Swellands Reservoir, Marsden

This page is a bare-bones entry for a specific location marked on an old map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


  • location: Marsden
  • status: still exists
  • category: reservoir

Built to ensure consistent water levels in the highest stretches of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The Black Flood

In the early hours of 29 November 1810 the dam wall gave way, leading to the "Black Flood"[1] inundating Marsden and killing five people.

According to a letter written to the Huddersfield Chronicle in 1852, an inscription on a tomb at St. Bartholomew, Marsden, read:

Beneath this tomb are deposited the remains of Joseph, Thomas, and Esther, sons and daughter of James Haigh, Newclose ; also, Betty and Mary Schofield, his granddaughters, who were unfortunately drowned in the night on the 29th of November, 1810, by the bursting of a reservoir on Diggle with so great impetuosity against the house in which they all slept, that with it they were swept away, and in a moment launched into eternity.

Esther's husband survived as he was working a night shift in the Standedge Tunnel, which was built to carry the Huddersfield Narrow Canal from Marsden to Diggle.[2]


Notes and References

  1. The flood gained its name due to the dark peaty water in the reservoir.
  2. "Marsden Black Flood" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Mar/1852).