James Bentley Crosland (1864-1894)

James Bentley Crosland was a manufacturer who was killed in 1894 when the floor of Sefton Mills, Meltham, collapsed during an auction.


He was born in May 1864, the son of Alderman James Crosland (1832-1913) and his wife Ann (née Bentley).

He went into partnership with his father at Paddock Foot Mills.

He married Jane Elizabeth Dickinson, daughter of Richard Dickinson, at the Kirkburton Parish Church in June 1891. They honeymooned in Derbyshire[1] and then moved to West Lynne, Gledholt, where their children were born:

  • Kathleen Mary Crosland (1893-1952)[2]
  • James Bentley Crosland (1894-1951)[3]

He was the president of the Huddersfield United Tennis Club.[4]

On 8 November 1894 he was attending a packed auction at Sefton Mills, Meltham, when the floor collapsed, causing between 30 to 40 people to fall into a muddy gasometer tank below. He was trapped face down in the mud under debris and died before he could be rescued.

According the newspaper reports, his body "body was not recognisable when found, owing to the thick sludge in which he had been immersed." Attempts to "restore animation" (i.e. resuscitate him) failed.[5] A month later, auctioneer James Waterhouse Taylor also died of his injuries.

At the inquest, it was reported that his brother Samuel Woodhead Crosland formally identified his body. After hearing evidence, a verdict of "accidental death" was returned.[6]

James Bentley Crosland was buried on 12 November at Edgerton Cemetery and a large number of mourners attended. His coffin was carried by eight employees of James Crosland and Sons of Paddock.[4]

Notes and References

  1. "Kirkburton" in Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jun/1891).
  2. Born 24 April 1893 and baptised on 22 June 1893 at All Hallows, Kirkburton . She married Joseph Frederick Burton in 1928. She died 1952 in Leeds, aged 57.
  3. Born 10 March 1894 and baptised on 6 March 1895, a few months after his father's death. He served in the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) during the First World War. He married Annie Beaumont on 20 September 1920 at St George, Brockholes. He died on 5 March 1951 at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, following an accident.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Funeral of Mr. J.B. Crosland" Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (13/Nov/1894).
  5. At the inquest, surgeon Arthur Mackenzie Hickley of Meltham, said that after Crosland's body had been found, he attempted artificial respiration for about 20 minutes despite the fact Crosland had probably been dead for 15 mnutes.
  6. "The Shocking Catastrophe at Meltham: Inquest and Verdict" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (13/Nov/1894).