Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (20/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


Concert.The Messiah. — On Thursday evening the Huddersfield Choral Society gave a performance of Handel’s immortal work, the Messiah, for the benefit of the Holmfirth Sufferers. We need not enter into any minutuae of criticism on the performance. We will just observe that Mrs. Sunderland and Miss Whitham were in excellent voice, and sung their parts admirably. The audience was rather thin; but what can be expected after such large contributions from all parties. The public however, will not fail to appreciate the feeling which the Choral Society has exhibited by this gratuitous performance on their part — if the proceeds were small the heart was in the right place, — and that sanctifies the deed.


Valuable Subscription. — During the week five large boxes bare been received by the Holmfirth committee from Nottingham. Three of them have been opened, and are found to contain 23 valuable oil paintings; and two of the largest are yet to unpack. As yet the committee have received no communication respecting them, so that they are left to take it for granted they are sent to be disposed of for the benefit of the sufferers.

Gratitude. — One of the recipients of the Holmfirth Relief Fund; who has received different payments from the committee, on attending to receive the balance towards making up the full amount of his schedule, said to Mr. J. Charlesworth, one of the committee, who gave him £3, his last payment : “Well, I am very much obliged to them ; it is very good of them, and I should like to give some proof of my gratitude for their kindness.” He then gave a sovereign back to Mr. Charlesworth, with a request that it should be divided as a thank-offering, from one of the recipients of the Relief Fund, amongst the Church, Wesleyan, and Independent schools of the town.

Typhus Fever. — Where Are Our Sanitary Committees? — We are sorry to find that typhus fever has already made its appearance in the neighbourhood, and threatens being of a very severe character. Several families in Burnlee are now suffering from fever. One family have now four laid very dangerous, and one child is dead after a few days illness. The head of another family died of the malady on Thursday last.[1] Several eases have occurred at Newtown, and we fear the present damp state of many of the cottages near the watercourse, and the bad smell that proceeds from the river, will strengthen the disease, and cause it to spread with fearful rapidity, unless prompt measures are adopted. We are glad to find that the relief committee have given a load of coals to many of the houses that have been flooded, and all that have had their houses deluged may have a load on application to the said committee. They have also taken steps to supply each house with chloride of lime, or some other substance, for the purpose of fumigation. We should recommend the sanitary committees of the various townships to assist the relief committee, in order that all necessary precautions steps may be immediately taken. Delays are always dangerous, but in the present circumstances of our neighbourhood, it would be certain death to very many.



Wessenden Reservoir. — On Wednesday, the 17th inst, the committee of the above reservoir met at the New Inn, Marsden, and from thence proceeded to inspect the state of the Wessenden Reservoir. On their return, they sat in council, and the following resolution was unanimously passed :— “That the committee having carefully inspected the Wessenden Reservoir, are much gratified to have it in their power to communicate their entire satisfaction with it. and can confidently assure the many millowners and mill-occupiers connected with the said reservoir, and also the many inhabitants living within the influence of its powerful waters, that they consider the work so perfectly safe and firm, that both life and property may be considered safe and secure.” Such a satisfactory conclusion, coming as it does from persons competent to judge on such matters, will no doubt tend in a great degree to re-assure the public mind as to its perfect security.


  1. It is very likely this was John Earnshaw. His mother-in-law, Mary Cartwright, had survived her house being flooded but then also died of typhus fever.