Morning Post (02/Oct/1821) - Destructive Inundation

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Leeds, Sept. 29.

We have received the following from a Correspondent on whose accuracy we can rely :— "The public have observed with much concern and apprehension the influence of the rainy weather upon the harvest, but in the neighbourhood of Holmfirth it has produced other disastrous consequences. The rivulets had considerably increased without attracting much observation until Friday evening, the 21st ult. when the reservoir above Black Sike mill broke, and a prodigious volume of water rolled down the valley, with rapid course and overwhelming violence. At first the water ran over the top, which indicated the danger, and warned those who were in the mill, and in the adjoining houses, to escape. They had just time enough to save their lives, hut they saved nothing else. Immediately the side burst, the water rushed forth, the buildings were swept away, and all their properly perished before their eyes. Amidst the horrors of this awful scene, with admirable presence of mind, they ran downwards to give the alarm to the workmen at the dye-house at Burnlee, who instantly fled, and it soon appeared that a moment's delay would have been fatal to them. The middle part of the dye-house was borne down by the inundation, but the two ends, which were recently and more strongly built, stood the shock. The devastation here was much less injurious than could have been supposed, for all the account-books, most of the dying wares, and a part of the wool, were saved from the wreck. Through Holmfirth the water filled the cellars in many houses, and rose three or four feet high on the ground floor. The low grounds were covered to a considerable distance from the water-courses, the bridges were carried away by the torrent, the wear at Bridge Mill was destroyed, besides much other damage. The flood began at six o’clock in the evening ; it was at the height a little after seven ; by ten it had subsided ; but the agitation and fear were such, that some of the people never went to bed that night. The ensuing morning exhibited an affecting scene of desolation ; mud, stones, timber, fragments of furniture, pieces of work-tools, and trees torn up by the roots, were spread over the fields. Thousands have since been to visit the ruins, who, though they deplored the havock, rejoiced that no lives were lost on this dreadful occasion." — (Leeds Mercury.)