Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (24/Apr/1852) - Holmfirth Flood

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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.

The following are the articles related to the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 that appeared in this issue.


A general meeting of the Commissioners of the Holme Reservoirs win held at Mr. Jacomb’s Office, Buxton-road, on Tuesday afternoon last. There were present Commissioners E. Vickerman (chairman), G. Robinson, J. Hinchcliffe, E. Butterworth, W. Haigh, J. Robinson, J. Broadbent, J. Mellor, A. Cuttell, J. Ferrer, — Broadbent, J. Holmes, — Haigh, D. Hinchliffe, and T. Morehouse.

The committee appointed at the last meeting boring reported that thee had engaged Mr. Bateman, civil engineer, of Manchester, who had subsequently — namely, on the 14th inst. — met the committee had made the requisite inspection of the Boshaw Whams and Holme Styes Reservoirs, the clerk read the general report thereon, sent in by Mr. Bateman, as fellows :—

Manchester, 16th April, 1852.
William Jacomb, Esq.,
Dear Sir,
On Wednesday last, the 14th inst., accompanied by the committee appointed to meet me, and by Mr. Hall, the surveyor to the Commissioners, I had an opportunity of carefully inspecting the Holme Styes and Boshaw Whams Reservoirs.
Both reservoirs being nearly empty I was enabled to ascertain pretty accurately the character of the valleys in which the reservoirs had been constructed, and the state of repair of the embankments and the works connected therewith. At the Boshaw Whams Reservoir the waste weir is much dilapidated, and requires immediate repair, but in other respects the embankment and other works appear perfectly secure, and the reservoir may be filled and used as usual. The collecting ground to the reservoir is small, and no flood need be apprehended which cannot easily be discharged by opening the sluices, by which means the water may be prevented from passing over the waste weir until it be properly repaired. A little careful attention on the part or the man employed to draw the water is all which is at present requisite.
The Holme Styes Reservoir is in a very unsatisfactory condition, and I consider it unfit to be filled with water until it be thoroughly repaired, although I apprehend no danger from its being occasionally 40 feet. After rain, however, the water should be drawn down to a level, until all defects be remedied and every cause for anxiety effectually removed. I am not prepared at present to recommend any mode of effecting this object. I must obtain further information as to the manner in which the works have been constructed, and the nature of the ground upon which the embankment stands. The subject shall have my earliest attention and my most careful consideration, and in the meantime I have given instructions for such surveys being made as will enable me to lay out and estimate such additional works as I may think it necessary to advise.
I remain, very faithfully yours,
J. F. Bateman.

It was then ordered that such appointment of Mr. Bateman as engineer to the commissioners be, and is hereby confirmed ; and that the clerk urge upon Mr. Bateman to use all practicable dispatch in furnishing his more detailed report with the estimate of expense as mentioned in the order of the last meeting.

Moved by Mr. G. Robinson,
Seconded by Mr. James Holmes.


Whereas, at a meeting of the commissioners, held on tile 17th November, 1849, it was ordered, “That Messrs. Joseph Brook. Cookson Stephenson Floyd, and Thomas Pearson Crosland, be and are hereby appointed a committee for the purpose of effecting an arrangement with the Huddersfield Banking Company, and the other creditors of the commissioners, upon the basis that the said committee shall, out of certain sums of £275 6s. 3½d., £40 16s. 6d., and £120 7s. 5d., pay to Messrs. Floyd and Booth £200, Mr. Joseph Hall £100, Mr. John Kirk £15, and Mr. Joshua Littlewood £15, on account of their respective demands, and the residue thereof in such manner to any of the other creditors of the said commissioners, exclusive of the said Huddersfield Banking Company, and not being creditors by mortgage or for subscriptions, as the said committee may think proper) and also upon the basis that all future rates to be made and collected (after deducting current expenses) shall be divided amongst all the creditors of the said commissioners, including the Huddersfield Banking Company (but exclusive of creditors by mortgage or subscriptions), rateably and in proportion to the amount of their respective debts. That in the meantime, and until such arrangement with the said Huddersfield Banking Company be effected, no more rates or other moneys belonging to the commissioners should be paid into the said Banking Company or the treasurer. And also at a subsequent meeting of the commissioners, held on the 12th day of November, 1860, it was ordered that Mr. Joseph Wood, the collector, do pay over to Mr. Jacomb all rates now in his hands or to be collected by him, to be applied by Mr. Jacomb in the terms of the order of the 27th of November last (excepting the Huddersfield Banking Company) so far as the present rate is concerned.”

Mr. G. Robinson moved, “that both of the above resolutions be rescinded.” He was of opinion that it was high time the commissioners had the power of appropriating all their moneys themselves. If the former resolution gave this power to Mr. Jacomb, it was necessary that they should have the sole control of their money for future years ; and therefore he thought they ought now to set aside the resolutions, which placed the money at the disposal of Mr. Jacomb. On the Monday, when they audited the accounts, there were £1,600 — the day after there was only £80, the rest having been appropriated by Mr. Jacomb.

Mr. D. Hinchlitfe was of opinion that whatever money had been appropriated by Mr. Jacomb had been appropriated in accordance with the resolution.

Mr. Haigh seconded the resolution proposed by Mr. Robinson, and after a abort discussion it was put to the meeting and carried, there being seven hands held up in favour of the motion end four against it.

Mr. Robinson then said he had another resolution to propose, following up the one that had just been passed. He was anxious that the moneys of the commissioners should be paid by themselves and not appropriated by the clerk, as had been the case, at his pleasure, according to a resolution passed years ago. (Cries of “Not years ago,” and “Out of order.”) He did not think it would be justice on their part to dismiss their present treasurer without ascertaining the position in which they stood. He had taken the liberty of calling upon Mr. Marsden, the manager of the Huddersfield Banking Company, to ask what he would be disposed to do in the event of their taking a different line of policy, and he seemed quite agreeable that they should appoint some one else as treasurer. It had been said that they (the commissioners) wen owing the Banking Company some £700 ; and he (Mr. Robinson) thought when the commissioners were in a position to vote their money as they thought proper, they might make a proposition of paying £200 a-year out of the funds coming into their hands, but Mr. Marsden had told him there was a difficulty in the way with regard to this, and that certain gentleman would have to be consulted, so that changing a treasurer would not constitute a transfer, but would only be putting the matter into a different position. He (Mr. Robinson) had called upon Mr. James Charlesworth, of Holmfirth, and that gentleman had agreed to become treasurer. Mr. Robinson then moved that—

“Whereas, at a meeting of the commissioners, held on the 3rd of July, 1837, it was ordered ‘That Hugh Watt, Esq., manager of the Huddersfield Banking Company be, and he is hereby, appointed treasurer to the commissioners.’ It was ordered that the said resolution be, and is hereby, rescinded, and that James Charlesworth, Esq, of Holmfirth, be, and is hereby, appointed treasurer to the commissioners, and that all moneys now in the custody of the collector, or clerk, or which may hereafter come into their hands, shall be paid over immediately to such treasurer.”

Mr. T. Morehouse seconded the resolution, and it was carried unanimously.

Mr. G. Robinson then said he had another resolution to lay before the meeting. He thought not only the chairman, but also every commissioner, would have seen, from the large bills which they had constantly flowing in from their present clerk, that it was high time they should take a different course from what they had previously taken ; and if they determined to exercise economy, there was no time when such a step was more necessary than at the present. He thought it would be to their interest, as a corporate body, that a non-professional gentleman should be appointed as clerk. They were aware — and he said it with no disrespect to professional men, but, generally speaking, perhaps, they promoted a little more law than mote parties liked. He thought they, as commissioners, were now proceeding at an enormous expense. He could not find that there was any possibility of ascertaining whether there were any regular accounts kept by the clerk.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe considered that Mr. Robinson was taking an undue advantage of Mr. Jacomb in his absence. He believed that all the accounts were made out.

Mr. Robinson — All I say is that the accounts show that there has been a large expenditure on this head. For general business, from March, 1846, to March, 1849, there was an account of £699 ; then there was an account from that time of £366 15s. on account of general business and the application to parliament in 1849 ; then there was an account for the application to parliament in 1846 of some £900; and in the commissioners’ account for the year 1846 there is a further payment of £132 on account of Mr. Jacomb’s payments and bill of costs.

Mr. F. Jacomb, the son of Mr. Jacomb, said — That is quite a mistake.

Mr. Robinson — I took this from the account myself.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe — The commissioners have allowed Mr. Jacomb by their resolutions to appropriate those sums which he has done.

Mr. Robinson — I was not speaking of what was authorised by the commissioners, but of what is in the account.

Mr. F. Jacomb said — Mr. Jacomb has been clerk for six years, and £463 is all that he has received on account of his services, not referring to payments made by him up to the time of the commencement of the present accounts and the £460 which Mr. Robinson has added to the bill for the application to parliament in 1846, was paid for witnesses as the accounts show. Mr. Jacomb here produced the accounts, end handed them to the chairman. With reference to the £132 he could not explain it, although he found it in the account of the commissioners, as elated by Mr. Robinson, and therefore he assumed that it had been paid on account of disbursements by Mr. Jacomb ; as the bills of costs for services delivered by Mr. Jacomb, showed that the sum of £463 was the only sum he had received up to that time on account of his charges for business done.

Mr. Robinson then distinctly stated that Mr. Jacomb’s bill in the session of 1849 was £739 19s. 2d.

Mr. F. Jacomb said — that was not the case, as Mr. Robinson had included in that amount the disbursements of Mr. Jacomb for the deputation accompanying him to London, and sums paid to parliamentary agents and counsel, and that Mr. Jacomb’s own charges during that period were, as before mentioned, £365 15s, which included not only that application, bat the general business during that period and his disbursements thereon.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe said — Mr. Jacomb had been appointed by the commissioners to go to London and ask for an amended bill, and therefore it was not Mr. Jacomb but the commissioners that had incurred the expense.

Mr. Robinson said there was ample evidence to justify him in making the resolution which he intended to propose, namely,

“That a non-professional gentleman be elected to the office of clerk to the commissioners, and that a committee be appointed for the purpose of taking such steps as they think proper to secure a fit and proper person of the office.”

He considered that such a measure, when carried out, would tend greatly to promote their interests.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe said, this was an unfair attack upon Mr. Jacomb in his present state of ill health. He was about to refer to the act to see whether they had the power of dismissing the present clerk.

Mr. Robinson here read the clause of the act which gave them the power of electing and dismissing their clerk at any general meeting of the commissioners.

Mr. A. Cuttell was of opinion that it would be better to leave the matter to the adjourned meeting which would have to be held shortly to consider some other subjects.

Mr. Robinson agreed that the subject might be left to the adjourned meeting, when they came to consider the question of laying the rates. It was with no desire of his that he had taken this step ; but he was satisfied that unless some measure was adopted there would be no money for either mortgagees or repair of reservoirs.

Mr. Cuttell said, he had no sympathy with such conduct as that now pursued by Mr. Robinson, who had charged Mr. Jacomb with misappropriating their money.

Mr. Robinson distinctly denied that he had made any such charge against Mr. Jacomb, all he had said was that the sums, making £900, had appeared in Mr. Jacomb’s own bill, and were payments that bad been made by that gentleman.

Mr. F. Jacomb again reiterated that all the money Mr. Jacomb had had on account of his services, not referring to the disbursements made by him up to the present accounts, was £463 19s. 1d., and the sum of £132 before mentioned which he could not explain.

Mr. Cuttell thought, in all candour and justice to Mr. Jacomb, if they were going to dismiss him they ought to give him the opportunity of being present to answer the charges that had been brought against him, and inasmuch as Mr. Jacomb was on a sick bed they ought not to act shabbily towards him — (hear, hear.) Let them bring the matter on at an adjourned meeting, end not turn him off lurkingly.

Mr. Robinson maintained that they were not doing anything lurkingly.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe contended that it was unfair in Mr. Robinson to make such sweeping assertions. He (Mr. Hinchliffe) believed that the minute-book would show that Mr. Jacomb did not pay the sum referred to on his own account ; but there were resolutions on the book showing that the commissioners had ordered him to pay these monies. He found a resolution which stated—

“That Mr. Jacomb should be and is hereby authorised and empowered to apply so much of such cash balance as maybe necessary in paying and defraying the expenses and disbursements of himself and the parliamentary committee of or connected with the opposition, by the commissioners to the bill now pending in parliament, and otherwise in carrying the last mentioned order, or any matter or thing therein contained, into effect”

He then referred to smother resolution which appointed “Mr. Joshua Charlesworth, Mr. Sidney Morehouse, and Mr. George Robinson, with power to add other commissioners if they, think proper, to be a parliamentary committee to protect the rights and interests of the commissioners.” Now Mr. Robinson was one of those who had received part of the money which be charged Mr. Jacomb with appropriating.

Mr. Robinson said the money be had received was only to defray his expenses, and he had done the work as cheaply as any one else would have done it He repudiated the idea that he charged Mr. Jacomb with acting dishonestly in any way whatever ; but there had been an extravagant expenditure, and he accused Mr. Jacomb with it He knew that Mr. Hinchliffe cared little for the feelings of others, and that it was a matter of indifference to him what charges he made against persons ; but he (Mr. Robinson) maintained that it was high time they should have a different system ; and he could only say that all the money he received when he went to London was £8 17s., and he had no doubt that Mr. Hinchliffe had received much larger sums for far less services.

Mr. D. Hinchliffe. — I did not say what amount yon had received, only that you had got a portion of the money.

Mr. Robinson. — If the funds had been properly husbanded £8 would not hava made much difference in the expenditure.

Several other commissioners having expressed their opinion that it would be better to leave the subject to an adjourned meeting,

The Chairman said he hoped they were all fully convinced that there were none in the meeting but what were desirous of having the business transacted for the benefit of the corporation, and on that account Mr. Robinson, it appeared, wished to pass a resolution. That being the case, he trusted they should all be ready to acquit Mr. Robinson of any desire to take an undue advantage. Mr. Robinson had been an auditor of the accounts, and it did appear to him (Mr. Robinson) that there was a surplus sum in the hands of the clerk. That being the case, it was thought that this money should not be appropriated until something further had been heard about it : and Mr. Robinson seemed to think that this money might be appropriated to the advantage of the company in paving its debts and otherwise economising the business, and that it would be desirous to have a change.

Mr. Butterworth was of opinion, that inasmuch as the accounts had not been sufficiently audited, and they had to hold an adjourned meeting to consider the accounts, it would be better to let Mr. Robinson’s motion stand over until then.

Mr. Robinson said he had no objection to leave the matter until the adjourned meeting, if it was the wish of the commissioners.

Mr. Floyd, who came into the room whilst the discussion was going on, said there ought to have been notice given to the commissioners that this matter was to have been brought before them. It was unfair not only to Mr. Jacomb but to the commissioners to take them by surprise in this way. On a question like this it was but reasonable that a general meeting should be called, and that each commissioner should have a proper notice of the subject that was to be brought before their consideration.

Mr. Robinson could not expect Mr. Jacomb to give notice of his own dismissal and of the appointment of another clerk in his place.

Mr. Floyd. — If there is a properly authorised meeting called, that meeting has power to pass any resolution ; and if it was the opinion of the meeting that another meeting should take into consideration the propriety of such a proposal as Mr. Robinson’s, then the thing would be fairly done. He therefore moved :—

“That the consideration of the matter stand over until the next meeting.”

Mr. Cuttell seconded the resolution, which was passed unanimously.

Mr. F. Jacomb then explained that Mr. Hall had not been able to complete his report ; and that, respecting the accounts, owing to the absence of the auditors in London, and a dispute as to the amount of Mr. Robinson’s rate, such accounts had not been finally audited.

A Commissioner suggested that these matters should be left to the adjourned meeting, and the following resolution was proposed :—

“It appearing that the committee appointed at the last meeting had not been able to complete the audit of the accounts, and also that Mr. J. Hall, the inspector under the act, had not been able to complete his report for the purpose of making a rate or rates for the current year ; it is resolved that this meeting be adjourned to Tuesday, the 18th of May next, to be held at this place at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, for the purposes aforesaid.”

The resolution was then put to the vote and passed, after which the meeting broke up.



State of Trade. — The state of the woollen trade in Holmfirth and the surrounding villages is exceedingly bad, indeed much worse for the season than it has been known for several years past Many mills are scarcely employed above half their time, numbers of unemployed operatives may be seen in groups at almost every turn, and it is feared their chance of being again employed for some time to come is not very promising ; we hope, however, a chance for the better will speedily ensue.



The Surveyors of Wooldale. — The surveyors of Wooldale were summoned for not paying the sum of £4 18s., expenses for refreshment incurred by a number of individuals in the township, who were employed to clear away the rubbish and wreck caused by the late flood. It appears that the relief committee had granted £10 the services of the ratepayers, and yet the surveyors refused to pay the £4 18s. The case was allowed to stand over for a week.