Johnson Cartwright (c.1840-1889)

This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project which aims to make content available to researchers in advance of the 175th anniversary of the 1852 Flood which will be commemorated in 2027.

Johnson Cartwright was one of the eleven 1852 Flood Orphans.


He was the son of clothier John Cartwright and his wife Mary.

In 1851, he was living with his widowed mother and siblings at Newtown, Holmfirth.

During the early hours of 5 February 1852, the failure of the Bilberry Reservoir embankment caused a torrent of water to flood down the Holme Valley. The Cartwright's home was flooded and widow Mary "had a very narrow escape from drowning" — she later died from typhoid fever, which she likely caught from from her son-in-law John Earnshaw.

The United Committee of Huddersfield and Holmfirth — "appointed for the collection and management of the funds for the relief of the sufferers by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir" — had appointed a subcommittee to investigate the circumstances of those orphaned by the flood. Johnson was awarded 3s. 6d. per week until he reached the age of 16.

In 1861, he was working as a wheelwright and boarding at a house in Thornhill. By 1871, he was a joiner lodging with his married sister Betty and her husband wool slubber Martin Hoyle. Also living in the house was his unmarried sister, Hannah Maria.

At the time of the 1881 Census, he was still working as a joiner and lodging at Rosebud House in North Leeds.

He died in March 1889 and was buried at Beckett Street Cemetery, Leeds, on 9 March.