Joseph Dodd (1807-1852)

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.

Joseph Dodd was an engineer who perished in the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


He was born on 30 March 1807 in Leeds, the son of joiner Thomas Dodd of Lady Lane, and was baptised on 26 April 1807 at St. Peter, Leeds.

By 1841, he was an engineer living at Hinchliffe Mill, apparently lodging in the house of carrier John Heely.

He married Hannah Hirst on 3 July 1842 at All Hallows, Almondbury.[1] They had two known children:

At the time of the 1851 Census, the family was residing on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill, and his occupation was recorded as "engineer".[4] His immediate neighbours were Mary Marsden and Jonathan Crosland.

At the time of his death, he was described as "low in stature, very thin, large nose, sandy hair and whiskers, bald on the top of the head".[5]


Joseph Dodd and his family were killed in the early hours of 5 February when the Bilberry Reservoir burst its embankment.

Charles Battye of Bottom's Mill testified at the inquest that he had visited the reservoir on the afternoon of 4 February. He returned to Holmfirth and called at Dodd's house to warn him that the water was only two feet from the top of the embankment. He left and told Joseph to look after himself, and he reportedly replied, "Nevermind, Charles."[6]

His body was eventually recovered from the river at Horbury Bridge on Saturday 28 February and he was buried on 3 March at the Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Chapel. The other members of his family had been buried there on 8 February.

Notes and References

  1. Both Joseph and Hannah gave their residence as Lockwood when they married, although there is seemingly no evidence that either of them were living there at the time.
  2. Born 23 November 1844 and baptised 25 December 1844 at Holy Trinity, Holmfirth.
  3. Born 28 August 1850 and baptised 6 October 1850 at Holy Trinity, Holmfirth.
  4. Reports of the flood also described him as a "steam tenter" which meant that he tended (or was responsible for looking after) the the steam engine in a mill.
  5. "Bodies Missing up to Thursday" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Feb/1852).
  6. Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Feb/1852).