimated loss. Then comes Mr. Gledhill’s grocery and corn warehouse. The bottom of the shop was filled with sacks of corn, to the amount of £50, which had been bought in only a few days previous; there is also another room which was filled with sugar, &c.; the whole of the goods are very much damaged, and the loss is estimated at £100. A few yards from here is the White Hart Inn, kept by Mr. W. Dyson, who deserves great praise for the efforts which he made to rescue various persons whom he saw in peril in the neighbourhood of his house. He informs us that he expressed his fears about six or seven o’clock on Wednesday evening to three churchwardens, Messrs. Hinchliffe, Bardsley, and Haigh, who were in his house, that there was something wrong, as the water came down in much greater abundance than was usual in very heavy rains. But several parties from the Holmfirth Mill called at the house later on in the evening, and stated that the water had settled and gone down about a foot, which tended to allay the fears of the neighbours to a considerable extent. Mr. and Mrs. Dyson retired to rest about twelve o’clock, and not long after Mr. Dyson was awoke by his wife, who told him that Holmfirth was in a flood. They then arose and roused the whole of the people in the house. Opposite the While Hart stood a house in which Mr. James Shackleton and daughter resided. Mr. Dyson ran across the street, urging Mr. Shackleton to fly for his life, and seizing Miss Shackleton, carried her into his own house. There was no time afforded these parties to save anything, they were compelled to escape in their night-clothes; part of the house was carried away.
A little behind Mr. Shackleton’s house, and separated from it by a narrow dam, belonging to the Holmfirth Mill, stood a row of houses, on a place called Mill Hill. The first house was occupied by Mr. John Tate, his wife and child. When the inmates saw the water rising around them, they began to devise means of escape. Having some large wooden boxes in their possession, they hoped they might be able to float in these until rescued by their neighbours. Mrs. Tate got into one of these, but it was found altogether useless, and escape now seemed almost hopeless. Mr. Dyson, observing Mrs. Tate, told her to attempt to leave the falling houses, this she refused to do, unless she could carry her child along with her; he replied the living must be saved, and he immediately took hold of her, and by main force brought her into his house. A search for the child was immediately commenced and was soon successful: Mr. Beeley, surgeon, was at once sent for, and bestowed every attention upon the little girl, who we are happy to state, is likely to recover. The house next to that of Mr. Tate was tenanted by Mr. Richard Shackleton, joiner, (son of Mr. James Shackleton) his wife and three children; the building with all its inmates were carried away by the flood. The house next to Shackleton’s was occupied by Mr. Sidney Hartley, engineer, at Holmfirth Mill, in the occupancy of Messrs. Nathan Thewlis and Co. In this house were Mr. and Mrs. Hartley and eight children, with an apprentice boy named Henry Dearnley. Mr. and Mrs. Hartley with five of the children were drowned; the rest were saved principally through the exertions of Mr. Hartley himself, who tried hard to rescue the whole of his family. We have heard that he had conveyed two or three of his children who had got on to the roof of the house into the mill, and was making an effort to save some more, when unfortunately he was carried away. The names of the children saved are, David Hartley, the eldest son, a young man, about 20 years of age, John, a younger brother, and Ann, a sister, and also the boy who was living in the house at the time. David informs us that when they were in bed early in the morning, they heard a noise as if the slates were falling off the house, and he got up and cleared away a number of states, so that he was able to get on to the “thack”, he then pulled his sister Ann, who is about eleven or twelve years of age up beside him; after that he managed to get John, his brother, up, and also the apprentice boy. He tried long to pull another brother up, but was obliged to give up the attempt, or they would both have been dragged down together. They could see into the chamber where the mother was lying; but it was impossible to reach her, the water had risen so high. A short time before Mrs. Hartley was carried away; they saw her look towards them, and heard her say “Farewell.” The bodies of the mother and two of the children were found about three o’clock in the morning near to Smithy Place. David Hartley says that while he and the other children were standing on the roof of the house, they saw many persons with their heads a little above the water, struggling and crying for help. The surviving members of the Hartley family received every attention at the mill, where they were kept as warm and as comfortable as possible until there were removed to a neighbour’s house. A female named Hannah Crosland was observed quite dead not far from Mr. Dyson’s, fastened up against a house end by means of some pieces of wood by which she had been driven there, and was held up. Through the exertions of Mr. Dyson and Mr. J. Morton, the body was released from that position, and removed into the White Hart, where along with some others it now is. The house adjoining the White Hart, occupied by Mr. George Haigh, together with the furniture, has received great damage, the whole of the furniture in the lower rooms being broken to pieces, and all the doors have been destroyed. Mr. Joseph Whiteley, boot and shoemaker, estimates his loss at £120. Next to this house are those of Mr. Joshua Mosley, broker, and Mr. Bailey, tailor, which have suffered very severely. Mr. Charles Taylor, draper, has had goods that were in his warehouse damaged to the amount of between £200 and £300. The inmates of this house was aroused about a quarter to two o’clock; but beyond the loss we have named no other damage appears to have been done on the premises. A little higher up the street on the opposite side, is the George and Dragon Inn, occupied by Mr. William Howe. The water rushed into the lower part of this house with such a tremendous force, that the cellar arch gave way, causing some of the upper walls to shrink considerably. The amount of damage is estimate at several hundred pounds. Mr. Howe, the children, and a man named James Hirst, were sleeping up stairs. Miss Rogers, sister-in-law to Mr. Howe, was down stairs, but had not gone to bed. When the water was coming in the the lower storey, James Hirst got hold of Miss Rogers, who was in a critical position, and dragged her up stairs into the chamber, and immediately after the lower rooms were filled with water to the height of about seven feet. Adjoining the house of Mr. Howe was a butcher’s shop, in the occupancy of Mr. Richard Birks, the greater part of which was carried away by the flood, as was also a stable that joined up to it.
The Friendship Inn, occupied by Mr. John Bower, is also in a sad state, and the loss of goods is about [£20?]. In a yard down the road leading to the Holmfirth Mill, is a chandler’s shop belonging to Mr. Samuel Wimpenny, the whole of the lower storey was filled with water, but no great damage was done here, as there was not anything of much value in the building. Opposite this shop was a house occupied by John Rowebottom, fulling miller, wife and family; all the persons escaped, but the furniture is almost entirely destroyed, and the house itself much damaged. A little below the chandler’s shop, nearer the river, was a blue dyehouse, in the occupancy of Messrs. John Roberts and Sons. This building which was a large one, was washed completely down, and the damage sustained must be very considerable. The house in which Mr. Roberts, the senior partner of the firm, resided, stood close to the dyehouse; it has been forced in, in different places; the north east gable end has been entirely carried away. The family, however, are all saved, they having remained in the upper rooms of that end of the house which was left standing until the water subsided sufficiently to allow them to seek shelter elsewhere.
In this part of the town is Holmfirth Mill, occupied by Messrs. Nathan Thewlis & Co. This place has sustained immense damage, but it is impossible yet to ascertain the full amount. In the lowest room, where the fulling stocks and scouring machines are, there was a large quantity of cloth, belonging to various parties. One or the machines has been completely overturned by the force of the torrent; and a great deal of refuse matter has been forced through the lower windows. On Thursday, two dead bodies, which had been borne in by the stream, were removed from this room to a neighbouring inn. In the second storey of the mill, the water rose to the height of two feet six inches above the door. Two stoves — one for the purpose of drying wool, and the other for drying pieces — were totally destroyed. Two dyehouses, each containing three dye-pans, were also laid completely in ruins. The mill yard, adjoining the river, is filled with stones and rubbish to the depth of five or six feet. On the opposite side of the water-course from the mill, a little to the right, stands the
WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL,
A large building, with vestries attached ― the end of one of the vestries has been forced in, and the chapel has sustained some slight injury from the water which got in through the window. The lower windows of the chapel, which are about 10 feet from the ground, have been very much broken. Adjoining the chapel is a burial ground, a portion of which has been washed away by the stream, and many dead bodies borne along with it. The meeting room used by the Christian brethren, which is near to the Wesleyan chapel, has been partially destroyed. In different parts of the stream might be seen several steam boilers; there was a small one at Victoria Bridge, and another, above 30-horse power, was lying in the water course, opposite Holmfirth mill; others were carried farther down; there was one near the place called Bridge, and another at Armitage Bridge. The quantity of stone, refuse, timber, broken furniture, wheel-barrows, casks, bags of wool, &c., that is scattered about for miles in extent, is exceedingly great, and presents a scene of desolation and ruin most awful to contemplate.
At Thongsbridge, about a mile below Holmfirth, the destruction of property bee been immense. Messrs. James and George Robinson have property consisting of mills, fields, houses, &c., extending considerable distance, which presents to the eye one wide scene of destruction. One end of their mill at Thongsbridge has been forced down; the drying stove it taken away; the stable at the end of the row of four or five houses has been washed away; the houses however remain, but are very much shattered about the lower rooms. The inmates of the houses got on to the roofs and there remained until the flood lowered. All the yard walls of the mill, and the walls of the fields are demolished. A cow was carried away with the stable. It is quite impossible to state at present the amount of damage at this mill, there were about 70 pieces of cloth more or less damaged. The steam-engine boiler was taken away and carried a quarter of a mile off. The top shuttles and the goiting are forced up. Two scribblers, two carders, and one billey, the washing machine and stocks were all swept away in a mass; a hay stack that was standing in an adjoining field was washed away. The stoves belonging to Messrs. John Woodhead and Co. were destroyed. Eight dead bodies, exclusive of three that had floated down in coffins, were taken out of the water at Thongsbridge, and conveyed to the Royal Oak and Rose and Crown Inns. At
LOWER MYTHOLM BRIDGE MILL,
Forty pieces were swept away; and two houses, the property of the Messrs. Robinson, in that neighbourhood, are regularly gutted. The inmates escaped up the chimneys on to the roofs. The pans are carried out of the dyehouse, and the carts are gone. The stone bridge, with a couple of arches, and the stove, their property, have been taken away, leaving not a vestige behind. The houses at Thongsbridge, and all on the way down to Smithy Place, were mostly flooded; but the damage to the furniture and other things in the dwellings is not very great.
At Robinson’s Mill, Smithy Place (part of it in the occupancy of Messrs. I. Beardsell & Co.), two boilers are gone. In the yard there are five scribblers, some carders and billeys. In the bottom room of the mill then are about 100 pieces damaged. In the press shop and fulling mill there are a great many pieces destroyed. The dyehouse is gone entirely, and the butcher’s shop which stood opposite their property has been also clean swept away, One of the vats was carried out of its place; and all the pans are in such a state of ruin as cannot be described. The machine and millwright’s shops are driven in, and also the teasing-house. One side of the counting-house, together with the desks and books, are all gone. Two houses, in one of which resided Mr. Healey (who had a child lost) are very much damaged. The damage to furniture and other property in the dwelling-houses is very large. Nearly every house was flooded. The greatest loss in in that neighbourhood is that or Mr. Thomas Healey, who lost his daughter, a girl about eight years of age, and had the whole of his furniture more or less injured. The water came against his house with such a crash that it broke the door open. The wife escaped, and Mr. Healey got three of the children up in his arms, and carried them out safely; he was not able to carry the other child, Elisabeth, at the same time, and before he could get back, she was carried away with the flood. The stream forced open the toll-bar gate, and the water rushed into the lower room of the toll-house; but Mrs. Bedford and her three children fortunately managed to get up to the chamber, and thus escaped. The goods in the house below are very much damaged. Persons were flying from their houses in their night-dresses, seeking a place of safety from the flood. Two bodies were taken out of the water at Smithy Place, and taken to the Rock Inn, about three o’clock on the morning of Thursday. Three bodies were also found not far from the Traveller’s Inn, a little below Smithy Place, towards Honley. Mr. C. J. Lancaster, the keeper of the Inn, informed us that he was in great fear all night. From seven o’clock on Wednesday evening until ten, he went out nine or ten times, and the water continued to increase until about ten o’clock, when he observed it go down, and they shortly afterwards want to bed. When they had been in bed about an hour, his wife fancied she heard a scream, and wanted him to get up, which he did, and looked out of the window, and saw that the water had gone down very considerably. They then thought that all danger was past, and went to sleep. About two o’clock, one of his sons was awoke by a rushing noise, and he cried out, “Father, do get up, we are going to be swum away.” Mr. Lancaster then looked out at the south side of the house, and all the fields were covered with water. He fancied he felt the home shake under him, and on turning to look out of the north side of the house, he saw that the flood had covered a great portion of the turnpike-road. A person then came to the door chanting, “Are you going to stop in bed until you are swum sway.” Mr. Lancaster, perceiving that part of the road, a short distance from the house, was clear, told his wife and daughter, who were crying, to put plenty of clothing around them; he then opened the door and carried them away through the water, and placed them on the road. The cellar was soon filled with water, and the lower part of the house also. A large quantity of spirits and other liquors has been destroyed. Twelve apple trees, that stood in the garden, were ripped up and carried away. At the
Occupied by David Shaw, Son & Co., the water was about four feet deep; a cart lay across the goit; and during the whole of Thursday morning the hands were busily engaged in getting the works clean; but they expected that all the hands would be at their regular employment in the course of the afternoon. A quantity of wool which got into the oil cisterns was damaged; but the loss of Mr. Shaw we understand is not very great. At Mr. Benjamin Mellor’s warehouse and dwelling-house near to Honley bar considerable damage has been done. The inmates were awoke about half-past one in the morning, with two high walls falling with a [tremendous?] crash. On looking out of the window, [...?] immense volumes of water rushing [...?]. The water at that time was about three foot deep. They all went up to the bedrooms rooms and waited there for about an hour, when they saw the water begin to subside. The windows of the lower rooms were broken, and the lower part of the house was covered with water, which caused considerable injury to the furniture. Many bales of wool, dyewares, and yarns were carried off along with various other things. At
The water rushed against a double outer wall opposite the gasometer, and penetrated into a power-loom room and part of a scribbling mill, the amount of damage is however not very great. In this neighbourhood several meadows were covered three or four feet deep with water. The park wall of Thomas Brook, Esq., was thrown down. With great difficulty some cattle, the property of Mr B. Mellor, were saved. The scribbling and fulling mill belonging to Thomas Hinchliffe and Sons, is in a complete wreck in the bottom part. It will be many days before they will be able to go on with their regular work. Five billeys, three pair of mules, fulling stocks, &c., have been broken down. The goits were filled up, and the tops of the walls were covered with water; but the amount of loss sustained by the firm is not yet known. Mr. Thackray the keeper of the Honley bar, has had furniture and other property damaged to a great amount; nearly everything in the house is spoiled. The bar gates were driven away with the flood, and all the houses in the neighbourhood were flooded with water. A most distressing case occurred at a cottage a little below the road side between Honley and Berry Brow ― a small cottage occupied by Mr. Joseph Lindley, his wife, and four children. The water filled the lower part of the house, carried away their clothes, so that they had nothing to cover them with, but through the kindness of some neighbours they were furnished with sufficient covering to screen them from the cold and wet. Fortunately they all escaped. A watch house near to the cottage was swept sway. At the bottom of Dungeon lane about five o’clock in the morning, a body was found and conveyed to the Inn kept by Mr. Walker, at the bottom of the Big Valley. The low cottages all along the valley were flooded, so that the loss sustained by the poorer portion of the inhabitants will be severe. At Paul’s Church,
A large portion of the front wall and nearly the whole of the back wall, which are a great thickness, and about seven feet high, were swept away with the stream. A small quantity of water entered the vestry, but the damage received inside the church is very slight. Near to Armitage Bridge the bodies of two children were found in a tree, one with a long pillow round its neck. They were taken to Mr. Schofield’s, the Fleece Inn.
Considerable damage has been sustained at the Dungeon Mill, belonging to Messrs. J. T. C. Wrigley & Co., but the loss is not estimated at any very great sum. The water got into the presses where there were some hundreds of pieces of cloth, which were damaged, and will all have to be re-finished. The tenters in the field were broken down and washed away, and in different places were scattered about heaps of wood, iron, and stone, that had been washed down by the flood. Near to the Railway Viaduct, and on towards
The scene presented on Thursday morning was as if a number of large ships had been wrecked; things of all descriptions might be seen lying about in all directions; old scribbling machines and rollers, warping creels, boxes, barrels, pieces of old coffins, broken wheelbarrows, oranges, apples, and cart loads of turnips, brushes, looking glass frames, shattered chest of drawers, chairs, tables, large quantities of soap, candles, and various other things were strewed along the valley for many an acre. At the bottom of one of the piers of the viaduct, the ground appeared to have shrunk considerably. Bentley Shaw’s Brewery was covered several feet in water. Mr James Gledhill, of Lockwood Brewery, deserves great praise for the manner in which he protected several chairs and other things from being carried away by persons who were busily engaged in taking everything of any value on which they could lay their hands. At Lockwood Bridge many large pieces of wood and other portions of the wreck had been stopped in their progress. At the
The pump and trough were removed out of their place; and a private wooden bridge, leading from the baths to the other side of the river, was splintered in several parts. Being at a great height, the elevation prevented the great force of water from catching it; which will account for its having received so little injury.
The new bridge leading from Folly Hall to King’s Mill has received considerable injury. It rested upon two stone buttresses, besides the support it had at the ends: one of the buttresses was carried away, and the other is much damaged. Another bridge, the private property of Mr. North, which was erected for a line of railway, to facilitate the removal of corn from the boats in the canal to the mill, was swept clean away. A bridge belonging to Mr. James Learoyd, manufacturer, at the Grove, was also earned away by the force of the stream.
Yesterday morning a jury was empanelled, and met at the Railway Tavern, about nine o’clock. The following are the names of the gentlemen who were sworn on the jury:— Mr. Godfrey Mellor (Foreman), Messrs. Thomas Mellor, Thomas Moorhouse, Thomas Dyson, James Brooke, Joshua Moorhouse, John Burton, Joseph Crawshaw, Charles Taylor, William Day Martin, Joseph Crosland, Richard Bower, John Wylie, James Horncastle, David Brooke, Thomas Hinchcliffe, and Ralph Carter. The jury then went to view the bodies at the different places where they were lying — Armitage Bridge, Smithy Place, Honley, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth, and Hinchliffe Mill. The time occupied in viewing the bodies was about five or six hours. The jury assembled at the Town Hall, Holmfirth, about three o’clock yesterday afternoon, when they were addressed by the Coroner, George Dyson, Esq., of Halifax. After referring in suitable terms to the dreadful calamity which had happened, he proceeded to address the jury on the duties devolving upon them; the purport of his remarks was, that the inquest should be adjourned until Wednesday, the 18th of this month, and that in the meantime they should individually make every inquiry into the origin of the flood, and by the strictest investigation endeavour to ascertain whether the calamity was the result of unavoidable cause, or whether any blame was attached to the parties belonging to the reservoir, or their servants, in consequence of the insecure and unsatisfactory state in which the reservoir might have been for some time previous. He also urged the necessity of making an immediate application to government that an inspector should be sent down to make an examination of the condition of the reservoir, and to report thereon. In fact he believed he expressed the wish of the jury in wishing that the public should be protected from such calamities, by having the strictest investigation made into the matter, so that every precaution might be taken for the prevention of such fearful catastrophes in future. Mr. Dyson wished the jury to go with him to the reservoir, and examine the condition in which it was, for their own as well as for the satisfaction of the public at large; and, as he had not been with them to view the bodies, he expressed a desire that the jury would again view them, and he would accompany them, for his own satisfaction as well as that of the jury.
The body of a female that had been taken out of the water was identified by a person who was sworn as a witness before the jury to give evidence at the inquest. The names of all that have been found are not yet known, but we give, as far as we have been able to ascertain, a correct account of as many as have been identified up to the present time. By the time that the inquest takes place, on next Wednesday week, there is very little doubt but the names of all that have been found, and may be discovered in the meantime, will then be made known.
We are happy to announce that a great many gentlemen of wealth from Huddersfield and other places, have most benevolently given of their substance towards alleviating the sufferings of those persons who have been deprived of all their earthly comforts. It is perhaps premature to mention names yet, there is no doubt a list of those gentlemen who have come forward so liberally already in the exercise of their Christian charity, will be published as early as possible. We know some gentlemen, who as soon as they arrived at Holmfirth in their carriages, and saw the devastation and misery that prevailed on every hand, especially amongst the poorer classes, ordered their servants to return and fetch large quantities of clothing, which were liberally distributed amongst the most needy of the sufferers.
A meeting of the guardians and relieving officers was held yesterday at the Mechanics’ Institution, for the purpose of making arrangements, and rendering assistance for the decent burial of the dead; and also for the purpose of affording relief to those who have escaped from a watery grave, but have been rendered destitute of their clothing, furniture, and all the necessaries of life.
A public meeting will be held this evening (Saturday) for the purpose of further considering what steps are requisite to be taken for the speedy relief of the distressed, we have not the slightest doubt but that the benevolent and Christian public will come forward nobly to support those who are taking the lead in the philanthropic work of rescuing their distressed fellow creatures from the brink of ruin and despair.
Yesterday, shoals of human beings came pouring into the town in all directions, to view the scenes of destruction which are to be witnessed in Holmfirth and the neighbourhood. Every train that arrived at the Railway Station was crowded with passengers; and carriages, gigs, spring carts, and vehicles of every description, filled with people, thronged the roads; which, with the thousands of persons who came on foot, presented an exciting spectacle to the mind. The fearful extent of wreck and distress which is to be seen, far exceeded the anticipations of all with whom we have met who have visited the place. We are happy to announce that, generally speaking, the people have been very ready in assisting to clear away the mud out of the shops and factories; but it will be a considerable time before a number of the shopkeepers, who have had their property damaged to a large extent, will be able to resume their respective businesses. It is the opinion of many manufacturers that, in consequence of the destruction that has taken place at the different mills, they will not be able to commence work again for months to come.
On Thursday, the streets, in two or three places, were rendered altogether impassable by the heaps of rubbish, several feet in depth, which had been deposited by the flood. The greatest accumulation was in the street between the shop of Mr. Alfred Wood, draper, grocer, &c. and that of Mr. Johnson, tinner. The greater portion of the refuse consisted of wood, broken furniture, and things of a similar character.
Several carts and horses, and many men, were employed during the day in leading away the rubbish, which, however, was not cleared from the streets until yesterday, so as to afford convenient passage. An efficient body of police together with a number of special constables, sustained order, and preserved the property from theft. [Much?] praise is due to them, for the exertions which they put forth in the discharge or their duties. Many persons who made their escape at the time of the flood, by climbing on to the roofs of houses, and in other ways reaching a place of safety, are now suffering severely from the injury they sustained.
We have heard of one strong man, at Hinchliffe Mill, who in order to save his wife and family, forced a passage though into a neighbour’s house, and from that into a third house, where they were all brought in safety, and shortly afterwards saw their own house, and the second through which they had passed, washed away with the flood. — Mrs. Woodcock, a lady who had been unwell for some time, managed to get out of her house on to the narrow parapet above the shops in Victoria Street, along which she walked the length of the entire buildings, except one, where she remained until the water subsided, and she was enabled to return again: by this means she escaped, being carried away with the flood. — Mr. John Charlesworth, of Scarfold, with his wife, managed to escape from their house into a yard, and on to some steps, where they stood until the water went down. He carried two children with him, one under each arm. — At one place, a man and his wife, with four children, were obliged to remain in a critical position, holding on by the chimney of a house until they could he got off.
On the top of a house a stirk was found, where it had been washed, and remained in safety until it was taken down. In several places cattle were found dead in very curious positions. In one instance the body of a horse was discovered between the branches of a large tree. Large sums of money were found in drawers and in tills, the full amount of which we have not been able correctly to ascertain yet, but a considerable sum has been handed to the authorities. Six or seven boilers have been found in different parts of the valley. Between Huddersfield and Mirfield there is a large quantity of wreck. Yesterday afternoon the body of a man was taken out of the water near to Bradley Mill Bridge; and a bag of wool was found buried underneath a lot of timber. The wreck down towards Mirfield consisted chiefly of timber and broken furniture, which have been washed down with the stream. We understand that a considerable number of persons have taken away property from the wreck in several places. Such parties are cautioned to deliver up the [finds?], as enquiries have been made by the police into several cases where persons have taken away property, and we understand that any one refusing to deliver up goods which they may have obtained from the ruins, are liable to be apprehended by the police, who have had strict orders given them to take all persons into custody whom they find taking away goods of any description.
Notwithstanding the exertions we have used to obtains a correct account of the losses that have been sustained by so large a number of our neighbours, and many of our personal friends, we feel that we have but imperfectly recorded the particulars of the sad event of the past week.
The following is a list of the names, as far as we have been able to ascertain, of the parties whose bodies have been found between Hinchlille Mill and Huddersfield, with the names of the Inns to which they were conveyed:—
George Inn, Upperbridge ― Mary Hellawell, George Hellawell, Sarah Hellawell, Elizabeth Hellawell, John Hellawell, and Ann Hellawell, one family, and a female unknown, Jonathan Crosland, and Joshua Crosland (grandson), and Hannah Dodd.
Rose and Crown ― Elizabeth Marsden.
Waggon and Horses ― Two children who have not yet been owned.
Jacob’s Well, Honley ― One of Hartley’s daughters; Thomas Heeley’s daughter, Smithy Place; another son of Matthew Fearns; one not known.
Golden Fleece, Berry Brow ― Martha, daughter of Anor Bailey; Another daughter of Sidney Hartley.
Sixty bodies have been found. Their names, as far as we have been able to ascertain, we have given above; but still there remain upwards of twenty persons whose bodies have not yet been found.
The following account of the flood, in the township of Honley, is given by a Correspondent:—
Honley has been witness of, and shared in the damage occasioned by this ever-to-be-remembered calamity. It is utterly impossible to give anything approaching to an adequate description of the dreadful scene. We shall content ourselves with giving a faint outline of it so far as regards the township of Honley. The first mill in the township which the water reached in its course down the valley, is the lower Mytholm Bridge, at which place no very serious damage was sustained, there being only one or two stocks on the ground-floor; and from the mill being so situated as to shield it from the main current: but it was so surrounded by water that, to save themselves, the inmates of the dwellinghouse in the yard had to escape through the roof. The next mill on the water is Smithy Place, and here dreadful havoc has been made. It stands in the centre of the valley, and had to withstand the full shock of the resistless element, which almost instantly blew up the stoves, smiths’ and joiners’ workshops, &c. in front of the mill; staved in the ground-floor windows, filling the rooms to the depth of eight or nine feet, and in its furiousness overthrowing engines, billies, &c.; skips of slubbings were floating about, upset, and mixed together in terrific confusion. In the fulling-mill, the stocks were entirely under water, and the pieces twisted together in all directions, and some of those which were loose were carried away. In every room on the ground-floor, Mr. Beardsell, and others, will have sustained a very heavy loss of property, and damage to machinery. Mr. James Robinson, also, has sustained very considerable damage in the blue dyehouse adjoining the mill. Eight large vats have been entirely overflowed, and rendered not worth a penny; together with all the indigo and other dyewares, which are utterly spoiled. The counting-house also was blown up and the contents swept away. Some idea of the water may be gathered when we state, that one vat was raised from its seat and floated into the middle of the room, and the rims of others almost broken. A dyehouse, also, near the mill, belonging to Messrs. Heap, Brothers, of Oldfield, was entirely swept away, together with a butcher’s shop, and a blacksmith’s shop, both on the other side of the river. A number of the dwelling-houses near were filled with water, some of them to the second story, and in one of them a little girl, seven or eight years old, of the name of Heeley, was drowned. In another a child was saved in a manner which we cannot pass over unnoticed. The house is situate in the mill-yard, and the father, hearing the water, got up and opened the door, when the water pouted in, and seeing no hopes of safety but in flight, he immediately set about getting his family out, but, on returning for the last child, be could not get into the house; of course he became greatly alarmed for its safety. He soon after heard the child call out “Father,” he then got where he could see into the house, and saw the child on the top of the drawers, and inquired how it got there? the poor little thing replied, “the water lifted me up!” The man became agonised with fear for his child, which soon after cried out, “Father, come fetch me.” The poor man then went to another part of the house where there was a higher window, and where he succeeded in snatching his child from the floating drawers. In addition to the disasters at the mill and houses, several head of cattle were drowned in the mistals, &c. The reader must now fancy us leaving Smithy Place, and proceeding down the valley, followed by a sheet of water 200 yards in breadth, and seven or eight feet in depth, stiffened as it were by wreck, hay, timber, cattle, the contents of mills, machinery, bags of wool, furniture of houses, and the bodies of the inmates. We then got to Messrs. D. Shaw, Son, & Co’s large works at Honley, which were immediately surrounded, and all the lower rooms laid under water: one piece of cloth, belonging to Messrs. Dickenson and Platts, cloth dressers, is all that we have heard of being missing, but the damage otherwise done will be very considerable. The scene in the valley here, at half-past two o’clock this (Thursday) morning, was awfully terrific; the water was spread out from 300 to 400 yards, and reached nearly to the tops of the broad tenters, in the fields, sweeping before it walls and hedges, and everything that was moveable. One current of the flood took its course down the Sheffield-road, to Honley bar, dashed across the front of Mr. Benjamin Mellor’s house, carried away the palisades and high garden walls, filling the low rooms up to the window bottoms, and doing great damage in the ground-floors of the two warehouses, to the pieces, dye-wares, &c. Another current drove in a portion of the high wall surrounding the lawn of Thomas Brooke, Esq., of Northgate House, laying a great part of the lawn under water, finding its way out at the front gates.
In the vicinity of Honley bar some of the fields were covered with water through the day, which would diminish the quantity as well as the force of the torrent, and less damage would be done to the mills lower on the river. On inquiring what damage had been done at Mr. Benjamin Mellor’s mill, at Reins, we were informed by that gentleman that he had sustained very little damage at the mill. We then inquired at the Steps Mills, and were informed they had sustained no damage. This is the lowest mill in Honley township. We have not heard of any damage being done at the Honley Mill. Eight or ten dead bodies have been picked up in the township, and are now awaiting an inquest at the several public-houses in the valley. Probably we shall have to give further information relative to this melancholy occurrence the next week.
THE FLOOD AT HOLMFIRTH.
RELIEF FUND FOR THE DESTITUTE SURVIVORS.
To the Editor of the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner.
- I enclose a £5 note, to assist in relieving my poor neighbours who have suffered so severely from the recent awful flood, and have no means of helping themselves. If it only cheer and aid the downcast labourers a little, it will gladden the heart of
- Yours sincerely,
- Yours sincerely,
To the Editor of the Huddersfield & Holmfirth Examiner.
- “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
- Mr. Editor,
- There is scarcely any misfortune, however great, but may be got over with comparative ease if men will only act upon this Christian maxim. Let us hope that it will be acted upon with regard to our suffering brethren at Holmfirth. Let every man make their ease his own, and ask himself how he would like his more fortunate neighbours to act, and then he has only to adopt another Christian maxim, and “do unto others as he would that others should do unto him”
- I do hope that the influential gentlemen of this town will call a public meeting forthwith.
- I am, your, &c.,
- R. BROOK.
- I am, your, &c.,
[We hope the above suggestion of Mr. Brook will at once be carried into effect. ― Ed. H. & H. E.]
- Dr. Benjamin Beeley was born 17 April 1797 at Kirkburton. He resided at Beech House, New Town, Holmifrth, and appears to have owned property at Mill Hill. He died on 10 April 1863 at was buried at St. John, Upperthong, on 15 April.
- A heifer or bullock, usually between one and two years old.