Ipswich Journal (07/Feb/1852) - Floods and Loss of Life

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


A large reservoir of water, containing many thousand gallons, known as the Holme Reservoir, situate on a high piece of moorland, above the valley of the river Holme, a few miles from Huddersfield, became overcharged, and burst about one o'clock on Thursday morning, the flood carrying destruction and death in its course. The noise made by the bursting of the bounds of the reservoir was very loud, and the roar of the water in its destructive career down the sides of the hills and through the valley was tremendous. The reservoir was used for supplying several of the large woollen mills, and also, we believe, some of the household dwellings in the neighbourhood with water; and in the valley were some extensive woollen manufactories and the cottages of in any of the workpeople. In its mad career the water inundated one of these manufactories and upwards of 20 dwellings, overwhelming, as it were, by one fell swoop, not only the buildings, but the inhabitants, nearly all of whom were asleep in their beds, in one fearful doom. Altogether, the number of persons drowned is said to be 60 or upwards. Many of the bodies, as well as the furniture of the houses and other articles, were carried a considerable distance — some into the Holme, and thence into the Calder. The writer of this heard that the body of a woman, with a child in her arms, who had lost her life by this melancholy casualty, was found in the latter river, several miles from the scene of the catastrophe. Several persons narrowly escaped, and the scene presented when the buildings were falling beneath the flood, and scores of human beings were struggling with the pressure of the overwhelming waters, may be conceived, but cannot be described.

The place where the chief damage was done presents such a wreck as is rarely seen, and consternation and sorrow, created by the destruction of so many lives and the loss of so much property, are impressed upon all the inhabitants of the district.