Leeds Intelligencer (14/Feb/1852)
The edition carried three pages of articles relating to the Holmfirth Flood.
In general, spellings of places and names have been left as originally printed, even if inaccurate.
THE BURSTING OF THE BILBERRY RESERVOIR AND THE DELUGE OF HOLMFIRTH VALLEY.
GREAT LOSS OF LIFE AND DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
The dreadful catastrophe that occurred in the picturesque and thickly-inhabited valley of the Holme, shortly after midnight on the 4th instant, continues to engross a very large share of public attention. As the news spread that a mountain reservoir had burst its bounds, and in its impetuous and uncontrollable course for miles down a gorge or narrow valley had swept factories, with all their engines, machinery, and varied contents — dwelling-houses, with their sleeping inhabitants, fathers, mothers, children, — horses, cattle, and other animals, and every description of property found in a richly cultivated district, — all into one common ruin, — that churches and chapels had been invaded, the graves of the dead disturbed, and the busy haunts of the living, the well-stored shops and the comfortable hostels, ravaged and made desolate by the angry flood, — that toll-houses, bridges, and many other buildings had been destroyed or greatly injured, the information was either discredited or believed to be greatly exaggerated. But, alas! the facts were too true, the reality was worse than the report, and the devastation was more than the imagination had pictured. The full value of the property destroyed and the number of lives lost will probably never be satisfactorily ascertained, but an approximation to that end may be made. The estimate by men best able to form an opinion on the subject is, that it would take from £500,000 to £800,000 to cover the damage committed. The number of lives lost is upwards of 90, but the precise number is not known. There are difficulties in the way of ascertaining that fact: whole households were in a moment involved in one common fate, and called from time into eternity: and if even their names could be ascertained, there is no means of telling whether or not some stranger, friend, or visitor may not also have fallen a sacrifice with many of the families. It may be, too, that the whole of the dead bodies will never be found: some have been found at the distance of twelve or fifteen miles from the spot where they were overwhelmed; and it is within the range of probability that others may have been carried by the flood from the Holme to the Calder, from the Calder to the Humber, and from the Humber to the German Ocean.
As the details of this very lamentable visitation have become known, the sympathy as well as the curiosity of the public has been aroused. Hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants of the West Riding of Yorkshire and of Lancashire, and many from other counties and more distant places, have this week visited the scene of ibis tremendous tragedy, which will long hold a melancholy place in the memory of the present generation and in the pages of history. With promptitude and liberality worthy of the county and the country in which we live, a public subscription has been commenced for the purpose of giving relief to the distressed, and of affording some means for the restoration of those industrial pursuits that have so suddenly been suspended. The appeals which have been made to the public are receiving very cheering responses from all classes of the community. The operatives in Huddersfield and the neighbouring manufacturing villages, as well as the affluent manufacturers and merchants, and the clergy, professional men, and tradesmen, have shown that they not only pity their neighbours of Holmfirth, but that they also will do their best to give them relief. The example of Huddersfield may well be followed in Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, and every town in the West Riding. Indeed, we heartily concur in the appeal winch has been made to the nation at large. At the same time, we think it can hardly be expected that any but the affluent of distant places out of Yorkshire and the adjoining comities will contribute to the fund now commenced with so much generosity. But we say to all, give according to your means, and as your hearts prompt.
Our account of the awful event last week was necessarily imperfect, owing to the confusion and uncertainty which still prevailed on the scene of the calamity up to the time of our latest information yesterday week; and, though the narrative thrown together by our reporter was graphic and clear in its description of the catastrophe itself and of its harrowing traces, the public anxiety to learn more is still painfully excited. Many applications also have been made for copies of last Saturday's Intelligencer since the whole of our impression was exhausted. We therefore feel assured that we shall gratify our readers, if we present to them such a narrative of facts as we have been able to collect from various sources and from the visits of our reporter, during the present week, to the valley of the Holme and the source of the devastation. We commence with a brief description of
THE VALLEY OF THE HOLME.
Holmfirth is situate full six miles to the south of Huddersfield. The valley in which it is situate runs up to the range of hills which are known by the name of the Backbone of England. The valley is deep and narrow, and it is in the most narrow part of it that the main of the town is placed, the buildings lining each side of the small river Holme, and then rising on abrupt and steep hill sides at Holmfirth. The one valley receives the streamlets from two other valleys, wild and abrupt in the extreme, and running up to the hills known as the Isle of Skye and Holme Moss. One of these streamlets in known as the Digley stream, and the other as the Ribbleden stream. In the whole of these valleys, like to others in the Huddersfield district, there have been erected mills for the manufacture of woollen cloths, the water power of the several streams being made available almost wherever possible. The district is densely populated, a great portion of the woollen cloths of Yorkshire being manufactured in these several valleys. As the water for the mills situate upon the upper portion of the river Holme and its tributaries was apt to fail in the summer lime, and thus put a stop to manufacturing operations, it became desirable to stone up, as it were, the spare floods of the winter for the supply, as circumstances called for, in the dry months of summer. Hence the formation of three large, reservoirs — the Bilberry, the Holmestyes, and the Boa Shaw. We are not aware as to what extent the reservoirs have been used, or how much water has been received out of them; but on Monday one of the persons at Bilberry Mill told us that there had been a tolerably good supply of water for the last three summers.
This reservoir, the bursting of which has caused the vast destruction under notice, is distant about a mile (west) from Holmbridge, and about three miles (west-south-west) from Holmfirth. by the road. It is situated in the midst of high lands and hills, the mosses and moors of that wild part of Yorkshire, lying in a ravine between Harden Moss and Flat Moss, on the north, Dean Head Moss on the west, and Holme Moss on the south. The reservoir is long and narrow, lying east and west; its westerly or upper end being forked, as it is fed from mountain streams, pouring through Shape Clough, and Dean Clough (divided by Reap Hill), which combine to form Marsden Clough, bringing the waters from Dean Heap Moss and Flat Moss; and others, through Isaac's Clough, deriving their waters from Holme Moss and the adjacent hills and moors. The two great cloughs through which the reservoir is mainly fed, are separated by a long narrow ridge called Good Bent, the easterly end of which, stretching to the reservoir itself, makes the fork at its west or upper end. The reservoir, from its easterly or lower end, delivers its waters into the Digley stream which making a conflux with other streams at Holmfirth forms the river Holme, which, subsequently uniting with the Colne, the joint streams empty themselves into the Calder, north of Huddersfield. About the middle of Holmfirth the Holme also joins the Ribble. As the hills that form the sides of the reservoir slope considerably in their rise, of course the measurement of water surface will depend upon the height of the water in the reservoir. When the water is low it has been reckoned at eleven acres; when high, twenty acres.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE RESERVOIR, &c,
The act incorporating the commissioners of the Holme reservoirs was passed in the 7th Wm. IV. and received the royal assent on the 8th June, 1837. The preamble recites that there are many mills, &c. situate on or near the line or course of the flowing of the waters of the Holme and Colne, and of other streams in the West Riding of Yorkshire, flowing into the same; that the supply or water to such mills, &c., was very irregular, and during the summer months frequently insufficient for effectually working the wheels, engines, &c., in connection with the same; and that the irregularity and deficiency might be greatly remedied by the construction of an embankment on the Digley Brook, at Bilberry Mill, and at seven other points named. The commissioners to be appointed under the act were ordered to be millowners, or owners or occupiers of falls of water in the district, of the annual value of £100 a year and upwards. Powers were given to raise, by subscription. £40,000; and the commissioners subsequently erected three reservoirs only, at a cost £70,000, — £30,000 having been raised by mortgage, this being the maximum fixed by the borrowing clauses. The other reservoirs constructed were Holm Styes and Bo Shaw Whams. The contract for the Bilberry reservoir was let to Messrs. Sharp and Sons, of Dewsbury, in 1840; but the contract was broken off before the work was completed, in consequence of proved defect in the foundations laid. This defect was supposed to arise from a spring of water under the embankment, which rendered the puddling ineffectual; and there was a leakage underneath, in proportion to the pressure of water in the reservoir, causing the embankment to settle down unequally. A chancery suit was commenced against the commissioners in consequence of this termination of the contract, and it has not yet been decided. The works were subsequently re-let to Messrs. David Porter and Brothers; and Mr. Leather, the engineer made a report as to the best means of rectifying the injury done by the spring. In compliance with this recommendation, a coffer-dam was sunk through the embankment to the spring, and other steps taken, which it was believed would prove effectual. The general impression in the neighbourhood was that no advantage had resulted from this; but the embankment was completed in 1843. A dispute next arose with the millowners as to the interpretation clauses of the act, which it was contended were unjustly applied; and the dispute was complicated by its being discovered that the 59th clause directed the rate to be levied at so much per foot of fall, while the 62nd said it should be levied according to the degree of advantage derived by the millowners and others respectively. Much litigation ensued — the payment of rates was very generally refused, pending the settlement of the disputed point — the commissioners became without funds — and the dilapidation of the embankment continued to increase, no repairs being done to it. The solicitors to the commissioners were several times changed; on each change attempts were made to obtain an amendment act for defining the rating powers more clearly; but there was great opposition, much money being spent by the millowners, and although exertions were made in the session of 1850, if not in that of 1851, no bill was obtained. And thus the matter rested, as to the commissioners. — We now come to the dangerous state of the embankment, which is said to have continued from the first. The embankment was from 120 yards to 150 yards long, and 86 foot 7 inches high. Towards the south end of the embankment, a circular well, of finished stone, was carried through it into a semi-circular water-course, through which water has continually flowed. The top of this well or funnel was originally below the level of the embankment, and it was calculated that the water would flow into it after reaching a certain height, and be then discharged into the water-course, by means of a valve worked by a screw inside the well. It is said that some time since the masonry of the well became much twisted, in consequence of some obstruction at the bottom, and that the valve could not be lifted; and this certainly appears to have been the case just before the accident. A statement is made that two years since a mason was directed by some of the mill-owners to make a hole in the side of the well, so as to let off water before it had risen to the top; but that the commissioners interfered and prevented this being done. Whether this be true or not, there seems to be perfect unanimity in Holmfirth as to the fact that on the south side, over the spring, there has for at least several years, been a serious sinking of the embankment, which went on until the top of the bank was brought on a level with the top of the well, if not below it; thus rendering one precautionary measure useless. There is no very precise account as to the point at which the embankment first gave way on Thursday morning, but all accounts fix it as within the sunken part; and when once the water had commenced to run over there, it appears to have gradually percolated through the under part, until about 60 or 80 yards of it, extending to the very foundation, was carried out in a mass, and the torrent rushed into the valley. A great and previous sinking is evident in the part remaining on the south side; and there the bank certainly does not seem to be above the top of the well. — We refrain from expressing any opinion at present, upon the statements we have just given; but as it would appear that the immediate cause of the catastrophe was the state of the sluice-gates, which could not be raised, so as to let the water escape through them gradually and safely, we print from the Holme Reservoirs Act of 1837 the 86th clause, which distinctly fixes the responsibility "of the entire management and regulation of the sluices":—
- That for the purpose of regulating and insuring the supply of water from the said several and respective reservoirs for the use of the mills, factories, dyehouses, and other premises upon the said several and respective streams, rivulets, or brooks and rivers, the said commissioners shall, and they are hereby required, at their first meeting after the completion of the said several and respective reservoirs and works, or any of them, or before the completion thereof, or any of them, when the same or any of them shall become useful, though only partially completed, and at their general annual meeting in each succeeding year, to appoint twelve of the said commissioners, of whom four shall be both owners and occupiers, and eight shall be occupiers only and not owners of the said falls (in case there shall be so many of such characters from time to time capable of and willing to accept the office, but in case there shall not be so many of either of the said characters respectively capable of and willing to accept the office, then the deficiency shall be made up from the other of the said characters) as a committee who (subject to the direction of the general or adjourned meeting of the commissioners) shall have the entire management and regulation of the said sluices and other works for regulating and ensuring such supply of water, and shall have the power of regulating at all times the flow of water from the said several and respective reservoirs, so as best to insure at all times, by day and night, a constant and regular supply of water in the said several and respective streams, rivulets, or brooks and rivers, for the use of the said mills, factories, dyehouses, and other premises; provided always, that such a flow of water from the said several and respective reservoirs shall be so regulated as that the quantity or such water which shall be allowed to flow in the night-time (such night-times to be computed from eight of the clock in the evening to six of the clock in the morning), shall always be one half at least of the quantity which, under such regulations shall be allowed to flow therefrom in the day-time; and for enabling the said committee more effectually to accomplish this object, such committee are hereby authorised and empowered to appoint a proper person or proper persons as keepers of the said reservoirs and works, with competent salaries (to be paid by the said commissioners or their treasurer, on producing an order for payment from the said committee) for the protection and management of the said reservoirs, and works connected therewith, or any of them, who shall be entirely under their authority, and shall constantly reside in the dwelling-home or dwelling-houses to be built or provided near the said reservoirs, or some of them as aforesaid.
Amidst the general wreck of property along the streams and river, and especially at Holmfirth, there is a general anxiety to know whether the reservoir commissioners are not legally liable to give compensation to all parties whose property has been destroyed by the breaking down of an embankment. The legal responsibility and liability of the commissioners is very distinctly set forth in the 89th clause of their act of 1837 :—
- That if any person being a commissioner under this act, or any other person, shall sustain any damages in his lands or property, by reason of the execution of any of the powers given by this act, or by reason of the breaking down of any of the embankments, or any of the works hereby authorised to he mode, or if any public bridge or the road belonging to the same, shall bo thereby destroyed or damaged, then in every such case, full compensation and satisfaction shall be made by the said commissioners for all such damages; and in case of non-payment of the amount of such damages, for the space of thirty days next after the same shall be demanded, the same shall and may be recovered, together with full costs of suit by action of debt or on the case or by the plaint or information in any of his Majesty’s courts of record at Westminster.
THE COURSE OF THE DESTRUCTION.
Although we last week gave a summary account of the chief damage done by the flood of water in its course of might through the narrow, precipitate valley of the Holme, we deem it advisable, us we have intimated above, to repeat some of the information already laid before our readers, with such additional facts as we have been able to collect. That the Bilberry reservoir was in an unsafe state had been long known to the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, and that the embankment, or portions of it, would be washed away after some heavy rain like that which fell on Tuesday and Wednesday in last week, had been expected by many; but none seemed to think that the whole body of water would be let out in almost a moment of time, and, as a gigantic upright wall, moving with immense rapidity, carry every obstruction before it. Some few persons had removed part of their families, furniture, and goods, under the impression that they were in imminent danger; and persons had been set to watch the progress of the quickly-increasing waters within the reservoir. The water — which in addition to the momentum of its own immense bulk — would receive an accelerated and increased force from the bleak wind blowing down upon it through the valleys at the head of the reservoir — began to wash away the top of the embankment crossing the valley (or the gulph as it was expressively called by a Holmfirth man in our presence), about eleven o’clock at night. The operation was a comparatively gentle one at first, but it soon increased in power; and the people watching on the banks the progress of the flood saw there was a vast danger impending, and they hastened to give all the alarm in their power to the inhabitants in the valley. Their efforts were not without beneficial effect, but the flood came with infinitely more power than was anticipated and swept all before it.
The town of Holmfirth, which is built on both banks of the river, and connected by bridges, has a population of six thousand, most of whom were of course in bed at one o'clock in the morning, and the only warning given was by a few of the watchers, who started off when it was seen that the reservoir was really about to burst its bounds; running down the riverside, shouting, casting stones through bedroom windows, and startling people from their sleep as best they could. But even this brief and imperfect warning (alas! never heard by many) only extended to the entrance of Holmfirth nearest the reservoir; for there the flood overtook the warners themselves, and was its own fearful herald of destruction and death. The great outbreak of the water occurred about one o’clock on Thursday morning, and the whole destruction from Bilberry Mill, situated in a sheltered nook (on the right bank of the stream looking downward), just below the reservoir, to the entrance of the town of Holmfirth, was done in about 15 minutes. The scenes which occurred along the valley never could be described in all their sickening and heart-rending fulness; the rain was falling heavily, and the streets crowded with people; while along the banks hundreds were rushing madly about in their night dresses, seeking their friends or bewailing their losses. There were not, however, wanting many of those who, at the risk of their lives, did all that was possible to rescue the poor drowning creatures, who were generally seen tossing on the flood, but only to be washed by in an instant.
The property over which the torrent first rushed was Bilberry Mill, a woollen manufactory, as we have indicated, worked by the executors of Messrs. Broadley and Whiteley. It was a stone building of three stories, and about 20 yards in length, with a cottage next its river gable, occupied by Charles Batty, the fuller. The greater portion of the mill, with its heavy iron machinery, and the entire cottage, were swept away, and the property was utterly wrecked in a few moments. Batty had been so impressed with the conviction that a fearful catastrophe was impending, that he had sent his wife and family away from the house, and had even removed his furniture, but he saw the latter washed away from the spot upon which he had removed it for safety. The cottage occupied by the engineer, Joseph Charlesworth, at the other end of the mill, has escaped. The damage at this mill is estimated at £1000. Some idea of the force of the torrent may be gathered from the fact, that for a considerable distance on the valley side of this mill the ground, has been covered eight or nine feet deep with stones, earth, and rubbish, principally the remains of the embankment. This debris blocked up the ground fully as high as the second floor of the manufactory, the front wall of which was washed away. Charles Batty informed us, when we visited the spot on Monday last, that there was a stone bridge either destroyed by the flood, or covered with the stones and other wreck, just in front of the house. He said that the water in the reservoir, between eight o’clock on Wednesday morning and five o'clock in the afternoon, rose 13 or 14 feet, and continued to rise till the terrific burst of the embankment and the instant liberation of this mountain lake took place. The rain continued to fall until between 11 and 12 o'clock at night. At the time of the great catastrophe, the moon shone out, the rain had ceased, but there was a piercing, shrieking wind, that appeared to herald the leviathan of destruction as it bounded forth on its mad career, forming in its destructive progress "a very hell of waters."
MR. FURNISS'S MIDDLE DIGLEY MILL.
This woollen manufactory, with the dwelling-house, barn, mistal, &c., situated about 300 yards lower down the stream than Bilberry Mill, next suffered from the fury of the torrent. Mrs. Furniss and Mrs. L. Furniss and families, and two men named Thomas Miles and William Crompton, who were in possession of the property on the part of the Leeds District Bankruptcy Court, had a very narrow escape: they had to be roused out of bed, and had not time to dress, but in their trousers took to their heels, and before they could reach the high ground a few hundred yards off they were up to the middle in water. In the mill itself considerable damage is done to the machinery. All the lower storey was completely gutted, and the front of the mill was strewn with long lengths of woollen pieces, and with broken machinery. In this mill a man who had been bedridden for several weeks, and also his family of three children remain unhurt The ordinary stream of Upper Digley Mill seems to be only some four yards wide, but the water from the reservoir covered several acres of land many feet deep; and the ground is now so deeply covered with sand and loose stones, (many of the latter of immense size,) that it is doubtful whether it will ever be deemed a profitable work to have them removed.
MRS. HIRST'S, LOWER DIGLEY MILL.
The valley where this mill was erected narrows itself, and the principal building (60 yards square and four stories high) formed a barrier across the river; but on swept the flood; and such was its power that it carried away mansion, mill, dye-house, outbuildings, and nine cottages, in fact, with the single exception of the chimney, not a vestige of that noble property remains to tell the sad tale of its utter destruction. Mrs. Hirst has lost everything, including a considerable sum of money which she had in the house. Here the loss sustained will not be less than £20,000. Happily no lives were lost at this place. Mrs. Hirst was warned in time; but either from terror or from a disbelief in the impending peril, did not leave her house till compelled. Mrs. Hirst, with a married daughter and the servants, only escaped from the house in time to see it, with all the mill buildings, disappear in a body. Upwards of 100 workpeople have been thrown out of employment by the destruction of the works.
MESSRS. ROEBUCK’S, BANK-END MILL.
The Bank-end Woollen Mill, the property or at least, in the occupation of Messrs. John and William Roebuck, stood about half a mile below the reservoir, on the left banks of the river Holme. It was a substantial four-storey building of stone with one end abutting on the river. A portion of this end (some yards in breadth) has been carried away; the iron spinning mules and weaving-1ooms being torn asunder, and left projecting from the ruin. The sharpness with which so large a portion of this structure has been cut off, would hardly be credited except on viewing the ruins; and it almost leads to a belief that there is some truth in the assertion that a very large portion of the Digley Mill was brought down in a body and carried against this mill. The lower storey is a complete wreck, and most of the machinery there has disappeared. The narrowest part of the valley is that in which the Digley Mill stood; indeed it was here altogether filled by the buildings, except where a narrow road, the river, and a mill-race passed along; and this will account for the total destruction of the property.
HOLMEBRIDGE. — THE CHURCH, &c.
This bridge is nearly all destroyed, the church-yard wall was swept away, and several of the coffins in the graves were dislodged, and great damage done to the graves. Two coffins were floated into a field 100 yards off. The flooring and pewing of the church were raised by the water and injured. Immediately after the subsiding of the flood, the church-yard was to a great extent covered with machinery, cloth, yarn, furniture, stones, hay, and various other articles. When we visited this church on Monday last, a good deal of the wreck had been removed, but the whole site was one of a melancholy character and bore the most unmistakeable signs of the late visitation. Fortunately at this part, the valley is considerably wider than it is above, and to that circumstance the preservation of the sacred edifice may be attributed. We have received the following letter from the late incumbent of Holmebridge Church:—
- Southampton, 7th Feb., 1852,
- Please to send me a copy of your paper containing the account of the Bilberry reservoir catastrophe. I would not build my schools low in the valley, as that unfinished work was always regarded by me with fears and suspicion. The papers here say nothing of the fate of my late Church, which I fear must have been swept away.
- I am, your obliged servant,
- Eldred Woodland,
- Rector of St. Lawrence late Incumbent of Holme Bridge.
We now come to the loss of human life; but as we gave the main facts at this part of our narrative last week, we only now refer to a few particulars. Hinchliffe Mills are the property of Messrs. Joseph, Edward, and Thos. Butterworth, and stand a mile and a half below the Bilberry reservoir, on the right bank of the river, upon a firm, rocky foundation, and escaped destruction; but the water forced its way through the windows of the first and second stories, and probably has here destroyed and damaged property to the value of £500. On the opposite side of the river stood Water Street, which was almost close to and parallel with the banks of the stream. One block of six cottages here, together with all their inmates, were washed away, scarcely a stone remaining to show that there had ever been dwellings there; and at this point alone, 38 or 40 lives were lost. Several persons about this part had very narrow escapes for their lives, some instances of which we related last week.
At this place also were drowned in the house a man named Booth, his wife, and a lodger named William Heely. The bodies of these three, also a mother and her child, who were also drowned in their houses, and two children who had been picked out of the stream, were taken to the New Inn, where they were placed side by side.
HINCHCLIFFE UPPER MILL, HARPIN'S FACTORY, VICTORIA MILL, DYSON'S MILL, &c.
Hinchliffe Upper Mill, the property of Messrs. Joseph Eastwood and Thomas Butterworth, has also been considerably damaged on the ground floor and in the second storey, but no part of the building appears to have been washed down. The whole extent of the mill was barricaded with broken machinery and furniture, and large pieces of timber and trees, up to the sill of the third row of windows.
The next building in the valley is Bottom Mills, but more commonly called Harpin's Factory. The valley here again becomes wide, consequently this mill has suffered little. In the reservoir or dam of this mill several of the bodies washed from Hinchcliffe Mill were found. Here also a young man from the same quarter escaped with his life after a hard struggle. He was washed down with the cottages, and found himself in the dam of Bottoms Mill, and succeeded in reaching the side, and getting up to a house on the hill side, when he was placed in bed and medical aid obtained. His name is James Metternich. His father, mother, and seven children were taken down the stream, all being lost but himself. The next building is the Victoria Woollen Mill, belonging to the representatives of the late Mr. J. Harpin. It was flooded and a good deal of damage sustained. Four cottages on the opposite bank were swept away, but the inhabitants had fortunately quitted them, to seek safety elsewhere. On the same bank, at this point, is Messrs. Dyson's woollen mill, occupied by Messrs. Roberts and Sandford. It was flooded, and a good deal of property destroyed. The engineer, Mr. Jonathan Sandford, lived in a cottage by the side of the hill. It was swept away, and he, with his two children and a servant girl, perished in the flood. The bridge also, which was built to cross the stream, was forced down to the general wreck. The torrent then made its way to
Where great destruction, both of life and property, ensued, as we particularly mentioned last week. We may now briefly state — coming to Prickleton, the torrent first encountered the extensive dyeworks of Messrs. G. Farrar and Co. on the left bank of the river, called Farrar’s Upper Mill; these, together with another building containing spinning machinery, are completely washed away. The next works were Farrar's Lower Mill, which consists of the scribbling, spinning, and weaving mill of Mr. Jas. H. Farrar, of which the bulk was on the right side of the stream, although some of the buildings were on the left. The engine-house, and a powerful engine, together with large boilers, were swept away as though they were mere sticks; the water flooded two stories of the mill, upsetting machinery, and damaging every portion of it on the two floors, and a considerable portion of the building on the left side of the stream has been washed away. Supposing the water to have been high enough only to cover the second floor of this mill, it must here have reached a height of at least four or five yards above the banks, and eight yards above the bed of the river. Here also the water swept through a row of fourteen cottages, known by the name of Scar Fold. The buildings consisted of two-storey cottages fronting to the river, with a second row of two storey cottages on the top of them, fronting the opposite way, and on a level with the highway. From the lower tier of cottages the occupants of the first escaped, in the second, Richard Woodcock, aged 18, and his sister, aged 14, were drowned. The father and mother and two children broke a way through into the houses above and escaped. In another of these houses Joseph Halliwell's wife and five children all perished; but he escaped in the second storey by floating on the top of his weaving-loom til the water went down. The furniture of the poor people in all these cottages were wrecked, and those who escaped with life had nothing left but their night clothes. Near the middle of Holmfirth, at Upper Bridge, the flood burst through the Elephant and Cattle public-house, and made a complete wreck of the furniture, but the occupants escaped. The battlements of the bridge were entirely destroyed. A three-storey house adjoining the bridge, with its owner, Mr. Haner Bailey, tailor, and his wife and two children, were all swept away. Mr. Bailey was afterwards rescued, but Mrs. Bailey and the children perished. The next house, occupied by Mr. John Hepworth, was partly destroyed, but he and his family escaped. On the opposite side of the river to these is a street called the Hollow Gate. A row of three storey houses and shops here was gutted, and the occupants arc very severe losers. Mr. McClellan, bookseller, &c., occupied one of them, and his entire stock-in-trade was swept out of the shop by the flood, not leaving him a shilling's worth. The doors, window, window shutters, and everything was swept from the front of the building, Mrs. Woodhead, grocer; Mr. Abraham Hayley, grocer; Mr. Henry Swyer, clogger; Mr. Briggs, greengrocer ; and Mr. Joel Haigh, draper, who are the other occupants of these shops, all shared in the destruction of their property, but they and their families escaped with life. In fact the debris of ruined houses and properly here choked up the bed of the river, diverted the current, and Hollowgate Street was the channel for the waters of the Holme. The tollgate and tollhouse on the opposite side of Hollowgate, close to the river, were swept away, and the gatekeeper, Samuel Greenwood, together with his wife and child were carried away with the house, and all perished. Mr. Parsons, a clogger, had his house gutted, but escaped with his family by the back door. The premises of Messrs. Crawshaw and Son, carriers, were swept away, together with a cottage in which a servant, who had charge of the premises, resided. The servantman, his wife and children all perished. A cottage adjoining these premises, in which John Kay resided, was also swept away. Kay and his family were also carried down with the flood, but a stick was held out to him from a window which he seized, and be was rescued. His daughter, grandchild, and another member of his family, however, perished. Mr. H. Firth’s shop was carried away, but he and his family escaped. On the left bank of the river, the drying stove, warehouse, barn, and stabling of Mr. Joshua Morris, were destroyed; loss about £3000. The battlements of Victoria Bridge were next carried away. The houses and shops in Victoria Street were almost gutted, some of them losing stock to the amount of from £500 to £1000. The sufferers include Mr. Joshua Woodcock, draper; Mr. Robert Gutteridge, confectioner; Mr. John Hargreaves, shoemaker; Mr. Dyson, druggist; Mr. Edward Williamson, draper; Mr. Charles Bocock, grocer; Mr. Lawson, tinner; Mr. Harrison, grocer. Some cottages at Higgin Bridge, in Holmfirth, were flooded, and in one of them an old man, named James Lee, was found drowned. A number of shops were also here completely gutted. The River Ribble here falls into the Holme. The church of Holmfirth was flooded, hut no great damage done. We could give a list of more than 30 shops, the owners of which sustained great lost. Messrs. Thewlis and Bower, spinners and dyers, sustained damage to the extent of over £2000 we were informed. Sidney Hartley, who slept on the premises, was carried away and drowned. Richard Shackleton, his wife, and children, also living on the premises, were swept away with their cottage, and perished. The wool warehouse of Mr. John Wood was swept away. On one side of the stream at Holmfirth stands the church, with its graveyard; directly opposite is the Methodist Chapel, with its graveyard. The graveyard of the first, which is on a steep incline to the river, was flooded to the depth of several yards. The yard of the Methodist Chapel lay lower, but still on an incline, and several corpses in this latter ground were washed down the stream, some of which were afterwards found in the fields below Holmfirth, and others at a village some six miles away, called Berry Brow. The Methodist Chapel was flooded several feet deep and the damage done to the floor and pews is considerable. Near to this place stood a mill lately the property of Mr. Charlesworth. In consequence of a dispute concerning the height of the dam, the owner suffered an imprisonment of 29 years, and after his liberation the case was tried and his view of the dispute which led to that long imprisonment found to be correct. Now, however, all cause for dispute is ended, for the dam is swept away, and the mill has sustained damage to the amount of £6000! All the property on each side of the stream for a considerable distance below Holmfirth suffered immense injury. At Smithy-place, near to Honley, the life of a child was sacrificed by the flood. Its father was endeavouring to save his family, four in number, and was battling with the stream with a child under each arm. A floating substance struck one from his grasp and it was hurried away with the torrent.
Below Holmfirth the valley widens, and the buildings and factories are more scattered and distant, and the velocity and power of the torrent would thereby be considerably diminished, but its direful and devastating effects may he distinctly traced over acres and acres of land on each side of the stream as far as Lockwood, — ten miles below the Bilberry reservoir.
PROCEEDINGS AFTER THE FLOOD.
As soon as possible on Thursday morning, the magistrates and other influential inhabitants of the town and district of Holmfirth proceeded to take such steps as the emergencies of the case required. Numbers of persons were set to search for the bodies of the drowned, and many others to clear the streets, which were rendered impassible by the mud and wreck deposited in them, and means for relieving the pressing necessities of the surviving sufferers, were set on foot. Sixty bodies were discovered in the course of Thursday, and five more on Saturday. A cashbox, containing £500, had also been picked out of the debris thrown together in the track of the destructive torrent. The magistrates met, and determined to open subscriptions, and men were placed in the streets with boxes to collect subscriptions from strangers. From the latter source a considerable sum has been raised, almost every one of the vast multitudes of persons who have every day since the 5th instant visited Holmfirth having given something to the collectors.
HOLMFIRTH, SATURDAY, FEB. 7.
The appearance of Holmfirth, yesterday morning, contrasted strongly with that which was presented on the preceding day, and though the havoc and desolation of the flood were still evident in every quarter of the town and district, it was by no means presented in a form so frightful and terrific. The indefatigable labours of Mr. Superintendent Heaton, of the county constabulary, and of Mr. Superintendent Thomas and Inspector Brier, of the Huddersfield borough police, and Constable Earnshaw, assisted by the special constables and scavengers, had accomplished much beyond what might have been anticipated, and their exertions are deserving of all praise.
Yesterday morning the following notice was issued, and it will be seen, from the early hour at which it bears date, that the local authorities were most prompt in their proceedings:—
- Thursday. 5th Feb., 1852, 4 o'clock, a.m.
- The Holmfirth magistrates request the respectable inhabitants of Holmfirth and vicinity to meet them immediately, at the house of Mr. Charlesworth, Eldon House, for the purpose of taking necessary steps for the protection of property and such other measures as may be needful, in consequence of the awful calamity which has this morning happened, in Holmfirth, by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir.
- Josh. Charlesworth.
- Josa. Moorhouse.
In accordance with this notice, a large number of the respectable inhabitants assembled at Eldon House, and were sworn in as special constables, after which such measures were taken as would be likely to prevent confusion, and forward the removal of the rubbish from the streets. These labours were continued up to dark on Thursday night, being resumed with vigour at an early hour yesterday morning, and were prosecuted energetically throughout the day.
OPENING OF THE CORONER'S INQUISITION ON THE BODIES.
Yesterday, at noon, Mr. Dyson, the coroner for this division of the county, arrived at Holmfirth, and at once proceeded to the Town Hall, for the purpose of formally opening the inquest on 59 of the bodies up to that time rescued, in order that interment might take place as speedily as possible. At an early hour in the morning the jury commenced their duty of inspecting the bodies, a task which compelled them to travel over several miles of ground, the bodies lying in all directions from Holmfirth to Armitage Bridge; and it was near two o'clock before they had completed this sad office. After some little time permitted them for refreshment, the jury met the coroner at the Town Hall, about half-past three, and answered to their names in the following order:—
- Mr. Godfrey Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge, Foreman.
- Mr. Thomas Mellor, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
- Mr. Thomas Moorhouse, gentleman, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Thomas Dyson, manufacturer, Thongsbridge.
- Mr. James Brooke, manufacturer, Bridge Mill, Holmfirth.
- Mr. W. D. Martin, clock and watch maker, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joseph Crawshaw, saddler, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Charles Taylor, linen draper, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joshua Moorhouse, shopkeeper, Holmfirth.
- Mr. John Burton, Schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Richard Bower, manufacturer, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Joseph Crosland, bookseller, Holmfirth.
- Mr. John Wylie, schoolmaster, Holmfirth.
- Mr. James Horncastle, gentleman, Holmfirth.
- Mr. Thomas Hinchliffe, manufacturer, Upperthong.
- Mr. Ralph Carter, manufacturer, Upperthong.
- Mr. David Brook, manufacturer, Burnlee.
The Coroner then, in his address to the jury, expressed the sorrow he felt in having to meet them on so melancholy an occasion, and where, the confined locality considered, the visitation had been of the most awfully destructive character, he then added that he did not that day propose to go into the evidence, — for in fact, amid such melancholy evidences of destruction around them, no material evidence, bearing on the case, could be collected in so short a time — but he was desirous that the jury should go and inspect the reservoir, that they then adjourn to some future day — that in the meantime the reservoir be properly examined by competent men, and that Government should be communicated with, in order that they might, if they saw fit, send down a competent engineer on their behalf, to make an inspection and watch the proceedings. This he thought was only fair and just between the public — who had so awfully suffered, on the one hand, and the proprietors of these reservoirs on the other, the latter of whom would thus have an opportunity of giving any explanation, and of satisfying their neighbours as to what measures of precaution they had taken in the past; and that at all events, through this means, they might hope to reassure the inhabitants of this valley that they might rest secure from such awful calamities in the future.
The jury concurred in the view taken by the coroner, and, after some further consultation in which they agreed to inspect the reservoir next afternoon, the inquest was adjourned until half-past ten, a.m, on Wednesday the 18th inst.
MEETING AT HOLMFIRTH ON SATURDAY.
The three acting magistrates — Mr. Joshua Moorehouse, Mr. Wm. Leigh Brooke, and Mr. John Charlesworth, issued a notice, for a meeting of the inhabitants of Holmfirth, to take into consideration the propriety of raising a subscription for the surviving sufferers. The meeting was held at the Crown Inn, on Saturday evening. Amongst those present were Mr. J. Charlesworlh, Mr. W. L. Brooke, Mr. Joshua Moorhouse, the Rev. R. E. Leech, the Rev. T. G. Fearon, Mr. Sidney Moorhouse, Mr. J. Littlewood, Mr. Martin Kidd, Mr. G. Tinker, Mr. S. Tinker, Mr. J. Firth, Mr. John Hixon, Mr. Charles Brooke, jun., Mr. T. Charlesworth, Mr. F. Littlewood, Mr. Henry Booth, and Mr. Joseph Turner.
Mr. W. L. BROOKE (who was in the chair), said he considered that this was one of the most important meetings ever held in Holmfirth, when they reflected upon the serious and disastrous nature of the calamity which had befallen the town and neighbourhood, the great sacrifice of human life, and the serious loss of property. And it must be remembered that mill property had been destroyed on which their artisans had depended for their daily bread. The effects of the calamity were not confined merely to the mills destroyed and to the loss of life — but he feared that they would be felt in the district for years to come. For some months numbers of the artisans would be thrown penniless on the wide world; and he therefore hoped that something would be done for them. A small subscription would be of little avail; something must be done on a large scale. He trusted they came there that night prepared to subscribe liberally, and show that the inhabitants of the district were desirous of doing all in their power to mitigate the distress which had befallen their neighbours; otherwise, how could they expect that feeling to be echoed throughout the length and breadth of the land? (Hear, hear.)
Mr. TURNER said he had been deputed by the meeting held at Huddersfield, in the afternoon, to announce that a public meeting would be held in that town, at seven o’clock on Monday evening, and that £1000 had already been subscribed for the benefit of the unfortunate sufferers. One individual, who was intimately connected with that neighbourhood, a man whose generosity on all occasions was universally admired, had in the most princely manner subscribed £500. Mr. Schwann, another gentleman well known for his liberality, had given £200; and Mr. Willans, £100; besides which, many gentlemen had subscribed smaller same. He had been requested by the Huddersfield committee to invite those gentlemen who were taking so active a part in the movement at Holmfirth, to meet them at five o’clock on Monday evening, at Huddersfield, previous to the public meeting, and to furnish as much statistical information as they were able with respect to the estimated loss of life and property, how long the people were likely to be out of employment, and the mode of relief which they suggested. The committee thought that the business would thus be greatly facilitated. (Applause.)
The Rev. T. G. FEARON said he felt that an occasion like the present there was little need to invoke the sympathies of the meeting. To use many words would be rather to reduce the impression produced, he hoped, by the noble example set them by Huddersfield (Hear, hear.) He felt that it was a time for deeds and not for words. The moor they reflected on the calamity, the more disastrous it appeared. At first sight, the loss of life was heartrending; but when they considered the loss which the survivors must feel for some months to come, they must feel with still greater intensity the extant of the catastrophe. There was every reason to hope that not only Huddersfield, but other parts of the district, would share in the public sympathy. He might state, with regard to gentlemen he had seen — clergymen from neighbouring counties had expressed great sympathy, and were ready to stir up the minds of their people — (hear, hear) — in aid of their distressed fellow countrymen. For six or eight months to come, there would probably be no adequate supply of labour for those who had been deprived of the means of earning a subsistence; and during that time they must depend for support on the assistance of their countrymen. He believed that six thousand labourers had been thrown out of employment by the calamity. There were 13 mills stopped, and they well knew the collateral branches required to keep up those establishments. The resolution which had been committed to him for proposal to the meeting was rather indefinite, but it struck him as peculiarly suitable to the present occasion. It recommended that a committee should be appointed to inquire into the actual loss sustained, in under that they might be better able to compute the probable assets, and to determine the amount of subscription that it was desirable to raise. He felt that this was an occasion when they ought all to sit down seriously in their closets, and resolve to give, not according to the usual scale of liberality, but to exceed it. (Hear, hear) It was such a calamity as their fathers never knew, and be trusted their children would never know after them. (Hear, hear.) He hoped they would resolve, and the example had already set them by Huddersfield, to give abundantly. There was a lower motive for liberality, which it was desirable to consider also. There were many eminent artisans connected with the trade of the valley, and whom it was desirable to retain there, but who, it was to be feared, would leave in consequence of the effects of the recent disaster, and this it prove a source of great difficulty to the district. He admitted that it was a low motive, but he thought this ought to be taken into account among the reasons for a liberal subscription entered into. The resolution he had to move was to the effect that the sufferers by the recent calamity had undoubtedly strong claims upon the assistance and empathy of their neighbours, “but that it was desirable that no more should be done at present than appointing a committee to report upon the catastrophe, and the best method of affording relief.” He might state to the meeting that the vicar of Huddersfield had kindly promised to do all in his power to promote their object, by collections io the churches. There was also a letter from their excellent diocesan, promising them all he was able to contribute. It seemed to him (Mr. Fearon) that much good might be done by a pastoral letter being sent to the clergy of the diocese, which would no doubt be promptly responded to. (Applause.)
The CHAIRMAN said it had been suggested that it would be desirable to enter into a subscription at once, and he was decidedly of that opinion himself.
Mr, JOSHUA MOURHOUSE immediately moved “That a subscription be entered into to-night."
Mr. JAS. CHARLESWORTH seconded the motion. He believed be was correct in stating that between his house, near the Upper Brulge, to Victoria Bridge, a distance of 200 yards, the loss sustained by tradesmen amounted to upwards of £5000.
This resolution was carried unanimously, Mr. Fearon readily consenting to withdraw the original motion.
The following committee was subsequently appointed to carry into effect the resolution just agreed to:— Mr. W. Brooke, Mr. James Charlesworth, Mr. Jos. Charlesworth, Mr, Joshua Moorhouse, Rev. R. E. Leach, Rev. T. G. Fearon, Rev. J. Fearne, Mr. Joshua Charlesworth, Mr. George Hinchliffe, Mr C. T. Floyd, Mr. John Harpin, Mr. Sidney Moorhouse, Mr. Joseph Firth, Rev. J. McFarlane, Rev. Thomas Carbutt, Dr. B. Firth, Mr. George Tinker, Mr. Wm. Meikle, Mr. M. Kidd, and Mr. Iveson.
Mr, C. S. FLOYD moved a resolution requesting the Huddersfield bankers and their London agents to open subscription lists in behalf of the sufferers by the recent calamity; and to make application to the bankers generally throughout the United Kingdom, soliciting their aid in this benevolent object. — The Rev. J. McFARLANE seconded the resolution, and it was carried.
A resolution was then agreed to thanking the Lord Bishop of the diocese and the clergy for their expression of sympathy with the sufferers.
HOLMFIRTH, SUNDAY, FEB. 8.
The heavy fall of rain during Saturday night and Sunday has prevented any further search for the bodies of the sufferers by this awful catastrophe up to yesterday, when numbers of labourers were employed in removing the wreck from the river and searching the ruins of buildings that had been destroyed. Up to Sunday morning the whole of the 65 bodies lying at the public-houses in and about Holmfirth had been identified except three, and certificates were issued that morning by the coroner to enable their friends and relatives to inter them. A great portion of the poorer sufferers were members of the Druids’, Oddfellows', and other friendly societies, the officers of which, with feelings highly creditable to them, busied themselves, where relatives did not come forward to own bodies, in searching them out from distant towns, and paying them the sums for which the societies were liable in causes of death, either of the members or the children of members, for funeral money. The town presented a very mournful scene during the whole of Sunday, that day having been fixed for the interment of nearly the whole of the dead. About 60 were removed for interment at different periods of the day, not many of them in the town, but mostly in the villages on the adjoining hills or up the valley. Seven bodies were taken for interment to Holmbridge Church, but the graves had got filled with water during the night, and the churchyard, being one which the flood had swept over, was altogether in such a pitiable state of devastation and disorder, from the disturbance of graves, the destruction of the yard walls, and other damage, that it was found expedient to place the bodies in a temporary resting-place in the church itself.
ALARM ABOUT THE HOLMESTIES RESERVOIR.
Great alarm was excited by an unfounded report being spread in the course of the morning that the Holmesties Reservoir had burst. The heavy rains which had fallen during the night, and still continued, had excited an apprehension that this event would take place; and the rumour was therefore easily credited. In the almost universal panic which endued the congregation hurriedly quitted the National School of Holmfirth, where Divine service was being conducted, owing to the injury sustained by the church.
It was stated on Saturday night, at the meeting held at the Crown Hotel, that out of a committee of three of the Commissioners of the Holmesties reservoir had on Thursday given a written order to the drawer, or person in charge of the reservoir, to lower the water from its extreme height of 75 feet to 40 feet. It was stated, that notwithstanding this order, the water had only been reduced to 46 feet, which did not bring it below the point at which danger might exist; and it was alleged that the third member of the committee, who had opposed the proposition for lowering the water, and refused to sign the order, had used his authority with the drawer to prevent the order being carried into effect. Upon this, Joseph Beaumont, the drawer, was sent for by the meeting and examined us to the truth of the allegation. On his admitting the facts stated, two policemen were despatched by the magistrates present, with orders to have the water immediately drawn off, even should any of the Commissioners interpose their authority. The deepest indignation was expressed by the meeting at the conduct of the individual alluded to.
Notwithstanding the rain, there was an immense influx of strangers, who had come to gratify their curiosity by inspecting the scenes of devastation. The roads were filled with vehicles containing visitors from the surrounding villages; besides which, vast numbers of people flocked in from Manchester (a distance of about 30 miles,) Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Halifax, Todmorden, Rochdale, Wakefield, and other places.
The following is a list of the interments at the various places of worship down the Valley, beginning with Holmbridge Church:—
Holmbridge Church. — It had been arranged that ten bodies should be interred here and with that view the friends and relatives had them conveyed to this place. Owing, however, to the inclemency of the weather the ceremony of interment, and the usual service for the burial of the dead was deferred until Monday. When we visited the church that day, we found fourteen bodies awaiting interment. The coffins bore the following inscriptions, which tell a most melancholy story:— Joshua Earnshaw, aged 72; Charles Earnshaw, aged 36; Jonathon Crosland, aged 36; Joshua Crosland, aged 21; Hannah Crosland, aged 16; Charles Crosland, aged 15; Martha Crosland, aged 13; Joshua Charlesworth, aged 16; James Charlesworth, aged 14; R. C., aged 39; R. C., aged 1; W. H., aged 46. Two coffins, apparently for the bodies of children, about 8 years of age, had no inscriptions upon them.
Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Chapel. — At this place there were nine bodies interred, and two deposited in the chapel, the ceremony over them being' deferred till Monday. The following are their names:— Eliza Marsden, Nancy Marsden, Joshua Marsden, William Exley, Jane Mettrick, William Mettrick, Joe Mettrick (all of one family), Abel Earnshaw, Elizabeth Dodd, Sarah Ann Dodd, and Hannah Dodd (all one family). The interment of the two Miss Marsdens was deferred till Monday.
Upperthong Church. — At this place there were twelve bodies interred in four graves. In the first were John and Nancy Ashall; in the second, James Lee; in the third, Milly, wife of Matthew Fearnes, and two children; and in the last, Mrs. Hellawell and five children,
Holmfirth Church. — It was expected that the family of Richard Shackleton, consisting of his wife and three children, would be interred here on Sunday, but in consequence of a desire on the part of the relatives that the body of the father (not then found) should if possible be interred at the same time, the sad ceremony was deferred, in the hope that in the meantime his remains might be found.
The whole number of burials during the day was 36.
THE WESLEYAN CHAPEL.
The Wesleyan Chapel is found to be more damaged than was at first supposed. This morning the congregation assembled in the west gallery, but in consequence of the serious damage which the chapel itself, the vestry, and the grave-yard had sustained, and the great force of water which then swelled the stream, in consequence of the almost incessant rains of the preceding night, it was feared that the south east gable, next to the river, was not safe, from the washing of the foundation during the flood. The bed of the river having also been considerably raised, and the course of the stream thereby diverted, so as to cause it during the swell of yesterday to again reach the foundations of the gable of the chapel, the idea of performing worship was abandoned, and in this emergency it was suggested by the Minister and some of the leading members of the congregation that they should on the instant take measures to preserve the foundations of the chapel, thus in danger, a proposition instantly acceded to. For hours the Rey. J. Garbutt and the male members of the congregation might be seen busily engaged in throwing up a barrier of stone and earthwork, with a view to the greater safety of this portion of the chapel.
We may add that the rumour, very generally current for the last few days, to the effect that the body of Mr. Harpin, which lies in this grave-yard, had been swept away, is not correct, it having been satisfactorily ascertained on investigation, that though the tomb is destroyed, the body still remains in the same spot as that in which it was deposited some short time ago.
The Holmfirth committee appointed at the meeting on Saturday night to collect and manage subscriptions, met on Monday morning, in the reading room of Mechanics’ Institution. There were nine of the committer present, and the first business done was to elect the president and vice-president of the committee, W. L. Brook, Esq., was elected to the former, and Joshua Moorhouse, Esq., to the latter office. The chair, in the absence of the president, was occupied by Joshua Moorhouse, Esq. The first business done was to order a quantity of subscription books to be purchased, and signed by the treasurers of the committee, in order to prevent imposition. On the motion of Mr. Sidney Morehouse, seconded by thy Rev. Benjamin Firth, it was resolved that the millowners and occupiers be requested to employ the hands thrown out of employment by the late visitation in recovering salvage and cleaning and restoring the machinery; until their respective mills be again in working order, at a certain rate of renumeration, of which the relief committee were to find a portion. Mr. John Hobson Farrar was elected a member of the committee. Messrs, Sidney Morehouse, Joseph Firth, and George Tinker, were appointed valuers, to ascertain the amount of damage occasioned by the flood. Mr. Joseph Healey was appointed to superintend the collection of the property between the reservoir and Horbury Bridge.
During Monday there were many interments, viz:— 10[?] at the Holme-bridge Church, several at Hinchliff Mill Wesleyan Chapel, five at Upperthong Church, and one at Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel, making a total of about sixteen.
The ladies’ committee met during Monday afternoon for the purpose of distributing such articles of clothing as were likely to be of use under the circumstances.
On the 5th inst., the body of a woman was found in the river at Mirfield, by James Clegg, who was walking on the banks. Assistance was procured and the body was taken out. It appeared to be that of a young woman apparently about twenty years of age. She had a wedding ring on. The body was quite naked. On the subsequent day an inquest was held on the body before Mr. Lee, coroner, and the inquiry had closed when a relative of deceased’s arrived, who identified the body as that of Betty Earnshaw, wife of Enos Earnshaw, and stated that she had been swept away from her home at Hinchliffe Mill, near Holmfirth, by the recent disastrous flood. A verdict of “Found drowned” was returned.
HOLMFIRTH, TUESDAY, FEB. 9.
Since Saturday several bodies have been found — three in the dam of Bottoms Mill, and two others lower in the valley; and another at Dalton, a little below Huddersfield; and again, this day, one in a dam a little below Hinchliffe Mill; and an infant, a few hour old, at Holmfirth. The body of Mr. Jonathan Sandford, of Dyson's Mill, still remains undiscovered, and his friends, anxious to pay the last tribute of respect to one so generally esteemed for his upright conduct and manly bearing, have offered a reward of £10, to any one who ¢an discover the body, His two children and servant, who were hurried to destruction at the same moment, have been found, and the last sad offices have been performed open their bodies. Mr. Sandford is described as being six feet high, fresh-looking, and rather round-shouldered.
The magistrates and police have been very active in the district; and the latter have received instructions to proceed against parties who have appropriated portions of property washed away by the flood.
The light-fingered gentlemen have flocked here from all parts, and have taken advantage of the opportunity offered the crowds to exercise their nefarious vocations, During yesterday and to-day five of these depredators were apprehended in Holmfirth, and sent to Huddersfield, handcuffed together, by the last train. Two were also apprehended at the Huddersfield station today for the same offence, In the latter case the object of the rascals’ plunder was one of the Holmfirth manufacturers who had lost considerably by the inundation, and had attended the Huddersfield market to sell a few goods to enable him to procure a few of the necessaries he had been deprived of by the flood. Before stepping into the railway carriage, he found that his purse containing upwards of five pounds had been extracted from his pocket. The porter at the station had witnessed parties operating, and some of the money fell on the platform as the operators were stepping into the carriage. Two of a gang of five who had been seen together were taken into custody and lodged in the lock-up.
HOLMFIRTH, WEDNESDAY EVENING.
(From our Huddersfield Correspondent)
We have traversed this valley of disaster again today, and have ascended to the summit of what is left of the too lofty embankment of Bilberry reservoir. The day has been remarkably fine and favourable for sightseers, and from early dawn the valley has been one continued scene of moving masses. The trains as usual have taken up their thousands, and every kind of vehicle has evidently been called into request to convey people there, and during some parts of the day between Huddersfield and Holmfirth, the road. might be likened to those leading out of the metropolis on the “Derby day.” Climbing the steep and rugged and dangerous declivity of Bilberry might be observed bankers, clergy, merchants, and traders in high positions to life, and seeking with anxious looks the various scenes of this terrible catastrophe.
The site on which the dense mass of water stood a week ago in all its foaming fury, is now quiet place enough. In the far distance southward may be seen the dark moorland covered with gorse, that formed the impenetrable boundaries of the late pent up water, and down the sides are trickling down in numbers innumerable, the small rivulets that now again supply the stream in the natural simplicity they had done for ages past. Of the embankment on which we stood, it would at present be unwise to offer an opinion to its stability, as probably ere long some engineer of high attainments and practical knowledge, appointed by government, will give his report in a decided form. It however seems a dense but loose mass of rubbish, and does not present on its surface on either side where the rubbish has been washed away, a single tie whatever to bind it together, and therefore the torrent of water when it once made an inroad, would move it as easily as the sea does the and on the boundaries of the ocean.
We ascended by means of a ladder on to the top of the “Bye wash” which has before been described as a circular chimney, 64 feet high from the basement, and 12 feet in diameter. We may remark that this is the outside measures and the wall is three feet in thickness, of substantial ashlar, it leaves an opening only of six feet as an outlet for the overflow of water, but a size sufficient, it is believed, to have taken away the immense quantity that poured into the bank.
The “shuttle” or “clough” was worked by means of a screw from the top of this masonry, and appeared to be connected with the door or trap at the bottom by a 2 inch or 2½ inch square bar of iron. It appeared as firmly as ever embedded in its place, and no further effort it is evident has been used to move it.
Amongst the thousand and one arguments that we have heard as to a means of preventing the reservoir from bursting, one has been that of knocking down the “bye wash” sufficiently low to make an outlet to convey away the flood.
We measured the “coping” or rim of the byewash, and found it to be 4 feet and 6 inches wide, and apparently about 18 inches thick, and formed out of immense blocks of stone such as nothing but a tremendous force could have removed — a force indeed that would have required both a premeditated and organized plan and great effort to convey working apparatus up the hill, to effect the purpose […?] on the other hand for any number of persons to have taken individual responsibility, there was the fact of […?] transportation staring them in the face.
In various parts of the valley workmen are engaged in reconstructing the portions of mill streams where the works have not sustained great damage, and others are also busy in removing portions of broken materials. A temporary wooden bridge has been constructed over the Holme at Holmebridge, on the same ground as the one destroyed.
Up to the time we write there had been no more bodies found, although several are missing. Placards offering a reward of £10 for the recovery of the body of Mr. Jonathan Sandford, have been issued and great numbers are in consequence searching the banks and crevices on the river. Parcels of clothing continue to arrive from all quarters for the destitute sufferers, and the manner in which the call for benevolence has been responded to with both money and clothing is laudable in the extreme. Announcements are issued stating that all property at present lying in the Town Hall, if not claimed within a specific time will be sold at public auction, the proceeds to go to a general fund. The magistrates are unwearied in their attention and zeal, and have gone through an amount of exertion that, if applied otherwise than in a good cause, they would long ere this […?] sunk under.
Members of the light-fingered gentry have arrived from a distance, and six pickpocket5s we are told have already found their way into the hands of justice.
The people of Huddersfield have generously befriended their neighbours in the heavy affliction which has befallen them. They have displayed a truly heart-warm sympathy and have liberally given a portion of the means with which God has blessed them to assuage the sufferings of their prostrate brethren in the valley of the Holme. There […?] close identity of trade, interest, character, and feeling between the inhabitants of Huddersfield and those of Holmfirth, and the neighbouring towns, all forming as it were one community, although scattered over a considerable district of country. The true, honest, bluff character of the Yorkshireman is nowhere better seen than in the neighbourhood of Honley, Lockwood, Armitage Bridge, Holmfirth, and the other adjacent towns or large manufacturing villages; and the character, under its softest and most affecting mood, has been well displayed since the deluge that rushed down and destroyed nearly 100 human lives and an incalculable amount of property. There has been […?]manly, not a mawkish sympathy shown throughout the […?]ful visitation. The rich — in a humble, not a purse-[…?] spirit — have in many single instances given their hundreds, whilst all classes downwards have given in proportion to their ability. At the moment we write we know not what amount has been subscribed in Huddersfield, Holmfirth, and the district for the surviving sufferers; but perhaps it will be found in some other part of our paper. We know this, and the fact is one of a most animating kind, although that nothing was done towards a subscription until Saturday last, by Monday night Huddersfield had contributed £[???], and Holmfirth had given the liberal sum of £1050 10s. The aggregate of these sums is little towards the immense loss of property which has taken place — it can do almost nothing beyond relieving the more pressing wants of those who have lost house, homestead, furnishings, clothing, kindred, and everything else they possessed, and helping to cheer hearts literally astounded with grief. But there can be no doubt that Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, and other towns in the kingdom will follow the good example which has been set by Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and that a large sum will be placed at the disposal of the appointed committees to restore the valley of the Holme to the state of industrious employment it was wont to exhibit.
The first public step towards an effort in Huddersfield to meet the great distress of the surviving sufferers was made in the following letter published in the Huddersfield Chronicle of Saturday last:
- Like scores and hundreds of my fellow-townsmen, I yesterday visited the scene of devastation which had occasioned by the bursting of the Holme Reservoir,
- It would be impossible for pen to describe the fearful destruction and wide-spread misery which presents itself on every hand, nor would any attempt to do so at present forward the immediate object which I have in view.
- Sufficient is known and believed to excite sympathy and to actuate benevolence ; and it only remains that suitable channels be pointed out to ensure the necessary response.
- From enquiries made on the spot I ascertained that numbers of the poor unfortunate individuals who had made but hair-breadth escapes from the destroying element were entirely destitute — not only of food, but of every article of clothing.
- Now it occurred to me that if this fact were but known, there are numbers who could easily and most willingly contribute of their cast off garments, such a supply as would meet that particular feature of the case.
- I have already forwarded what my own wardrobe, and that of my family, would supply and in order to facilitate the wishes of others in this matter, I will most willingly (and thankfully) forward to the proper authorities anything that may be sent to me for that purpose.
- It will be very obvious to all, and perhaps needless of suggestion, that the plainest and most useful articles are those which will be most acceptable and appropriate.
- Hoping that you will give insertion to this in your valuable journal,
- I remain, Sir, yours very respectfully,
- THOS. MALLINSON,
- Chief Constable.
- THOS. MALLINSON,
- Buxton-road, Feb. 6th, 1852.
Mr. Mallinson’s timely suggestion and appeal were well responded to. — On Saturday a meeting, attended by many of the most influential persons in Huddersfield, was held at the Commissioners’ Large Room, South Parade, for the purpose of commencing a movement for giving relief to the distressed at Holmfirth. The general opinion of the meeting was in favour of aid being given not. only to ameliorate the suffering and distress of the actually destitute, but that an appeal should be made — a wide and general appeal — for subscriptions in order to restore to something approaching their former condition all who had suffered by the late flood. It was resolved to promote a public subscription, and to hold a general public meeting on that behalf on Monday evening; and upon the suggestion of Mr. F. Schwann, the subscription was commenced in the room, as follows:-— Messrs. John Brooke and Sons, Armitage-bridge, £500; Mr. Schwann, £200; Mr, W. Willans, £100; Messrs. G. Mallinson and Sons, £100; Mr. Joseph Beaumont, £50; and many other sums, amounting in the aggregate to between £1400 and £1500.
THE PUBLIC MEETING AT HUDDERSIFELD.
In accordance with a resolution agreed to at the meeting on Saturday, and in compliance with a requisition, unanimously signed, Mx. Mallinson, the chief constable, convened a general meeting of the inhabitants, “to take into consideration what measures should be adopted to alleviate the destitution occasioned by the late flood.” The meeting was held in the Philosophical Hall, on Monday evening. There was a large attendance, including all classes of the community, and both gentlemen and ladies. Amongst those we observed — John Brooke, Esq., the Rev. Josiah Bateman, vicar and rural dean, John Sutcliffe, Esq., G. Armitage, Esq., Mr. G. Crosland, Mr. T. P. Crosland, Mr. W. Willans, Mr. C. Brooke (Meltham Mills), Mr. A. Haw[…?], Mr. T. Armitage, Mr. E. L. Hesp, Mr. T. Firth, jun., Mr. W. Mallinson, Mr. J. Freeman, Mr. J. C. Laycock, Mr. Jos. Turner, Mr. Isaac Robson, the Rev. J. Bensted (Lockwood), the Rev. G. Hough (South Crosland), Rev. J. Hope[?], Rev. C. Smith, Rev. J. Glendenning, Rev. J. K. Montgomery, Dr. Taylor, Mr. W. Rhodes, Dr. Ramsbotham, Mr. W. Barker, Mr. T. Hayley, Mr. E. Armitage, Mr. S. Oldfield, Mr. Bentley Shaw, Mr. T. Pitt, Mr. W. Moore, Mr. J. Wrigley, Mr. T. Varley, Mr. Jere Kay, Mr. W. P. England, Mr. D. Marsden, Mr. Joe Kay, Mr. Charles Brook, jun. , Mr. T. Brook, Mr. Jos. Brook, Mr. T. Kilner, Mr. T. C. Wrigley, Mr. Jos. Wrigley, Mr. Richard Dewhurst, Mr. Joshua Shaw (Lockwood), &c. The Rev. T. G. Fearne (incumbent of Upperthong), the Rev. J. Fearon (incumbent of Holmbridge), W. L. Brook, Esq., Jas. Charlesworth, Esq., J. Moorhouse, Esq., Mr. C. S. Floyd, Mr. Kid (magistrates’ clerk), Mr. Firth, and Mr. John Barber, attended as a deputation from Holmfirth.
At about half-past seven o'clock, on the motion of Mr. WILLIANS, seconded by Mr. Laycock, John Brooke, Esq., of Armitage Bridge, who had presided at the meeting on Saturday, was unanimously called to the chair.
The CHAIRMAN said that he exceedingly regretted, and he was sure all present woold join in that feeling, that the respected chief constable, Mr. Mallinson, was prevented by indisposition from attending the meeting. Mr. Mallinson would more ably have filled the chair; but he (Mr. Brooke) would do his best to properly conduct the meeting under the melancholy circumstances that had called the assembly together. He felt that it was unnecessary for him to speak of the great misfortune which bad befallen a large number of their fellow creatures and neighbours during the last week (Hear, hear.) They had been visited by a calamity that was almost enough to unman any one who got up to speak on the subject. (Hear, hear.) The meeting would probably hear some details of statistics from some of those gentlemen who world deliver addresses; but he was quite sure no eloquence was weeded to stir up the hearts of the people of Huddersfield to relieve an amount of distress that could scarcely be imagined. (Hear, hear.) He was sure that the eloquence of their own hearts and feelings would be more powerful than the eloquence of the tongue, and would urge them to the best practical proof of their sympathy with the sufferers at Holmfirth. (Applause.)
The Rev. J. BATEMAN, vicar of Huddersfield, moved the first resolution, which was as follows:— “That this meeting sympathises most deeply with the suffering inhabitants of the Valley of the Holme under the recent calamity caused by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir by which upwards of eighty persons have lost their lives (sixty-eight bodies have already been found), and a frightful extant of property swept away, reducing many of the survivors from comfortable circumstances in life to utter ruin, and depriving upwards of two thousand of operatives of employment for some time to come.” He said that the crowded platform, and the meeting, containing, as he believed and was well assured, the greatest part of the intelligence of Huddersfield, showed that public sympathy was strongly stirred in the matter on which they were about to be addressed and relative to which they had been called together, (Hear, hear.) It was but for them to give expression to those feelings which are working in every heart. There was great difficulty in the attempt to describe the melancholy circumstances under notice. Every one said, “How describe that which is indescribable?” — and how, he repeated, describe that which was indescribable, — sorrows and desolation that must be seen to be believed. (Hear, hear.) However, in all simplicity he would only say (and he spoke both for himself and subsequent speakers) they would make such remarks as would suggest themselves to them, remembering that where there was much anxiety there was much difficulty. Public sympathy had recently bees stirred by other accidents. Not long since general attention was drawn to the terrible calamity in a coal mine, in the neighbourhood of Rotherham, and still more recently to that most direful calamity which overtook the Amazon. Who had not, as they lay in bed, thought of the horrors of that fire, of the raging billows, the frail life-boats, and of the multitudes then hurried into eternity in a moment, There, indeed, was the midnight cry, but here there was none. The terror of this calamity was its silence — its comparative silence. At sunset all was quiet; and if there were any forebodings in the hearts and minds of any, they produced but little effect. There was nothing apparently to require them to look for succour. Parents and children retired to rest in confidences, and all was peace in that stirring valley of Holmfirth. Every Holmfirth man was proud of his valley and his people, and loved to talk of their energy, their rising, their industry, and their spirit. They retired to rest at night, and in the morning they were gone: there was one vast desolation: the whole of this lovely valley was strewn with dead bodies; its factories wrecked; its houses ruined; its farm-stock swept away; its land de[…?]med of its soil; shops gutted of their property; and mills, engines, amid the ruins of this terrible devastation scattered on every hand. (Hear, hear.) Such were the broad features of this event which had struck the people with […?] much of surprise and terror, that not a tear was observed by the visitors in the valley. A kind of silent awe oppressed the spirits of all men, who stood, as it were, panic-struck with the extent of the calamity which had so suddenly fallen upon them. (Hear, hear, and applause.) These broad general features could be infinitely heightened, if he had the power to do it, by going into a detail of individual sorrows which brought pain to the heart. As he had read these details in the fourth edition of the Huddersfield Chronicle, he noticed that yesterday, there was buried in the church-yard a Jonathan Crosland, a James Crosland, a Charles Crosland, a Joshua Crosland, jun., a Hannah Crosland, and a Mary Crosland, all of one family, and in one grave, so to speak. (Deep sensation in the meeting.) What a tale of woe did that present? The whole family cut off by this flood; and yet it was but one of many similar instances. They might imagine that family retiring to rest in peace. In the middle of the night the strong current of the devastating flood entered the house and swept them in a moment into eternity. Imagine that family to be their own — their own dear wives and children, hurried in a moment from this world, and they might then perhaps form some conception of the amount of individual suffering. He had observed further in the same paper, an account of one of the victims who was described as a fine[?] young woman, unknown. Who was she? A young wife, a young mother, or the beloved of some fond heart? Who, he repeated was she! (Sensation.) Then there was the account still more touching of the little child that was born and lived for two or three hours, and then, with its mother, both hurried into eternity. He knew Yorkshiremen had strong minds, but they had also tender hearts, which could feel for others, and he asked if there was anything more touching than this single incident? (Hear, hear.) And such details as these could be multiplied until the mind was harrowed up with the intensity and magnitude of the suffering brough before it. (Hear, hear). Those of them who had families could imagine the desolation of heart caused by such sorrows. The resolution stated that sixty-eight bodies had been actually found, and that the total number missing was eighty. Such a calamity was almost unprecedented in its extent, and called for their Christian sympathy and support. (Hear.) He now came to the second point of his resolution: the destruction of property. He could imagine some of them, fine Yorkshiremen, who, by industry from early life, had gradually risen into the ranks of the gentry, and who had just reached the summit of the hill, when there came this terrible night, and all was swept away. There was no insurance, no refuge for him, but all was gone. He said Christian sympathy was required for such a cause as that. (Hear, hear.) There might be some before him in the same position, and he appealed to the hearts of all — for there was something for mothers and fathers, and men rising in business, to reflect upon — a something which told them that such might have been their own fate, had it so pleased God to bring upon them such a calamity. (Hear.) Then there was the 2000 operatives thrown out of work. Who was to support them and their families; and who was to restore to them the means by which they could again obtain their own livelihood? He begged of those manufacturers present, in the event of being called upon by a Holmfirth operative, who had been deprived of his work by this sad occurrence, to give him work, though it might be at some inconvenience. (Hear, hear.) After alluding to the subscription, which had been made on Saturday, and expressing his belief that […?] noble example which had been set by the chairman and others would be generally followed by the inhabitants of the district, the Rev. gentleman made an appeal to the […?], expressing a prayer and a hope that their liberality would be returned seven-fold. (Applause).
Mr. W. LEIGH BROOK seconded the resolution. He said he felt most deeply for those who had suddenly fallen under the […?] event which had occurred; but nothing but a sense of public duty could have induced him to come forward now. He had not been in the habit of taking part in meetings in Huddersfield; but being one of the acting magistrates in the locality where this serious calamity had occurred, he had listened to tales of woe and desolation, that would make any man who had not a heart of steel, leave his privacy and endeavour to do his duty. (Hear, hear.). And that man must have a heart of streel, who after hearing such distress as he and his brother magistrates had listened to, could shrink from endeavouring to do his duty. (Hear, hear.) Most of them were acquainted with the beautiful valley of the Holme, one of the richest and most beautiful vallies in the kingdom, covered as it was with cultivated fields and valuable mills. There, where they had heard the shuttle and the loom, they now saw lamentation and woe. Desolation and destruction had swept the valley — and mills, but the other day actively employed, were either destroyed or rendered useless. It was a question of serious moment what was to become of the poor people who had worked at those mills, and one which should be borne in mind. The accidents from coal mines and similar occurrences involved the loss of the capital of only one or two proprietors, and the men thus thrown out of work were soon re-employed ; but here, the very sources from which the people derived their means of subsistence were destroyed, and it would take years before this calamity could be overcome ; and he felt convinced that unless this matter was taken up as a national subscription, they could not meet even the more pressing necessities of the case. The people of Huddersfield and the district might subscribe liberally, but they must aim at making it known throughout the length and breadth of the land. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Brook concluded by alluding to the proceedings of the Holmfirth magistracy, and to the Holmfirth subscriptions, which, he said, considering the prostrate and paralysed position of the district, was a most handsome one. (Applause.)
The Rev. J. GLENDINNING moved the next resolution, which was as follows:— “That this meeting feels called upon to use every exertion for mitigating the consequences of this great calamity, and that a subscription be immediately set on foot, and that the amount raised be applied (under the direction of a committee) for the immediate relief of pressing distress, and afterwards by affording such aid as the amount of the subscription will allow.” He said he had just returned form the scene of desolation, and he felt, as he was sure they all did, that the present was a time not for speaking but for action. (Hear, hear.) Indeed, many amongst them were too much troubled to speak. The devastation which they deplored was in itself so astounding, and had created a feeling so profound as to seal their lips in silence, and they gave vent to the feelings in involuntary tears. But although their power of utterance was thus restrained, it was not at present needed, in order to produce deep sympathy, to create large-heartedness, and to call forth a liberality such as the case demanded. Already the silent eloquence of the event itself had done far more than the tones of man could have ever done, and had appeared with a power which nothing could resist to the deepest sensibilities of our nature. It was one of those events which had absorbed all others, and required that their energies should be, undivided in the great work of Christian benevolence. (Hear, hear.) He called it a great work, it assumed a magnitude which passed all human measurement. Much as they knew of the realities of this event, there was much they would never know. They saw only the outward visible scene — the result of this sad disaster, — but the blighted hopes, the blasted fortunes, and the broken hearts of their brethren at Holmfirth they might image to themselves, but they could not understand them. Looking at the mere loss of property, there was enough upon the broad surface to open the heart and hand of their population in the high work of Christian beneficence. To repair that loss was beyond the measures of any means they could supply; but still they could do something to relieve present distress and destitution, and to help forward into comfortable circumstances again, those who had been cast down into the deepest distress by this fearful calamity. (Hear, hear.) He exceedingly liked the idea of Mr. Brooke that it ought to be taken up as a national affair, and that the movement ought to extend from one end of the country to the other. (Hear, hear.) There was an important consideration, however, which must not be lost sight of: the country at large would look to Huddersfield as an example and impulse in this great business. (Hear, hear.) It was then for them all to go forward promptly, and in one generous combination resolve that, by the help of God, and the means they possessed, they would strive to remove the destitution, and supply the wants of their brethren. (Applause.)
Mr. WILLANS seconded the resolution in a short speech, during which he read a list of the subscriptions already received, and concluded by observing that he was happy to find that the feeling of sympathy pervaded not only the more wealthy, but the workshops; and even in the domestic circles, he knew that there were many who were anxious to contribute their mite towards the relief of the sufferers.
The CHAIRMAN, in submitting the resolution, announced that the Huddersfield subscription amounted to near £4000, which was received with loud cheers. He also stated, that by a communication which had been received, the Earl of Dartmouth had signified his intention of assisting them on this occasion. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. JAMES CHARLESWORTH, of Holmfirth, supported the resolution in an impressive address. He said it was with mournful pleasure that he stood there on that occasion to give utterance to his feelings, and to call the attention of the meeting to the statements already made in the public journals. If there were any who had not seen this desolation, he said, “Go and witness for yourselves a practical exhibition, that the vale of the Holme is a scene of lamentation and mourning and woe.” He could state to them some harrowing cases of distress, but their sympathy required no such impulse. (Hear, hear.) A reverend gentleman, who had preceded him, had alluded to one painful instance of the loss of life, and he might say that he knew of three fathers, left alone in the world, who had lest wife and children and home. And, in looking around amongst the lost and ruined, he numbered many whom he esteemed as friends, and honoured for their probity of character. (Hear, hear.) He appealed to the poor, whose sympathies would be enlisted in the distresses of their fellows, and he was glad that instances had already come under his notice where subscriptions had been made by working people. There was one young woman in service at the parsonage at Headingley, near Leeds, had come over to see the destruction, and to mourn the loss of relatives, but though her own friends had suffered, she said, on returning, “I cannot leave without giving a sovereign for the distressed.” (Applause.) He could not tell them what passed at the awful moment, though in the midst of imminent peril himself, but the scene was one which, when the shrieks of the sinking were heard above the rush of waters, would have pierced the heart of a heathen, and to a man who lived in a land of bibles, and where the gospel shone forth in all its meridian splendour, it would never be forgotten.
Mr. T. P. CROSLAND moved the third resolution:— “That the extent of the devastation being such that mere local efforts, however liberal, will be quite inadequate to the wants of the case, other towns be requested kindly to aid us in this benevolent work.” He said that after the truly harrowing scenes he witnessed on Thursday, he felt it would be a sufficient apology for being unable to express the few observations which the resolution required. He did not conceive that a more melancholy and lamentable catastrophe had ever been witnessed than the beautiful valley of the Holme presented on Thursday morning. To describe it was impossible, and no adequate idea could be formed of it, unless by personal inspection. He trusted that the people of Huddersfield would respond nobly to the call made upon them, for, as it had been already said, Holmfirth had enough to do within itself, and it had suffered too much to contribute largely to the relief of the distress occasioned by this melancholy event Still, it had made a noble effort on Saturday, and they would find from the cordial co-operation they would receive from Huddersfield, that the Huddersfield people not only sympathised with them in their trouble, but were desirous of rendering them every aid and assistance, both in time and money, which they possibly could. But he. did not think this was simply a Holmfirth or a Huddersfield question, but a national one, and be would suggest that steps should be taken for bringing it under the attention of every mayor in the country, with a view of obtaining their co-operation and assistance ; and also of the distinguished lady who presided over these realms. (Cheers.) He thought it would be much better, in respect to the surrounding towns, that a deputation of gentlemen should wait upon the authorities, and consult with them as to the best mode of bringing the subject before their inhabitants. (Applause.) He understood that it was the intention of the proprietors of the Huddersfield Chronicle to publish a fifth edition, containing a report of these proceedings, and he had great pleasure in placing at the disposal of the committee 500 copies for circulation. (Cheers.)
Mr. W. L. BROOK, Esq., said there was one thing he might mention as illustrating the distress of some families. The committee had been applied to for clothing by a young lady, on behalf of a family who, prior to this accident, were worth £10,000.
The statement was corroborated by Mr. JAMES CHARLESWORTH.
Mr. J. C. LAYCOCK seconded the resolution, and in doing so said a communication had just been placed in his bands, from which he learnt that a subscription had been commenced by the workpeople of John Brooke and Sons, Armitage-bridge, and amounted to £102. (Loud applause.)
Dr. TAYLOR moved the next resolutions:— “That the Huddersfield committee consist of the Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rey. J. Glendenning, Messrs. John Brooke, John Sutcliffe, Thos. Mallinson, E. L, Heap, Isaac Robson, William Mallinson, John Freeman, J.C. Laycock, Edumnd Eastwood, F. Schwann, Thomas Firth, Louis Lowenthal, Williams Willans, Alexander Hathorn, Joseph Taylor Armitage, Joseph Beaumont, junr., and Joseph Turner, to unite and co-operate in equal numbers with the Holmfirth committee, with power to add to their number.” He expressed his deep sympathy with the distressed, cordially approved of the object of the meeting, and said he felt proud of the town in which he lived, seeing how nobly it had come forward in this cause, He felt sure that the example set by Huddersfield would be largely and liberally followed. (Applause.)
Mr. G. ARMITAGE seconded the resolution. He said he felt as deeply as any one could in the present distressing case. When he considered that 2000 or 3000 people were thrown out of employment, he saw that what was done here to relieve the distress was like a drop in the ocean; and he was glad that an appeal was to be made to other parts of the kingdom. (Applause.)
The CHAIRMAN. then announced that the proceedings, so far as speaking was concerned, would for a short time be suspended, and that a public subscription would at once be opened.
Names of parties, and the respective sums which they subscribed, were rapidly handed to the Chairman, and as they were read out they were received with marks of pleasure by the meeting. The Chairman and others on the platform at intervals expressing their pleasure that so bright a light had been cast by the meeting upon a subject of great darkness and woe.
The several resolutions were carried unanimously.
Whilst several gentlemen were gathering up the small pieces of paper on which the subscribers entered their names, it was announced that a communication had been received from Bradford to the effect that that town intended to assist the people at Holmfirth; and it was observed that no doubt Leeds would do the same. It was also stated that the Rev. J. Haigh, M.A., the Rev. N. Maning, the Rev. R. Skinner, and Rev. J. D. Read, had been prevented from attending the meeting in consequence of illness or pressing engagements elsewhere. Mr. F. Schwann sent a letter expressing his regret that he was not able to attend the meeting.
At intervals during the progress of the subscription, short affecting and spirit-stirring addresses were delivered by different gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN, who was much moved by the truly liberal spirit of the melting, said, that it in no instance more than the present had the saying been verified, that the darkest shades had gleams of light. They must all return thanks to God that in the direst calamity there was good cause to rejoice. Huddersfield had done itself great credit. Might God bless them all, and might they be spared from such a calaraity as that which bad befallen Holmfirth!
A person called out from the body of the meeting— “Put me down, George Midgley, for two guineas, and I will be ready when I am wanted.” (Loud applause.)
- [ n.b. sections here from Rev t. G. Fearne & Rev. Fearon not transcribed as the quality of the newspaper scan is too difficult to read ]
Mr. W. Willans, announced that he had received a letter from Bernard Hartley, Esq., of Halifax, who enclosed a £5 note for the immediate relief of the necessitous, at the same time intimating that a further sum would be forthcoming towards a general subscription. (Cheers.) A friend in London had also forwarded £10 (Renewed cheers).
Mr. CHARLESWORTH said that a gentleman from Liverpool had sent a letter enclosing £10 for the sufferers; but before the letter was sealed, he read a further account of the calamity, and he increased the sum to £15. (Loud applause).
On the motion of Mr. JOHN FREEMAN, solicitor, seconded by Mr. W. WILLANS, and supported by Mr. W. P. ENGLAND, a vote of thanks was awarded to John Brooke, Esq., for his kindness in taking the chair, and the ability he had shown in the management of the proceedings of the evening.
The CHAIRMAN, in acknowledging the compliment, said that if he felt somewhat downcast on entering the room that feeling had been entirely removed by the success of the object for which they had assembled, and also by the kind manner in which the meeting had received his name, be far from the meeting being under an obligation to himself he really thought that the obligation was owing by him to them for having placed him in such a position, for he did feel proud that he had presided at a meeting when such a noble response was made as was never made in this country before. He personally thanked them for the indulgence with which they had estimated his humble exertions ; and trusted that whenever called upon to perform any duties of a public character that he might be worthy of the kind expression of feeling which had been evinced towards him that evening. (Cheers.)
The meeting terminated about eleven o’clock.
At the conclusion of the public meeting a committee meeting was held in the ante-room when, among other business, Messrs. T. P. Crosland, C. H. Jones, Chas. Hirst, Mr. Fisher, Henry Leadbeatter, and Joseph Turner, merchant, were placed on the Huddersfield Committee.
The following is the list of subscriptions read before the close of the meeting:— John Brooke and Sons, £500; C. Brook, Healey House, £200; F. Schwann, £200; Joseph Senior, £200; G. Crosland and Sons, £150; Workmen of John Brooke and Sons, Armitage Bridge, £102; W. Willans, £100; A. Mallinson and Sons, £100; John Haigh and Co., £100; J. Armitage, Esq., £100; J. Beaumont, jun., £100; J. Tolson and Sons, Dalton; Bentley Shaw, £100; J. and T. C. Wrigley and Co., £100; E. Fisher and Co., £81 10s.; W. Brook, Healey House, £75; J. Beaumont and Sons, £60; a friend, (per W. Mallinson), £52 10s.; Armitage Brothers, £50; Lowenthal Brothers, £50; J. W. H. Shaw, £50; Swain and Webb, £50 ; Lockwood and Keighley, £50; J. C. Fenton, £50; Joseph Kaye, £50; J. Crosland and Sons, £50; Berry and Crowther, £50; Thomas Taylor and Sons, £50; Oldfield, Allan, and Co.. £50; John Wrigley and Sons, £50; John Eastwood and Sons, £50; J. W. Brook, Sibton Park, Suffolk, £50; J. and G. Hinchliffe, £50; Joseph Turner and Co. £40; Edward Fisher and Co. £31 10s.; George Brook, £30; John North, £30; Jere. Riley, £25; Mrs. Bentley, £25; Huth and Fischer, £25; W. Learoyd, £25; J. C. Laycock, £25; Brook, Freeman, and Co., £25; D. Lepparte, £25; Thomas Firth, Jun., £25; S. Tobias and Co., £26; J. Sutcliffe, Esq., £25; E. L. Heap. £25: Charles Histt and Son, £25; Mrs. B. Shaw, £25; F. R. Jones, jun., £25; William Barker, £25; R. Porritt and Co., £25; Dr. Ramsbotham, £25; John Lancaster, £25; E. and J. Beaumont, £25; Richard Dewhurst, Aspley, £25; Jacomb and Son, £25; J. W. and H. Shaw’s Workmen, £21; Joseph Turner, £20; Wright Mellor, £20; Shaw and Pitt, £20; Dr. Taylor £20; Thomas Hayley, £20; Tetley Brothers, £20; Thos. Blenkhorn, £20; D. Marsden, £20; F. R. Jones, sen., £20; Thomas Varley, £20; Charles Dowse, £20; Henry Leadbeater, £20; Thomas Marshall, £20; John Brook, jun., Thornton Lodge, £20; M. Hirst and Sons, £20; Thewlis and Wrigley, £20; J. Whitley, £20; Brown, Longworth, and Co., £20; Liebrich Bros., £15; H. Dyson, £15; Rev. J. Bateman, £10 10s.; Proprietors of Huddersfield Chronicle, £10 10s.; David Midgley, £10 10s.; John Smith and Son, £10 10s.; Benjamin Bentley and Son, £10 10s.; W. Greenwood, surgeon, £10 10s.; Richard Roberts, £10; J. T. Pritchett, £10; J. Brierly, £10; C. H. Jones, £10; George Roberts, £10; Joseph Bowers, £10; Postlethwaite Brothers and Co., £10; Alexander Glendenning, £10; George Lancashire, £10; W. P. England, £10; Samuel Oakes, £10; Thos. Brook, Colne Villa, £10; Thomas Kilner, £10; John Day and Sons, £10; Gregory and Marsh, £10; Joseph Johnson, £10; Joshua Moore, £10; T. P. Denham, £10; J. Wilkinson, £10; Harris and Appleton, £10; T. S. Bradley, £10; D. A. Cooper, £10; J. Walker, £10; R. Heslop, £7; T. Pitt, £5 5s.; T. Robinson, solicitor, £5 5s. : T. Nelson, £5 5s.; Machan and Stead, £5 5s.; T. Styring, £5 5s.; H. Beattie, York, £5 5s.; The W. M. Lodge of Truth, £5 5s.; T. A. Heaps, £5 5s.: H. and T. Washington, £5 5s.; W. Roberts, £5; D. Boscovitz, £5; W. Hornblower, £5; Mr. Tatham, surgeon, £5; A Friend, by A. Hathorn, £5; Josephus Roebuck, £6; Dan Taylor, £5; Joseph Brook, bookseller, £5; J. H. Waddington, £5; Joshua Hobson, £5; John Brook, registrar, £5; John B. Wrigley, £5; William Moore and Son, £5; Mrs. Lees, £5; Thomas J. Wigney, £5; John Moxon, surgeon, £1; Charles Dransfield, £5; Jno. Frost, £5; Waters Hardy, £5; Joseph Cartwright, Trinity Street, £5; Mons. de le Barre, £5; John Carr, £5; Dyson, Ambler, and Co., £5; Benjamin Crook, £5; John Wormald, saddler, £5; Henry Jackson, pork butchcr. £5; Jonathan Dyson, £5; R. Shaw, £5; J. Hanson and Brothers, £5; Charles Pritchett, £5; Abraham Midglcy, £5; John H. Walker, £5; Thomas Cliffe, £5; Joseph Haigh, Kirkgate, £5; Alexander Hathorn, £5; C. E. Jones, Birk House, £5; Eastwood & Roberts, £5; J. Bate, £5; J. Scott, New Street, £5; W. Fawcett & Son, £5; S. Ogden, £5; F. Shaw, £5; Mr. Thomas’s Pupils in King Street, £5; I. F. Sadler, £5; Mrs. Sargent, £5; S.Bradley, £5; J. Tattersfield, £5; D. Jowitt and Co., £5; S. F. Battye, £3 3s.; John Hall, Market Street, £3 3s.; G. W. Rhodes, surgeon, £3 3s.; William Dawson, jun., £3 3s.; Rev. N. Maning, £3 3s.; Paul Canter, £3; William Hoskin, £3; John Ellice, fruiterer, £2 10s.; David Brown, West Parade, £2 10s.; Benjamin Thornton, £2 2s.; Rev. T. B. Bensted, £2 2s. : Benjamin Halstead, £2 2s.; James Sykes, £2 2s.; Sami. Hiley, £2.2s.; J. H. Bendelack, £2 2s.; Jas. Whittaker, £2 2s.; W. Turner, £2 2s.; Mrs. B. Dowse, widow, £2 2s.; George Mitchell, £2 2s.; A. Stocks, New Street, £2 2s.; William Glendenning, £2; James Holdsworth, £2; J. H. Kilner, £2; Working Man, £2; W. Faulkner, draper, £2; James Dyson, New Street, £2; A. W. Senior, £2; Leonard Fisher, marble mason, £2; A. Ths. Palmer, £2; Jonathan Wigglesworth, £2 2s.; Wm. Eddison, £1 10s.; G. S. Phillips, £1 5s.; Wm. Senior, East Parade, £1 1s.; B. Sharp, £1 1s.; Rev. R. F. Smith, £1 1s.; Rev. J. Hope, £1 1s.; Rev. E. Boden, £1 1s.; Rev. Wm. Tatlock, £1 1s.; Rev. F. Wilson. £1 1s.; Rev. J. K. Montgomery, £1 1s.; J. H. Booth, £1 1s.; G. Whitehead, bookbinder, £1 1s.; Wm. Moorhouse, fruiterer, £1 1s.; A. Palmer, £1 1s.; S. Filth, £1 1s.; W. H. A. Roebuck, £l; A Friend, £1; Charles Ramsden, £1; Charles Atkinson, sen., £1; John Senior, snr., £1; W. B. Taylor, £1; William Armitage, £1; James Christie, £1; A Lady, £1; Mr. Jackson, £1; Charles Hunsworth, £1; James Thompson, £1; C. Foster, architect, £1; A friend from a distance, £1; T. Stansfield, £1; T. J. Brook (Fenton and Co.) £1; Mr. Lancaster's servant, £1; James Hall, Westgate, £1; William Smith, Co-operative Stores, £1; Wm. Schofield, St. Paul's School, £1; Reporter of the Huddersfield Chronicle, £1; Jonathan Swann, 10s.; Henry Brook, 5s.; A Friend, 5s.; Two children, 5s. Total, £4859 4s.
In addition to the above, a sum of £6 11s. 10¼d. was collected at the doors of the hall as the company left.
PROMPT RESPONSE TO A MINISTER'S APPEAL.
On Sunday morning, the Rev. J. Glendenning, the respected minister of Highfield Independent Chapel, in this town, alluded in the course of the service to the melancholy catastrophe which had taken place in the Holme Valley, and solicited his congregation for such portions of wearing apparel and small sums of money as they might have at their command, with the view of placing the same in the hands of the Rev. J. Macfarlane, of Holmfirth, to relieve the urgent wants of the many applicants for such assistance. The minister’s suggestion was silently but promptly and effectually put in motion the same day, and on Monday a sum of £20 and a cart load of wearing apparel of various kinds, were placed at the disposal of Mr. Glendenning, who. no less gratified then surprised, immediately placed these Christian offerings at the disposal of the Rev. J. Macfarlane, of Holmfirth, and we need scarcely add that they were truly acceptable. — Huddersfield Chronicle.
PUBLIC MEETING. — In compliance with a requisition, signed by many of the leading inhabitants, the Mayor of Bradford convened a public meeting in that borough, to be held yesterday, for the promotion of the subscription for the Holmfirth sufferers. In all but a small portion of our impression to-day, a report of the proceedings will be found.
We copy the following paragraphs from our Bradford contemporary:—
COLLECTIONS IN WAREHOUSES. — It gives us much pleasure to find that efforts have been made in some of the warehouses in the town in aid of the sufferers by the recent calamity at Holmfirth. We understand that in money, besides a quantity of cast-off clothing, about £10 has been already contributed by those employed in the single establishment of Messrs. Schwann, Kell, & Co., and we trust to hear that the example so worthily set is being extensively imitated.
A GOOD SUGGESTION. — A correspondent has wisely suggested that if the railways throughout the kingdom, and especially local railways, would carry parcels of left-off clothing, free of charge, to the Holmfirth sufferers, large supplies might be sent, in consequence of such an inducement, by hundreds of persons who may now think their old stores not worth paying carriage for. We commend this hint to the liberality of directors who may happen to see it.
On Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Joshua Fawcett, of Low Moor, preached a sermon in aid of the destitute families at Holmfirth, from St. Matthew xxiv., 39 — "And knew not, until the flood came, and took them all away." The collection realised £5 13s. 3d. The rev. gentleman stated that he would gladly receive and forward any clothes the poor might wish to give. The appeal baa been responded to most nobly by the poor of Low Moor, and several bundles of clothes, in addition to the collection, have already been forwarded for the sufferers at Holmfirth. This example will be followed generally.
PRELIMINARY MEETING IN LEEDS.
A circular was Issued by the Mayor early in the week inviting gentlemen to attend a “private meeting” at the Court House, on Thursday, at noon, to consider in what manner the results of the Holmfirth calamity can he best mitigated. A very numerous assembly, including many of the leading gentlemen of the town, responded to his worships invitation. As, by a resolution passed at the meeting, all who were present became the requisionists to the Mayor for a Public Meeting to be convened on a future day, and as their names accordingly are appended to the requisition which is published in another column, we need not mention them here. The business of the meeting was commenced by the Mayor, who presided, with a few remarks appropriate to the occasion, and by reading some communications, and among others a letter from Mr. Brook, relative to what had been done at Huddersfield, where already the subscriptions amounted to upwards of £6000. With regard to the extent and character of the calamity which had occurred, Mr. J. Cooper, speaking from the report of his brother, who had visited the scene, fully corroborated the newspaper reports, as did also Mr. Hyde, who had never looked upon such a scene of desolation before, and hoped never to see such a one again, and the Rev. G. W. Condor, who assured the meeting that the newspaper accounts were not exaggerated. Mr. Ridsdale stated that on the nature and extent of the calamity at Holmfirth being known, the members of the Leeds Stock Exchange had immediately subscribed £100, and the clerks £7, for the relief of the sufferers; and he had great satisfaction in placing those contributions at the disposal of the meeting. — The Mayor took occasion to say that he should himself be ready, and that Mr. Burr, (clerk to the magistrates), Mr. Ikin, (Town Clerk), and Mr. Cawood, were also willing and anxious to do what they could in furtherance of the object of the meeting. A gentleman from Holmfirth (Mr. Brook) was introduced to the meeting by Mr. J. Jowitt, jun., and the opportunity was taken of obtaining from him some information as to the effects of the recent catastrophe, chiefly in reference to the extent to which operative labour is thrown out of employment by the destruction of mills. It appears that there are 80 billies at a stand or destroyed, and that the wages earned by the hands employed directly or indirectly in connexion with this machinery were estimated at two thousand pounds a week. It is supposed that three or four mouths must elapse before the mills can be at work again; and the number of persons thus thrown out of employment is computed at about 4000. As one of the coroner’s jury, Mr. Brook had viewed 63 bodies, and from 30 to 40 persons, whose bodies have not yet been found, are missing. As the meeting, however, was only a preliminary one, it was suggested that this inquiry was out of place at the present stage of the proceedings, and it was discontinued. Mr. Gott then moved a resolution, to the effect that a public meeting should be called, and that a requisition should be addressed to the Mayor to convene such meeting. Mr. Hall seconded the motion and the resolution was carried unanimously. Mr. Gott then appended his name to the requisition which was about to be handed round for signature, when it was proposed that it would save time, and would probably be agreeable to the meeting, that the names of all present should be appended to the requisition, which was at once assented to. The Mayor signified his assent to the proposed meeting, and formally ratified it by signing a notice for convening a public meeting on Monday next at noon. Some doubts being expressed as to the convenience of holding the meeting in the Court House, Mr. J. H. Smith, after conferring for a moment with Mr. Ridsdale, intimated that, on behalf of the members of the Stock Exchange, he had great pleasure in placing their Hall at the service of the meeting for Monday; and the offer being accepted, it was determined that the public meeting shall he held in the Stock Exchange Hall.
Mr. Hyde moved and Mr. Cooper seconded a resolution for appointing a committee to make the preparatory arrangements for the public meeting, and to collect information relative to the extent of the calamity and the necessities to be relieved, for the guidance and satisfaction of the meeting. This resolution being agreed to, seven gentlemen were placed on the committee, viz., Mr. Cooper, Mr. Uppleby, Mr. F. Lupton, Mr. Passevant, Mr. J. Jowitt, jun., Mr. Gill, and Mr. Noble. Messrs. Barr, Ikin, and Cawood undertook, at the instance of the meeting, the office of honorary secretaries, and Mr. Hyde, that of treasurer. A conversation, in which Mr. Lupton, Mr. Jowitt, Mr. Hyde, and other gentlemen took part, then arose on the question whether a subscription should be forthwith commenced in the room, or it should await the further information which was expected to be obtained in time for Monday’s meeting; and although several gentlemen offered their names with liberal sums, and probably the example would have been readily followed, had it been resolved formally to open the subscription list then and there, yet it seemed to be the more prevailing impression that it were better to postpone this proceeding till the amount of the loss and injury done could be better understood, and the best mode of relief more satisfactorily determined. The Rev. J. A. Rhodes suggested the importance of having a precise and distinct understanding as to the arrangement under which the contribution of this town was to be made; whether it was to go to a general fund, or to be dispensed under a separate power by a committee appointed by the Leeds subscribers. Residents on the spot had undoubtedly the advantage of a more intimate knowledge of the wants of their suffering neighbours, but they were at the same time more subject to importunity and undue influences. It was not only the working man, thrown out of employment by this calamity, for whom the public sympathy was claimed, but there was another class of sufferers for whose misfortune, borne perhaps in silence, all must deeply feel, — for the family cast from affluence to poverty, the owner of property reduced to destitution. There was much immediate distress and suffering to be alleviated; but, as the reverend gentleman remarked, we must look to ulterior wants, — to the condition of the ruined manufacturer. — The Mayor threw out a suggestion that the clergy and ministers of religion would probably think it right to make the late awful visitation a subject on which to appeal to their several congregations, and the Rev. G. W. Conder intimated that such an intention had been entertained, and that it seemed to him advisable to defer making congregational collections till the Sunday after the proposed public meeting.
The Mayor having left the chair, Mr. Gott moved, and it was carried unanimously, that the thanks of the meeting be given to his worship for having called the meeting and for his presiding at it. The meeting then separated, the committee and secretaries remaining to concert arrangements for prosecuting the inquiries they were deputed to institute, and making the necessary arrangements for the public meeting to be held at noon on Monday next, in the Stock Exchange. The resolutions passed at the preliminary meeting, and a copy of the requisition will be found in our advertising columns.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MONEY AND CLOTH FROM LEEDS.
We are requested to published the following:
- The committee at Holmfirth, appointed for the relief of those poor people who have suffered from the recent awful calamity in that place, and who require immediate assistance, beg to acknowledge the receipt of £22 16s. 6d., collected by Mrs. Battersby and Miss Stocks, from some of the ladies at Leeds. They also beg to acknowledge the receipt of a large quantity of very useful clothing contributed and forwarded by the same parties.
- Josa. Morehouse, Vice-chairman.
- James Charlesworth, Treasurer.
THE HOLMFIRTH CALAMITY.
We have devoted nearly two pages to interesting matter (including a report of the very impressive sermon preached by the Rev. W. Sinclair, at St. George’s Church, Leeds, last Sunday evening), connected with the great affliction which has fallen upon the Valley of the Holme. Such, however, is the painful anxiety of the public to know everything that is taking place relative to this catastrophe, that we feel it our duty to appropriate considerable more of our space to the same subject.
Next week we shall give a full report of the whole investigation as to the causes of the bursting of the reservoir, &c.
FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.
The number of visitors who have crowded to the scene of this dire calamity, during the week, in order to witness the extent of the devastation, even from such distant points as London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, has been almost incredible. No fewer than 6000 persons have been conveyed thither by railway alone in a single day, and we confine ourselves within the actual limits when we state that nearly as many more have at the same time reached the scene by other means. From an early hour in the day until it has been far advanced, vehicles of every description have thronged the road in every direction, wending their way towards Holmfirth — the family chaise, the chariot, and the barouche have jostled with the farmer's gig, the spring cart, and the waggon; for all have brought their respective groups to swell the multitude which has gathered in this valley, the name of which had scarcely been heard of before. We cannot give anything like an idea of the numbers. The railway trains have continually been crowded from Huddersfield to Holmfirth and back, and more than the ordinary trains have run on some days this week.
The body of Mr. Jonathan Sandford, for the recovery of which a reward of £10 has been offered, has not yet been discovered, although most minute search has been made for it. It is still supposed to be lying among the debris of the ruins at Holmfirth, although there are many who think it may have been carried to a great distance. The latter supposition has given rise to many idle rumours, among which we may mention that by some it has been affirmed that the remains of the unfortunate gentleman have been discovered in the harbour at Hull, while others state that they have been picked up by the crew of a vessel far out at sea. We need scarcely say that there is no foundation for cither rumour. His two little daughters, however, who were among the number of the missing, Sarah Jane, aged 15 years, and Emily aged 3 years, have both been found, the latter on Saturday in the Holmfirth Mill dam; and the former on the previous day, underneath a gig at the White Hart Inn.
Besides the body of Miss Emily Sandford, there were three others found on Saturday — that of Miss Nancy Marsden, which was discovered beneath a pile of ruins in Water Street, and those of two children, whose, names were unknown, which were recovered in Bottom's Mill dam. The body of Sarah Woodcock (aged 12 years), was found on Monday. It had been washed from Scarfold to the Holmfirth mill dam, where it was discovered.
Of the various escapes which were made perhaps none was more marvellous than that of a young man of twenty-two years of age, named Job Lee, the grandson of James Lee, with whom he resided at that part of Holmfirth named Rocher. Job and his grandfather had gone to bed in a room on the lower floor of a house, the upper rooms of which are occupied by Benjamin Brierley. Brierley had been alarmed at an early period by hearing a strange rumbling noise rapidly approaching the village, which he very correctly attributed to the bursting of the reservoir, when he immediately roused his wife, and accompanied by her rushed downstairs. On reaching Lee's door, Brierley gave it a violent kick which broke a panel nearly from top to bottom, making an aperture in the side of the door of about four inches and a half in width, and at the same moment the water burst in upon them. What we are now about to state may well appear incredible, but we have been so assured of the circumstance happening as we are about to narrate it, that we arc bound to believe in its truth. It appears that Job Lee had heard the Brierleys coming down stairs, and becoming alarmed, he had sprung from his bed and rushed to the door, which he bad reached at the very moment the panel was broken in. Stretching first his arms through the opening he both seized and was laid hold of by Brierley and his wife, and as the water continued to rush in a deadly struggle ensued, Lee retaining his grasp with desperate determination, Brierley and his wife at the same time endeavouring to extricate themselves from his deadly grasp, until at length, when the water was up to their necks, and life or death hung in the balance, the body of Lee was actually drawn through the arrow aperture, and the three made their escape.
Another very narrow escape was made by Mr. Gledhill, provision merchant, whose residence is immediately adjoining the White Hart Inn. He had been in bed in a room in the lower storey, and hearing a noise he went up stairs to look out, in order to see what was the matter. He then saw the mighty torrent approaching, and immediately ran down stairs to the street door, and was about to rush out when he thought he might have time to put on some clothes before the flood could reach so high as his house. He had only taken a step or two from the door, however, before it was burst in by the waters, when he sprung to the staircase, and succeeding in reaching the upper floor, he there remained in safety until the inundation had subsided. While looking out at the fearful ravages which were being made around him, he saw a pony borne on by the torrent. After several fearful struggles, during which it was repeatedly turned over it managed to reach the land, where it stood for a few seconds trembling, looking upon the rushing torrent, and then suddenly turning it started off at a furious gallop, heedless of every obstacle, and was soon lost in the distance.
Every precaution has been taken by the authorities to prevent the possibility of any casualty occurring. Temporary barricades have been erected along thu sides of the bridges, and at every point where there is the least possibly of danger. Large fires have also been kept burning m different places during the night, so that it is almost impossible that even a complete stranger can be placed in a situation involving any risk.
Among the striking events which have occurred during the week, perhaps the circumstances attending the identifying the body and the funeral of the boy Fawcett Crosland, ought not to be omitted to be mentioned. Early on the morning of Monday, the body had been found at Dalton Lee, at a distance of about two miles from Huddersfield, in so swollen and altered a state that it appeared to be the body of a person at least sixteen years of age. At the Coroner’s inquest, however, it was proved by the evidence of the grandfather that the deceased had been only seven years of age. The appearance of the old man in the court, as may well be imagined, caused no small excitement, for no fewer than nine of his descendants had ceased to exist on that eventful night. The old man gave his testimony clearly and firmly, although the struggle underneath was painfully evident to every observer, and it was only at the conclusion of the inquest, when a subscription, which had been entered into by the jury and other gentlemen present in the court, was handed to him, that his feelings gave way. And then followed a singular scene. From the bruised, swollen, and decayed state of the body, it was found necessary that it should be buried immediately, but the burial ground was far distant, and there were none to bear it to its last resting place. No sooner was this known, however, than the gentlemen who a short time before had formed the jury, although their way homewards was widely apart, formed themselves into a funeral cortege, and, relieving each other at intervals, bore the corpse along until they laid consigned it to the narrow tomb.
On Saturday, the body of Mrs. Greenwood, the wife of Samuel Greenwood, the tollkeeper, was found crushed up in the shop of Mr. James Haigh, draper, and on Tuesday the body of her husband was also recovered by the persons engaged in clearing out the Holmfirth Mill dam. This is the person who it will be remembered was seen stood at his door with a candle in his hand apparently to see what was the cause of the commotion, when he himself, house, and family, where swept away in a moment. There was also found on Tuesday, at Hinchcliffe, the body of a child unknown, which from certain appearances which it exhibited, the medical gentlemen who have examined it, and with whom we have conversed, have declared must have been born in the water. On hearing of this incident Mrs. Pilling, a lady from the neighbourhood of Saddleworth, became violently excited, and after the lapse of a few minutes sunk to the ground to all appearances lifeless — indeed many who surrounded her were so satisfied that she was dead, that it was through unnecessary to send for medical assistance. Mr. Lomax, however, having fortunately been in the neighbourhood, was soon in attendance and the lady so far recovered under his care as to be able to be taken home at a later hour of the day.
Within the last few days a great number of pickpockets have visited the scene, and have very busily plied their vocation. One of their number, a member of the swell mob, dressed in the most fashionable style of the day, and glittering with paste rings, and mosaic jewellery, was detected in the act of picking the pocket of a lady on Tuesday. He was immediately taken before the magistrates, and was committed to gaol for three months. Several other equally summary convictions have taken place, and sharp eye is kept upon those of the light fingered fraternity who are still loitering about the place.
THE BISHOP OF RIPON.
A number of bills are posted up in Holmfirth, announcing that the Very Reverend the Bishop of Ripon, “in his parental sympathy for the infliction of Holmfirth and the neighbourhood, intimated his wish to offer his personal consolation to the inhabitants of Holmfirth, Upperthong, and Holmbridge, and will preach on the morning of Sunday at Holmfirth Church, in the afternoon at the National School, and in the evening at Holmbridge.” The bill also contains an announcement, which is perused with every one with astonishment, that no collections will be made on the occasion.
THE FIRST SABBATH AFTER THE CATASTROPHE.
At an early hour, long before the crowds of visitors who rushed to the spot had broken in upon the quiet of the sabbath, usually so peaceful and still in that district, the advent of day, long to be remembered by the people of Holmfirth with feelings of the deepest sorrow, was heralded in by a peal of dumb bells. Strangely and with a melancholy wildness did the muffled notes strike upon the ear of many as they started and raised their heads at the unwonted sound, the tears earnestly sought for before sprung unbidden to their eyes, and the pent-up anguish of sorrowing and surcharged hearts for the first time found relief in the full and open expression of their grief.
We have already stated that the bodies of Mr. Sandford’s unfortunate daughters, Emily and Sarah Jane, have been recovered and interred; Emily, with singular taste, we have been informed, although no relative, was named after the Emily Sandford, whose history was so recently brought before the public in the trial of Rush as one of the victims of his passions, and who was the principal witness against him.
FRIDAY, Feb. 13.
Mr. Dyson, coroner, and the jury whose names are mentioned in the 6th page of the Intelligencer, sat at Holmfirth yesterday (Friday).
The Coroner stated that the only object which he had in summoning the presence of the jury on that day was that the finding of the different bodies should be proved and their Identity substantiated. Did they not meet for that purpose they would have required to have done so on Wednesday next, and as there would be sufficient business then for them to attend to, he had thought it was more convenient to have them to meet on that day. All that was now required was that a verdict to the effect that the parties had been drowned should be returned.
The Foreman inquired whether the fact of any of the jury being one of the commissioners of the reservoir would disqualify him from acting on that jury.
The Coroner, without expressing any objection, thought it would be better that the name of any gentleman who was so situated should be withdrawn.
Mr. Morehouse, one of the commissioners, was then withdrawn from the list of the jury.
The Foreman then asked if parties who were proprietors of mills and had been considerable losers by the calamity could with propriety be jurymen.
The Coroner thought they certainly could. Indeed were such a matter to form an objection, it would be very difficult to form a jury in the district. He was confident they would dismiss every prejudice from their minds which might have existed, in their adjudication on the question.
Mr. Horncastle said that he had at one time been a commissioner, but he had not qualified, and also a millowner, but he had not been for the last two years.
The Coroner having stated that as be had never qualified it did not influence the matter the following evidence as to identity was produced.
Hanmer Bailey deposed to having lost his wife and two children, younger of which would have been two years of age in the month of March next, and the other about nine. He believed the eldest of his children had been buried in the New Churchyard at Victoria Bridge. The witness was the only person who escaped in the home, having been cast out, he supposed, by the force of the water. His other child was found at Thongs Bridge, along with the body of his wife.
John Crosland found the body of Hannah Shackleton, which he identified. Her head was completely covered with wreck. She had on two pairs of stockings.
Joseph Turner, Hag, near Thong, saw the body of Joshua Earnshaw, aged 70, about 30 yards from the river, and about 300 yards below Thong Bridge. Also Henry Earnshaw, his brother lived at Hinchliffe, and all were destroyed. The family consisted or his brother, his son, grandson, and granddaughter. Identified the body.
John Hinchcliffe identified the bodies of Tamor Shackleton and James Shackleton which were found at Netherthong, about forty or fifty yards from the river. There was also a little girl about two years old found, which was brought to the Royal Oak Inn, but was not known.
George Brook, constable, Huddersfield, found the body of a child five years old in the Mill Bottom. It had been washed beneath the flooring, only one of its feet protruded.
Daniel Hartley testified to his father, mother, three sisters, and two brothers having been drowned. He had saved himself by breaking through the roof, and then assisted a sister and a brother out. They were followed by an apprentice.
John Shaw, Upper Bridge, found two bodies which were taken to the Waggon and Horses. The one was the body of Joseph Metterick, and the other that of a girl unknown. Both were found in Victoria Street.
James Metterick and his brother were the only two who escaped out of a family of ten. The house was swept away when he got hold of a beam of wood, and was carried into Harpin’s dam, but he could not say how. His father and mother and two brothers were still missing. His brother had run from the house and escaped just as the water had reached it.
William Dyson identified the bodies of Hannah Crossland, which was found about two o'clock in the morning at the Shuttle Head, at Mill Hill, and that of Sarah Woodcock, which was found in the Holmfirth mill dam.
John Charlesworth identified the bodies of his son James, who was 10 years of age, and Joseph, 1 year old. Another, his son John, was found at Honley. The water rose eight yards in two minutes. Three persons in Metterick's house, and four in his house were all that were saved out of six houses, who numbered 82 persons. One of his sons was drowned in trying to save some hens.
Richard Woodcock identified the body of his son Alfred, aged 17. The end of the house was washed away, and two children, a boy and a girl. He himself, wife, and five children, were saved. He took out two of them with him and afterwards broke through the wall and got out his wife and two children. His wife had stood with the water to her neck holding a child over her head until they were rescued.
Thomas Buckley, Holmfirth, testified in finding the body of Ann Beaumont, which was discovered fixed in a tree near to Sand’s house, at a height of about eight feet above the water.
Inspector Dryer, Huddersfield, spoke to the finding of a body of a boy unknown on Thursday in the shop of Mr. Wood, grocer and draper. Town Gate. The body was lying behind the counter, and was taken to the Shoulder of Mutton public-house. His shirt was found to be very tightly twisted round his neck. The burial of the boy was then proved.
James Bailey, Holmfirth, found the body of Eliza Matthews about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning of Thursday, underneath the window of James Lee's house. The body was taken to the Shoulder of Mutton public-house. The identification of the body was corroborated by Benjamin Roebuck, uncle of the deceased, who stated she had been living as servant with Samuel Greenwood. He also identified the body of Mrs. Lydia Greenwood, which lay at the Elephant and Castle.
John Exley, Jackson’s Bridge, saw the body of Mrs. Lydia Greenwood found in the front room of James Haigh's house at Hallowgate, almost opposite to the toll-house, with which she had been carried away.
John Kenyon, Lippel's Bank, found the body of Joshua Marsden at Mrs. Sandford's Mill, and saw the body of William Exley, which was found near Mr. Farrar's mill dam, carried to the Elephant and Castle.
Frederick Marsden identified the body if his cousin Joshua Marsden, aged 16, at the Elephant and Castle.
Thomas Armitage identified the body of William Exley, aged 30.
James Beaumont identified the body of Abel Earnshaw. There were four persons in Earnshaw’s family, all of whom were drowned.
Wm. Morehouse looked into Hellawell’s house at Scarrfold on Thursday morning, and found the bodies of Mary Hellawell and her four children lying dead in bed. He did not see the father.
Thomas Taylor, Holmfirth, knew the family of Hellawell, six of whom had been drowned. The water hurled the father up stairs to an upper room by which be was saved, but the others were drowned in bed. The father was very much injured by being knocked about by the water, and had not been able to leave his bed since.
Thomas Haigh, Holmfirth, found the body of Mrs. Hannah Dodd, aged 36, at the edge of the small dam at the Upper Mill. He was also present at the finding of the body of Sidney Hartley, aged 41 years, near the Bridge Mill.
James Charlesworth proved finding a child, which turned out to be the son of Sidney Hartley.
John Earnshaw saw the body of Charles Earnshaw, aged 30, about two o’clock in the morning of Thursday, in Mrs. Turner's house, below Mr. Kidd’s office. The witness also saw the body of Mrs. Margaret Ashall below the old […?] Hollowgate Bottom. The witness identified the body of John Ashall. Mr. and Mrs. Ashall were seen dressing in their bed room when their house was carried away.
Mr. Jonathan Robert saw the bodies of James Booth and his wife Nancy, Ann Brook, Joseph Brook, Nancy Marsden, and Richard Brook, all of which he identified. The Booths and Healey lived in a house one story high, which yet stands although completely gutted. They were found reclining in bed, and undressed. The situation of the house is such that it is very doubtful whether they would have escaped, even though they had been aroused. Lydia and Hannah Brook were found on the site of their own dwelling. The latter appeared to have been aroused by the cry of danger, and if she had not run in terror to her mother, who was asleep in the ground floor apartment, her life might have been preserved. This witness identified the body of Sarah Ann Sandford, in a field near Mr. Floyd’s residence.
Ann Beaumont identified a body as being that of her child.
W. Barber, of Hinchliffe Mill, deposed to the finding of the body of Sarah Ann Dodd on Saturday, in Bottom Mill Dam. He was not quite satisfied that more bodies might not yet be found in that dam. Had he not been called upon to attend the coroner he should have adopted means to have ascertained whether any remained.
The evidence of this witness closed the inquest so far as it was necessary to conduct it at that time.
At the conclusion of the proceedings the coroner stated that he had received a communication announcing that Captain Mudie, or the Royal Engineers, had been appointed by Government to attend to the case, and that that gentleman had already arrived in the district, where he would remain till the inquiry was concluded. He also stated that be had decided upon leaving over four different cases for the investigation, which was to be commenced on the following Wednesday, when a full inquiry would be instituted into every fact connected with the melancholy affair. The cases which would be left over were those of Elizabeth Marsden, Samuel Greenwood, James Lee, and Amelia Fearns.
The following is the official list of the bodies which were identified at the inquest on Friday.
The following are the names and a description of those persons who are known to have been drowned, and whose bodies have not yet been recovered.
- Joseph Marsden, Water Street, aged 14, sandy hair, fresh and good looking.
- Joseph Dodd, Water Street. aged 43, low in stature, very thin, large nose, sandy hair and whiskers, bald on the top of the head.
- Mary Crosland, Water Street, aged 10, middle size, very thin, pale looking, dark brown hair.
- James Metterick, Water Street, aged 57, 5 feet 8 inches in height, stout and good looking, very bald head and grey whiskers.
- Mary Metterick, aged 38, rather tall, moderately stout, and slightly pitted with small-pox, lost all the teeth of her upper jaw except one, and has a blue mark over one eye.
- Samuel Metterick, Water Street, aged 20, 5 foot 7 inches in height, slender and long in his limbs, thick upper lip, and dark brown hair.
- Alfred Metterick, Waiter Street, aged 8, very slender, strong light coloured hair,
- Hamer Charlesworth, Water Street, aged 6, slender child, very light coloured hair.
- Jonathon Sandford, Dyson's Mill, aged 45, six feet in height, stout, round shouldered, sandy hair and whiskers, slightly marked with small-pox; and very bald on the top of the head.
- Richard Shackleton, Holmfirth, aged 31, 5 feet 7 inches in height, brown curly hair, dark eyes, and a brown mark on the arm between the wrist and elbow.
- Grace Hirst Shackleton, 4½ years, small child of her age, dark brown hair, and a alight scar from a burn on the side of her neck.
- Ellen Ann Hartley, Holmfirth Mill, aged 3 years, light coloured hair, very much turned up in front.
- Ann Bailey, Upper Bridge aged 4, not tall but stout, dark hair about 2½ inches long, has a slight scorbutic eruption on right eye, dressed in a wolsey night gown.
- Alfred Ashall, a fine stout child, an eruption above the right eye, rather light hair.
The following are the names of other parties who have been lost, on the bodies of some of whom inquests had been held throughout the week:— Foster Crosland, Ralph Crosland, John Charlesworth, Mrs. Dodd, Jane Metterick, William Metterick, Betty Metterick, Mrs. H. Bailey, Lydia Fearns, Charles Fearns, Ann Greenwood, Mrs. Hartley, Martha Hartley, James Hartley, and Elizabeth Healey.
A schedule has been issued headed as follows:
- Calamity at Holmfirth and neighbourhood.
- Schedule to be filled up and returned on or before Monday, the 16th February, by persons who have had their property desto4ryed or damaged thereby.
The schedule, after spaces for the names of owners and occupiers, indicates descriptions and value required of buildings destroyed, with particulars of length, breadth, number of stories, and for what purpose used; buildings damaged (how damaged); mills, dams, goits and weirs damaged; machinery destroyed; machinery damaged; stock-in-trade destroyed; stock-in-trade damaged; furniture, fixtures, farming stock and produce, wearing apparel, provisions, &c., destroyed (and ditto damaged), money and […?]ties, land damaged, fences damaged, roads and bridges.
It is found that the injury done to the mills, roads, and bridges is much greater in amount than was at first supposed. Part of Holmebridge bridge has been carried away, and the stone arch which remains standing has been so shattered that it probably have to be entirely rebuilt. The three bridges in Holmfirth are mere wrecks — scarcely safe for foot passengers to travel over. They were good, substantial erections of stone, and it will require a considerable sum of money to replace them. Visitors stand over the dilapidated arches, and gaze upon the ruins accumulated near them in perfect astonishment and bewilderment. The bridges stretching across the valley for some space, as well as across the river, with dry arches to carry off surplus waters, though deprived of battlements by the flood, have been an obstacle to masses of property floating down the stream, and the quantities of wreck piled up against the upper sides are extraordinary, both for bulk and variety. They include portions of woollen mills with their spinning frames, weaving looms, carding machines, floors (split up almost into shreds), household furniture, barrels of oil and other liquids, bushes, trees torn up by the roots, garden and field gates, and moveable property of almost all descriptions.
On Thursday night last, the body of a prematurely born child, was found near to Mr. Roebuck’s mill. It was wrapped up in a piece of cotton cloth, and it is supposed that it had been thrown into the stream the night previous to the deluge, and have been carried to where it was found by the torrent.
The calamity having occurred during the night, when every one was stripped of clothing, the inmates of those houses which were completely gutted but who themselves escaped were entirely destitute of clothing therefore became the immediate necessary, and a demand was made on the inhabitants of the district, a demand which was nobly responded to. Cast-off garments of every size and description came pouring in so abundantly, that a sufficient supply for the time being was soon given to every one. Hone large bundle, a perfect bale, was received from a lady, whose name we cannot forbear mentioning, although her present bore upon it as a motto “Let not they left hand know what they right hand doeth.” This package of clothes was received from Mrs. Firth, of Toothill, and in every garment there was sewed up in some portion of it a sum of money, the amount of which was only known to the recipient of this lady’s bounty.
The collection of articles which has been gathered together in the Town Hall, is almost incredible, and comprises an infinite variety of articles. Scarcely an hour of the day passes by without an addition being made to the store, as goods of every description are constantly being found along the whole course of the delude. The richest prize that has yet been found, is a bag containing £140, which was discovered on Thursday night, at Higgins Bridge, Holmfirth. This money was immediately deposited with the authorities, and has proved to the property of Mr. John K[…?]. Mr. K[…?] was the keeper of a co-operative store at Holmfirth; and had taken the money from his place of business to his house which was situated in the Hollowgate, and was one of that row of houses which was entirely swept away. As a matter of course the bag of money was carried away with the wreck of the house, and was never expected to be seen again. Fortunately, however, it has been recovered as we have stated.
At the flood which occurred at Holmfirth in 1799, an innkeeper was drowned, and his body found in the river at Wakefield, where it had been carried by the flood. He had nothing on but his shirt.