Thomas Newsome (1813-1852)

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


Thomas Newsome was born in May 1813 in Leeds, the son of bookkeeper Thomas Newsome and his wife Martha, and was baptised on 29 July 1813 at St. Peter's, Leeds.

At the time of the 1851 Census, he was working as a short hand writer at the Leeds Mercury newspaper and living with his widowed mother at Providence Place in Leeds. By the start of the following year, he was a journalist for the Halifax Guardian. According to an article in the Bradford Observer, Newsome had also briefly worked for the Manchester Guardian.

In February 1852 he was one of the journalists covering the aftermath of the Holmfirth Flood. After attending the inquest held in Holmfirth on 20 February, he made his way back to Halifax by train via Huddersfield. At Huddersfield Station, he accidentally boarded the Holmfirth train rather than one to Halifax. Realising his mistake after the train set off, he attempted to jump from the compartment but accidentally fell under the train and was badly injured. He died on 24 February at Huddersfield Infirmary. In a curious coincidence, Joseph Barrowclough — who rescued several people immediately after the flood — was also in the compartment and gave evidence at the subsequent inquest:[1]

On Wednesday evening last an inquest was held at the Refreshment Rooms, Huddersfield Railway Station, before George Dyson, Esq., and a highly respectable jury, on the body of Mr. Thomas Newsome, aged 38, reported for the Halifax Guardian, who died on Thursday afternoon, about four o’clock, at the Infirmary, of injuries he had sustained by jumping from a railway train whilst it was in motion, on the evening of yesterday week. The following witnesses were examined : Mr. Bottomley, Mr. Wm. Padmoor, and Mr. Joseph Barrowclough. The latter witness stated, that he was sitting in a Holmfirth train, at the Huddersfield Station, about eight o’clock on Friday night. When the train started there were other four persons in the same compartment beside himself ; as soon as the train begun to move, one of them inquired where the train was going, and witness replied to Holmfirth. The person who put the question immediately opened the door of the carriage, and jumped out, and falling against the wall at the end of the station, rebounded back against the door of the carriage. Mr. Padmoor, the station master, then went up to the place with a light, and found the deceased dreadfully mangled about the leg and foot ; he was at once conveyed in a cab to the Infirmary, where he received every attention from Mr. Bottomley, the house-surgeon, but mortification commenced in the limbs on Saturday night, and Newsome died on Tuesday afternoon last. He had been attending the inquest at Holmfirth, and was returning to Halifax, but unfortunately had made a mistake and got into the wrong train. The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death.”

A slightly more detailed report of the incident appeared in the Bradford Observer:[2]

Mr. Thomas Newsome, reporter to the Halifax Guardian, has met with his death in a very melancholy manner. On Friday week he attended the inquest at Holmfirth. and after its termination proceeded to Huddersfield by a special train. About eight o'clock, Mr. Newsome took his seat in a train which he was told was going to Halifax. Finding, however, when it began to move, that the train was a Holmfirth one, he opened the door and stepped out. His foot slipped and became entangled between the step and the platform, and immediately afterwards he was dashed against a wall, at the entrance to the station. Finding himself quite sick and faint, Mr. Newsome flung himself upon his back, in expectation that the train would pass over and crush him; but he escaped this, and his groans having almost immediately attracted the attention of the station master and two if the porters, he was, at his own request, conveyed to the infirmary. On being examined, it was found that he had sustained a severe wound, extending from a little below the knee on the inner side of the right leg to the toe, the flesh being laid open to the bone. Dangerous symptoms appeared and erysipelas and mortification set in. Mr. Newsome sank rapidly and expired about four o'clock on Tuesday afternoon.

Notes and References

  1. "Local News" in Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner (28/Feb/1852).
  2. "Fatal Accident to a Newspaper Reporter" in Bradford Observer (04/Mar/1852).