Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (13/Mar/1852) - The Lamentable Catastrophe at Holmfirth

This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project and its content is believed to be in the Public Domain.

The following are selected items relating to the 1852 Flood from this issue.

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.



not yet transcribed



By Special Authority of the Holmfirth and Huddersfield Committee ; in conjunction with the Churchwardens of the Township.

NOW Ready, a CORRECT VIEW or GUIDE to the scene of the Awful CATASTROPHE which has lately visited the town and neighbourhood of HOLMFIRTH. By Mr. J. CURRY, Grove House Academy, Dewsbury.

The Guide or View begins with the Hill called Good-Best Bluff, which overhangs the Bilberry Reservoir, and continues in one unbroken chain of scenery on both sides of the River, along the valley to the town of Holmfirth ; fully describing all the adjacent Property, Mills, Houses, Offices, and every other obstacle, that stood in the way of the devouring Flood, together with the loss of seventy-eight Lives.

Illustrated with extensive Views of the Country, neatly got up by the artist.

The dimensions of the Plate, twenty-two inches by eighteen inches, neatly executed in a superior style, with minute references appended, shewing any particular place, or property, in the valley, at one glance ; on superfine plate paper, price 2s. 6d. each.

J.C. has the pleasure to announce to his Friends and the Public in general, that after having had repeated interviews with the committee now at Holmfirth, and Huddersfield, sitting from time to time on the affairs connected with the disastrous state of the bursting of the Reservoir, that the committee highly approve of, and appreciate the plan and draft, drawn by J.C. as being calculated to tell a truthful story to posterity, of the events connected with the history or Holmfirth, and the valley of Holme, in the year 1852 ; and also by their sanction, J.C. is authorised to dedicate the Guide or View to the honorable Gentlemen in committee assembled, signed on behalf of the committee this 28th day of February, 1852, by John Brook, Esq., Chairman. Messrs. Edmund Bardsley and John Hinchliff, Churchwardens.

N.B. — The profit arising from the Sale of the Plate, when expenses are deducted, is to be appropriated to the use of the suffering population of Holmfirth.

To be had of Messrs. Whitworth and Clarkson, Tea Dealers, Market-Place, Huddersfield.




On Wednesday last, a large quantity of timber, broken furniture, and other articles that were washed away by the flood and had not been owned, were sold by auction, at the different places where they had been left in order that the owners might have an opportunity of claiming them. Large numbers of persons were present at the sales, and many of them were evidently eager to purchase various things, in order to have them converted into objects of use or ornament ; the wood work in particular fetched very high prices, which shows the anxiety manifested by many to have something in their possession as a memento of the terrible calamity which befel the valley of Holme on the morning of the 5th February.


On Saturday evening last, the members of the Shepherds’ Retreat Society met at the Waggon and Horses Inn, Hinchliffe Mill, and during the course of their meeting the sum of £20 was voted to two children who have been rendered orphans by the late flood. This sum is the commencement of a fund which is about to be raised for the special benefit of these children, whose fathers, Jonathan Crosland and William Mettrick, were members of the above society, but perished on the morning of the 5th ult. Such generous conduct as the above is a pure manifestation of brotherly love, and when societies display so benevolent a spirit, they are worthy of being set forth as examples, in order that others may be led to imitate them.


During the past week large numbers of persons have visited this reservoir to satisfy themselves as to its condition. It has at the present time very little water in. but should there come an excessive fall of rain, no doubt great alarm would be excited in the minds of many. We hope, however, that at the approaching commissioners’ meeting, which will be held soon, prompt measures will be taken to have the reservoir made secure, so that fears respecting its unsafe state may speedily be allayed. The petition in reference to this matter which was adopted at the meeting held last week, in the course of a few days obtained 963 signatures, including a large number of the most respectable and influential inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood. It was yesterday (Friday) forwarded to Beckett Denison, Esq., M.P., for presentation.


On Saturday night last as Mr. John Wood Jenkinson, the landlord of the New Inn, Thurstonland, was returning home from Holmfirth, he was met in Roger Wood by three men, who asked him if he was one of the Holmfirth Relief Committee. Mr. Jenkinson, not thinking that any harm would be the result, replied in the affirmative, upon which the three ruffians knocked him down, kicked him several times, and after otherwise ill-treating him, ran off and left him. We trust that they will be discovered in order that they may meet with a severe punishment for their inhuman conduct, and be prevented from injuring any other person.


We understand that the distribution of the reward given for the finding of Mr. J. Sandford’s body, which has caused considerable dispute as to who was really entitled to the £100, has at length been made in the following manner :— William Broadbent, the boy who first saw the body, has received £50. The other £50, after the deduction of £6 for expenses, has been divided betwixt Messrs. Hiram, Earnshaw, and John Crosland, the parties who took the body out of the water at Thongsbridge.



[ The following letter has been received by Mr. Freeman. ]

Dear Sir,
I have this day paid in to the Huddersfield Banking Company to the credit of the Huddersfield Subscription Fund for the sufferers at Holmfirth, the sum of £8 1s. 9d., contributed by the Station Agents, Clerks, Porters, and other workmen employed on the Yorkshire Section of the London and North-Western Railway.
Yours respectfully,
H. Riley
Leeds, March 11th, 1852.