Lydia Brook (1823-1852) née Booth

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

Lydia Brook (née Booth) was a handloom weaver who perished in the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 along with her daughter Hannah.

Biography

She was born Lydia Booth on 28 February 1823, the daughter of clothier Thomas Booth and his wife Hannah, and was baptised 27 April 1823 by the Rev. John Cockin at Lane Independent Chapel, Holmfirth.

She married weaver Joseph Brook[1], son of cloth dresser George Brook, on 30 August 1841 at All Hallows, Almondbury. They had one known daughter:

The 1851 Census listed Joseph and Lydia as hand loom weavers, residing on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill.

Death

According to contemporary newspaper reports, Joseph and Lydia slept downstairs whilst Hannah slept upstairs. On the night of the flood, Hannah had been woken by the sound of water and ran downstairs to wake her parents. Joseph had jumped from the bed and, realising the danger, called for Hannah and Lydia to follow him upstairs. Within seconds water was flooding into the house and Joseph realised they had not followed him — Hannah had instead run to her mother, who was still in bed, and the pair had drowned.

The cottage occupied by Joseph Brook, wife, and child, was perfectly inundated. The wife and child were lost, but Brook was saved. Brook gives a most affecting account of the loss he has sustained, and of his own narrow escape. He says that he and his wife slept “in the house,” and his little daughter up-stairs. The child awoke about half-past one o’clock and came down stairs, exclaiming, “Father, father, I am frightened by the wind.” The father at once leaped out of bed, hearing a strange, unearthly sort of noise. He ran to the window, and the next moment exclaimed, “It’s not the wind, its water, and the water is on the door-stones ; run up-stairs.” He says he did not know but that they were all running up-stairs ; but when he got in the chamber he found himself alone. In a moment he heard the water rush through the door of his house, his daughter gave a shriek, he heard a few sighs, and all was still. He then got into the lobby, went to a window, and cried out for assistance. Some men brought a ladder and he escaped, with no other article of clothing save his shirt. When the water subsided, his wife and daughter were found in the bed, and it appeared as though the poor child had run to her mother for safety.
The Flood Came and Took Them All Away: A Sermon on the Holmfirth Flood (1852) by Rev. Joshua Fawcett

Her body, and that of her daughter, was found and identified by Jonathan Roberts, and taken to the New Inn, Hinchliffe Mill.

Lydia and Hannah Brook were buried on Monday 9 February at Lane Independent Chapel, Holmfirth.

Notes and References

  1. Born in Netherthong. He married again and is listed as a weaver living at Corn Buildings, Hinchliffe Mill, in the 1881 Census with his second wife.