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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:57 am 
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Reynolds Newspaper

17 July 1870

Fatal Storms and Floods

A terrible thunderstorm followed by heavy floods in the rivers swept over Lancashire on Saturday afternoon week, and caused extensive damage to property and the loss of several lives. The storm travelled southwards, and in the northern district of the county the ravages it caused were chiuefly confined to the immediate beds of the rivers and the flooding of low-lying lands. The flood broke upon the valley above Todmorden, however, with as much suddenness and impetuosity as if a water-spout had burst upon the hill tops. A party of cricketers engaged in a match on the river bank were compelled to fly for their lives, so suddenly was their ground inundated.
About midway between the towns of Burnley and Todmorden on the south-west side, is one of those deep and far-descending indentations, called Ratten-clough, at the foot of which stands a few cottages by the road, as if built there originally for the convenience of the water thence descending. This place must have been the scene of a miniature Niagra, for not only did the water come down, but also immense masses of rock, earth and trees, blocking the road (making it impassable now the flood has subsided), and threatening to overwhelm the cottages or carry them beyond into the meadow, which for the moment became a little lake and is now for some space one bed of mud and slime. In one of the cottages, with his wife and children, dwelt Henry Goodall, whose humble occupation is that of a dealer in yeast. More frightened by the lightning and thunder than the flood, and fearing from the shaking of the house that it had been struck by the former, the whole family, including an invalid boy, were making their way from it, two of the children being helped forward a little quicker than the rest of the party by a kindly neighbour. Already the flood was in the house and the people out of it, when the neighbour and two children in advance were caught by the deluge from the hill, and though the good man strove hard to save the children he was forced to let them go at last, himself being drowned. Less than a mile below the scene of this disaster stands a manufacturing village called Portsmouth. There is no power of language to give an adequate idea of the scene left by the storm at this picturesque place. Had it occurred in the night (or any time save Saturday afternoon, when the people had left the mills), the destruction to human life might have been equal to that at the memorable bursting of the reservoirs above Sheffield and Holmfirth. A large "weaving shed" and gasometers belonging to the Cliviger Company, at Portsmouth mill, were thrown down, drifted into one great heap, looms and all, and all but buried out of sight, under the masses of rock, trees, and earth, carried down upon them by the flood from the mountain-gorge behind. The lower story of the large mill itself, with its back windows driven in, was also filled with mud and stone to the window-sills, in which the machinery is embedded, while many of the houses in that part of the village have fared only a little better, and the gardens and fields are covered deep with fresh mud, much as if they were on the banks of the retiring Nile. Yet even this is slight in comparison with the wreck a little farther down. There another mountain stream, supplying water in ordinary to Carr Field Mill, worked by Messrs. Crossley and Sons, brought with it from its native ravine enormous masses of rock and earth, and trees of considerable size. These appear to have been forced into a temporayr dam-head, that held the waters back a few minutes, then let them burst with all their fury through the lower windows of the mill, crushing 360 looms into heaps, and breaking down a portion of the wall and roof of the building in their escape into the road on the other side. Nor was this all. Close to the mill stands a row of houses, the lower rooms of which all shared a kindred fate; the water rising even to the upper rooms. Much furniture, linen, clothes, and other articles of great value to the inmates were destroyed or embedded in the accumulation of mud, while one house at the upper end of the row had its gable carried away, and with it the body of a poor widow who lived there, and who had sent her only daughter out but a few minutes before for help, or she would most probably have shared her mother's fate. The widow's corpse, much bruised, and with the skull fractured, was afterwards found about a quarter of a mile off, her clothes entangled with a lamp-post, to the neighbourhood of which had also reached a quantity of warp and weft from the Carr Field Mill.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:15 am 
Spider Lady
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Possibly the two children that didn't make it?

Goodall Betsy 4 Burnley 8e 123
Goodall Sarah Ann 2 Burnley 8e 121

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Crikey, they wouldn't have had anywhere to flee to.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:10 pm 
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The Manchester Times

Saturday 16 July 1870

Thunderstorms And Floods

Loss of Life And Serious Destruction Of Property

On Saturday aftenoon, the northern and eastern divisions of Lancashire were visited by a most serious thunderstorm, accompanied with an extraordinary fall of rain. In the neighbourhood of Lancaster and Morecambe the storm was Very furious, rain fell in complete torrents, and there was general alarm. But the most serious visitation was in the eastern section of the county, between Haslingden and Burnley. The guard of a train passing through the district when the storm was raging sUpplied our correspondent with the following particulars: "After leaving Accrington at 2 42 in the afternoon, by the train for Sowerby Bridge, rain began to fall, and came down in torrents till we reached Townley, and on arriving there the road was inundated, the water reaching the footboards of the carriages. Between Townley and Portsmouth the adjoining fields were about two yards deep with water, and nearly every house in the immediate district was flooded. The valley from Portsmouth to Todmorden wast inundated, and, it is feared that a bridge belonging the line below the latter station will fall. The line was blocked in several places, and the traffic was suspended for several hours."

Burnley And Accrington.

At Burnley, the streets in several parts of the town presented the appearance of an unbroken stream. Men and women and children could be seen wading through the water knee deep, whilst here and there were to be seen floating on the water stray pieces of furniture. In Fletcher-street and near the cattle market ground were to be seen many cart loads of furniture, which had been hastily recovered from the houses, indiscriminately heaped up, whilst in Cannon-street and in Wapping almost every cellar was flooded, and in many instances the houses also. Large quantities of newly-mown hay Were either washed away or completely spoiled by the wind and rain. In Manchester Road many tons of the macadam were washed towards the lower part of the town, and a number of carts were engaged for a good many hours in cleaning the street. The Cross Keys public house, in Newtown, the landlord of which has just recovered from the Burnley Corporation a sum of money for damage sustained in a recent storm, was very considerably damaged whilst the streets thereabouts were many inches deep in water. At Portsmouth, which is about three miles from Burnley, the line was blocked up for a considerable time by sediment washed from the hills by the water on some parts of the line covering the steps of the carriages. At Accrington, considering the violent nature of the storm, the damage done is inconsiderable, chiefly arising from the flooding of some of the cellars in the lower parts of the town.

http://www.briercliffesociety.co.uk/Pho ... Street.htm

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:51 pm 
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Love the term "visitation". Maybe this was the beginning of global warming.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 10:07 am 
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The Manchester Times

Saturday 16 July 1870

Todmorden - Three Persons Drowned.

Our Todmorden correspondent says: The surrounding district of Todmorden, and some of the low-lying parts of the town, were on Saturday afternoon visited by the most sudden and fearful calamity over known in the district — a calamity causing damage to property to an incalculable amount, and which we have reason to believe has terminated the lives of three persons at least. At noon, on the day named, the whole of the sky visible was covered with a dark cloud, which rendered the lighting up of the houses necessary. Vivid flashes of lightning and awful peals of thunder continued for about an hour, but to the surprise of the inhabitants very little rain fell in the town, the shower not lasting more than a quarter of an hour. Immediately, and without any warning, the water rushed in great volume down the river, washing away walls, battlements of bridges, and flooding all the tenements of Cobden Shade, &c., to a depth varying from two yards downwards. This was the state of things at Todmorden, but the scene of havoc and desolation was the valley from Todmorden to Portsmouth (Burnley direction). Proceeding up the valley from Todmorden, we first come to the cricket field, in which a match was being played; here the water forced an entrance, and washed the wall nearly away, and the players had to make a speedy flight. Further on, the bridges (without, I might say, a single exception) were greatly damaged — the water rushed over them, taking away the battlements, flooding the pasture land, and making the road a deep running stream. Cotton mills and dwelling houses were deluged, and great damage and inconvenience were caused. About a mile and a half up the valley (at Robinwood), the river runs at a somewhat deep level, and here houses were flooded two feet deep, showing the stream to have run at the enormous depth of four or five yards. Here part of the road was swept away, and the bed of the river almost blocked up with débris. About 150 or 200 yards farther up is a line of houses known as "Bowed Row." Two of the houses were completely washed down, and some of the others greatly damaged. This row of houses is built over the river on an arch. As we proceeded further, the scene became more fearful. Very little of the river wall remained, and the road, where the water had ceased to flow, was in the most disturbed state. Barewise House, the residence of Mr. Ormerod Barker, manufacturer, was all but undermined and shows signs of giving way. Now the cause of the mischief, so mysterious to those lower down, explained itself. The cloud which had hung over the sky from some cause had discharged itself in a sheet, as it were, on to the moorland north-east of Todmorden, and had rushed down the steep woodland declivity, bringing with it trees and all manner of débris. At Vale, two and a quarter miles from Todmorden, the road was impassable for hours after the first signal of the disaster. The next scene of catastrophe was at Mount Pleasant about, three miles from Todmorden. Here the sudden deluge was heard or seen by the widow of one William Greenwood. She told her daughter to call in the assistance of a man, but when the daughter returned the end of the house was gone, and nothing could be seen or heard of the woman. About 50 yards further the water entered the loom shed of Mr. Redman, sweeping in the wall on the side near the moor, and almost filling the shed with débris, entirely covering much of the machinery and breaking the shafting. The boiler house of this mill was also demolished. At Portsmouth, the weaving shed of the Chirgée Coal Company was destroyed entirely. At last came the most fearful and heartrending part of this catastrophe. A man named Thomas Butterworth while endeavouring to rescue two children (aged two-and-a-half and five years respectively) of George Goodhall, of Ratton Clough, four miles from Todmorden, narrowly eacaped death. He was walking with the two children in his arms, under the shade of a Wall by the turnpike side, intending to get over the wall and shelter from the storm in a wood on the opposite side of the road. Suddenly, however, the wall was washed down upon him by a terrible stream, and he was carried across a large field, and lost his hold of both children. He was landed (insensible, we hear) on the railway embankment on the opposite side of the field. He states that he has no recollection of losing his hold of the children. The youngest child was found on Saturday evening in an adjoining meadow. There are three remaining children of the Goodhall family, who, with their parents, are still occupying the dilapidated tenement in an almost destitute state, the contents of the house having been washed away by the flood. The appearance of the wood at this place is of the most disturbed and chaotic character, and the scene of wreck in the turnpike, as well as on the pasture land surrounding, is perfectly indescribable.
The remains of the widow Mary Stansfield were found on Saturday night at Redwater Foot,. 400 or 500 yards from the house she had occupied. Her dress had become entangled with a lamp pillar.
At Springside, Cornholme, five of a block of houses belonging to a lodge of Oddfellows were rendered untenantable. A large oak tree became fixed in the road opposite the centre of this block, and this so caused the water to accumulate as to carry away the arching upon which the five houses were built.
The moor (Flourscar) on which the rainfall occurred is like one dense swamp, being perfectly saturated.
Gauxholme was flooded; Shade was not all flooded. Ascending the valley (Dulesgate) from Todmorden, the turnpike and footpath are greatly disturbed. At Gorpley Mill, built over the river, the long arch is blocked up, and the water flows some distance along the turnpike. The well above is gone also. An arch leading into the road to Gorpley Farm is completely washed away. At this point the valley becomes very narrow and confined, and the river has worked great destruction; nearly all the wall for half a mile is completely washed away, and in some places the road is left only just capable of allowing a conveyance to pass, and that only with great danger. A clough or rivulet runs under a number of the houses at Clough-fort, and here the sudden rush of water filled the clough and overflowed, passing in one continuous stream through the houses, leaving a depth of some feet of rubbish behind. Here occurred one of the narrowest escapes one could imagine. A man named Thomas Greenwood was taken by the stream into the road out of his house. Just when he reached the wall of the river he felt the wall give way, and in an instant he was in the impetuous river. With difficulty he was rescued, and is slowly recovering. Other escapes, wonderful certainly, but not so extraordinary as this one, are recorded of four others at Clough-fort. The deep rents or channels in the moorland down which the water rushed bear witness to the terrible force with which the stream descended. Wappit (or Lower Banks) is similarly built to the houses we have referred to at Clough-fort, and the water which rushed down the clough here is described by the occupants of the houses as "like a mighty dark cloud, descending down the clough at an awful speed." The lower storeys of the houses have a deposit of three feet thick, which was all brought down in ten minutes. Behind Bank's Mill the bank of the reservoir is burst, and some injury, to the amount of several hundreds of pounds, is done to the back portion of the building; an arch of considerable length is here destroyed also. The mouths of two coalpits are stopped up with débris and flooded. The outlet for water to the old one at Holden Gate was made up when we visited the place on Sunday. Hundreds of large wall stones and pieces of turf or peat of unusual size are strewed along the road. Both the new and the old roads to Holden Gate coalpit are demolished. They run at a lower level over the same hill-side as the turnpike to Bacup. The mischief here caused, not only to the road to the coalpit, but to the turnpike, is of extraordinary extent, and it will be with the greatest difficulty that the two roads can again be made as good as before. A fine arch spanned the river to the mouth of the pit, and this is entirely gone. The flow of water washed the road up on each side, sometimes to the depth of four or five feet. The highest stream or outlet of water which descended from the hills on this side was about six yards across. This place is about three and a half miles from Todmorden.
It appears to be a most fortunate circumstance that only three lives have been lost. Had the flood come in the night, the number of persons who would have perished - especially those who occupy the cellars of the town — can not be estimated. In the matter of destruction of property, no doubt it has been as fearful as some of the most fatal floods. The loss falls, we may say, equally on the poor and rich, but the distress caused among the poor, to say nothing of the sickness and loss of work, will not be soon removed or forgotten.
Thousands of persons from Burnley, Todmorden, Walsden, Bacup, and surrounding towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, visited the scene of the calamity on Sunday and yesterday in special trains and conveyances. Boxes are erected for the reception of contributions for the sufferers by the flood.
The damage to mill and house proparty cannot be less than £50,000. The turnpike and river bed will cost thousands of pounds to restore.
A public meeting was held in the Oddfellows Hall, Todmorden, on Monday, to consider and decide upon the best means of relieving the sufferers by the flood. There was a numerous attendance. Mr. John Fielden, J.P., took the chair, and delivered a sympathetic speech in opening the proceedings. Mr. A.J. Eastwood, solicitor, Mr. W. Shackleton, manufacturer, Mr. James Green, architect, Rev. James Maden, Rev. L. Taplin, Rev. W. Fearnaldes, and Mr. Joshua Fielden, M.P., proposed and supported the various resolutions. Messrs. Fielden Brothers promised £300 towards the relief fund (£100 each to the three brothers). After ascertaining the most deserving cases of distress, especially among the working and poorer classes, the committee appointed by the meeting will have to obtain and dispose of whatever funds may be obtained. A committee, including some of the most influential gentlemen in the neighbourhood, was appointed, C.B. Fernihough, manager of the Todmorden branch of the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank, being elected treasurer to the fund. Subscriptions, in all amounting to over £500, were received before the meeting terminated, including a £50 contribution by the Cliviger Coal Company. The meeting was closed by a hearty vote of thanks to the chairman.
A local committee had been formed early in the day on Monday, and relief in money was distributed in a few of the most pressing cases. £9 had been collected in the boxes placed in different parts of the district, and the sums left with the bereaved and desolate families amount to a score or two of pounds.
The lnquest on Mrs. Greenwood (47), who was killed or drowned by the Cornholme flood, on Saturday last, was held at the Wagon and Horses Inn, Redwater Fort, by Mr. W. Barstow, deputy coroner of the Halifax district. The daughter (Hannah Greenwood) deposed to returning home from her work at two o'clock, before the storm commenced. Their house was built over an arch, which became blocked up in a minute with timber. She was sent by her mother for assistance about 2 30, and when she returned in about two minutes she could not get to the house. The next time she saw the house the end was gone, and she could not see nor hear of her mother. Thomas Marshall gave evidence as to finding the body at the end of Cornholme railway arch, at 6 5 in the evening of Saturday, buried with the débris off all kinds; she was fearfully bruised. An open verdict of "Accidental death" was immediately returned.
On Tuesday an inquest was hold at the Roebuck Inn, Portsmouth, by Mr. John Deane, deputy coroner, into the cause of the death of Sarah Ann Goodall, aged two years, daughter of George Goodall, of Ratten Clough, who, with her sister Betsy, was washed away by the flood in the Burnley Valley on Saturday last. The first witness was the mother, Mrs. Amelia Goodall, who gave a clear statement of how Thomas Butterworth had called at their house for shelter at between two and three o'clock on Saturday last; how he had fled with the two children above-named when they noticed the flood and felt the house to be shaking severely; how she followed him along the meadow with her three other children; and lastly, how she saw the wall dividing from the meadow burst by the violent stream of water in the turnpike, and saw Butterworth and her two children float hopelessly away. She said, "Butterworth could not help it, he was driven back with the water, and could not hold them." The Coroner, in summing up, said that death was undoubtedly attributable to an accident. The efforts of Thomas Butterworth to save the family of Goodall were very laudable. Verdict, "Accidentally suffocated or drowned."

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