Huddersfield Chronicle (24/Jul/1858) – Public Funeral of Joseph Brook, Esq., J.P.

The following is a OCR based transcription of the coverage of Joseph Brook‘s funeral and the discussion around a fitting memorial to “The Father of Huddersfield”.


On Saturday morning last a large and influential meeting of gentlemen was held in the Guildhall, for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken to afford the inhabitants of Huddersfield an opportunity of publicly expressing their sorrow at the loss the town had sustained in the death or Jos. Brook, Esq. The meeting was convened by the Constable, who on the previous day had issued circulars to about 100 of the lending public men. Shortly after ten o’clock fully that number were present. On the motion of Geo. Armitage. Esq.,

The Constable took the chair, and after reading the circular, proceeded to explain the object be had in view in calling the meeting. He said the moment he beard of the death of their venerated friend, he consulted with several gentlemen, all of whom advised him to issue a circular to convene a meeting of gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood. This he had done, and lie was sure he should have the excuse and support of the meeting for the step he had taken. He felt that the town would not permit such a good man’s remains to be consigned to the silent tomb without according to them some mark of respect. He (the Constable) had known the deceased for the long period of 40 years ; and he could truly say that no man had shown greater devotion to the interests of the town, and no man was more sincerely beloved.

Mr. Jos. Turner, vice-chairman of the Improvement Commissioners, said that as soon as it was known to that body that their respected Chairman was dead, a meeting was held the same evening, and it was determined that Mr. Brook’s remains should be honoured by a public funeral, should such a course be agreeable to the feelings of his family. With the view of ascertaining this, himself and another gentleman waited upon the family, and learned from them that such a course would not be repugnant to their feelings. Whatever might be decided upon by the present meeting, would meet with their (the Improvement Commissioners’) approbation, and would receive their hearty co-operation in being carried out.

T.P. Crosland, Esq, J.P., said before leaving Huddersfield for Leeds on Friday morning, he saw Mr. Riley and other members of Mr. Brook’s family, from whom he ascertained it would be agreeable that the funeral should be a public one, if the town expressed a wish to that effect. He felt that this was not a matter for the Improvement Commissioners, or for any other isolated body, to take up ; for it would be more grateful to the feelings of the people and to the family of the deceased, that the inhabitants generally should take the matter in band. He urged this, not as a magistrate, but as one of the community, every member of which was anxious to take part in the solemn proceedings. Whatever was done as a mark of honour to so good a man, should, he thought, be done by the town of Huddersfield.

Geo. Armitage, Esq., J.P., said the resolution he had been requested to move might have been done better by many gentlemen present ; but he could truly say that no man respected their deceased friend more than he did. Whatever he might say honourable to the memory of Mr. Brook, he was sure he should be fully sustained in it by the magistrates, the clergy, the professional men, and the inhabitants generally. The town of Huddersfield would never see his like again. The talents he displayed in whatever he took in hand was evidence of the possession of a superior mind. During the time Mr. Brook acted as a magistrate, his decisions were invariably characterised by justice and impartiality in every respect. He (Mr. Armitage) looked up to him as an instructor, and as a gentleman whose example he should do well to copy. As Chairman of the Improvement Commissioners, Mr. Brook had taken the initiative in all the great improvements which had taken place in the town, and by his clearness and ability, had overcome the various difficulties which had necessarily arisen in the laying out of a new town. As a Railway Director, he zealously and firmly discharged his duties, and when approached with frankness, never hesitated for an answer. Mr. Armitage farther reviewed Mr. Brook’s career as Chairman of the Directors of the Huddersfield Banking Company (in the formation of which he took an active part), as a Waterworks commissioner and in all the various public offices be had held. He hoped the testimony of the town to the worth of so good a man would not be limited to following his remains to the grave, but that by united subscriptions the inhabitants would rear to his memory in their Parish Church a monument which should tell his virtues to succeeding generations. He begged to mare the following resolution: —

That this meeting deeply sympathises with the family of the late Mr. Joseph Brook in the heavy bereavement they have sustained by his lamented death ; and would, if it be agreeable to the feelings of the family, solicit permission for the inhabitants generally to mark their deep sense of Mr. Brook’s great worth in all the relations of life, by following his remains to the tomb.

Mr. Jos. Turner seconded the resolution — and, in doing so, bore testimony to the loss the town bad sustained in the death of Mr. Brook. From long official connection with him, he could bear testimony to the zeal and assiduity with which be entered upon every work he took in hand. He bad watched with respectful interest the energy and devotion which had marked Mr. Brook’s public career, and the many sacrifices he had made to the call of duty. A great man had, indeed, fallen ; and he was afraid his place would not soon be filled. He begged to second the resolution.

T.P. Crosland, Esq., said he felt he should do violence to his feelings were he to allow the opportunity to pass without saying a word in grateful recollection of one to whom he had for years past looked up as a parent, guide, and friend. The town had lost a great and a good man — one who was ever first and foremost in every good work, and who had lived and did in harness. After the mark of respect they bad now’ met to concur in paying to the memory of their deceased friend should have been discharged, it would be the duty of the inhabitants, as he was sure it would be their pleasure, to rear to his everlasting memory a monument recording his public and private virtues, and which would be an encouragement to those who should come after. He heartily concurred in the suggestion of Mr. Armitage, that a memorial should be erected ; but he differed with him as to the place in which it should be placed. Monuments remained all over Huddersfield testifying to the public virtue of their old friend. The model lodging-house and the cemetery would prove lasting records of his public spirit. In the former the homeless and the stranger found shelter, and in the latter the rich and the poor alike found a resting place, when their struggles with life were at an end. In the latter — that beautiful sanctuary for the dead — he hoped to see a fitting memorial raised of that man whose life, of all others, had been an example of wisdom and goodness.

T.W. Clough, Esq., law clerk to the Improvement Commissioners, agreed with Mr. Crosland that for any testimonial which might be raised to the memory of their departed friend, the cemetery would be the best place in which to erect it, as the contributions would be received from all classes. During the time he had enjoyed official connection with Mr. Brook, he had always found him a perfect gentleman and a man of unimpeachable honour.

The resolution was then put, and carried unanimously.

Mr. Keighley fully agreed with all that had been said respecting the public and private virtues of their deceased friend ; and with the view of carrying out the wishes of the meeting, he begged to move “that the following gentlemen form the committee:— J. Armitage, Esq. J.P., T.P. Crosland, Esq. J.P., W. Willians, Esq. J.P., Messrs. Geo. Crosland, J. Freeman, W. Barker, Jos. Turner, W. Keighley, T. Hayley, T.W. Clough, T. Brook, Colne Villa ; T. Brook, solicitor ; and J. Booth, with power to add to their number, and that they be requested to ascertain if the proposal of a public funeral will be agreeable to the family of the late Mr. Brook ; and, if so, to make arrangements in conjunction with the undertaker to carry out the desire of this meeting ; and that the co-operation of the clergy and ministers, the bench of magistrates, the Board of Waterworks, and the Improvement Commissioners and other public authorities in the town and neighbourhood is hereby respectfully requested.” The resolution was seconded by Mr. Richard Armitage, and was carried unanimously. After passing a vote of thanks to the Chairman, the meeting saturated.

In the course of the afternoon of the same day the Committee met at the Improvement Commissioners’ Offices, and agreed upon the details of the matter entrusted to their care and guidance. Bills were put out announcing the day of the funeral, the proposed order of procession from the house of the deceased to the Parish Church, and suggesting that on the solemn occasion the shops in the line of route should be closed — an invitation which, we are glad to say, was generally acceded to, not only in the line of route, but in other parts of the town.


The gentlemen who intended to take part in the procession met in the Philosophical Hall, at ten o’clock. Amongst the public bodies present were:— The Water Works Commissioners, the Improvement Commissioners, and the Board of Guardians. The clergy present were:— The Ven. Archdeacon Musgrave, vicar of Halifax ; the Revs. C.A. Hulbert, Slaithwaite ; R. Crowe, Woodhouse ; S. Westbrook, St. John’s ; James Brook, incumbent of Helme, Meltham ; A. Smith, Collegiate School ; A.T. Wood, Trinity ; W. Barker and B. Town, Parish Church ; J.W. Town, Lindley ; and Charles Packer, Longwood. Of ministers:— Revs. R. Ray, G.W. Olver, R. Newstead, Wesleyan ; R. Skinner, S. Chisholm, Independent ; J. Collier, Wesleyan Free Church. The magistrates present were:— J.T. Fisher, Esq., Marsden ; John Brooke, Esq., Armitage Bridge ; T.P. Crosland, Esq., J. Moorhouse, Esq., W. Willans, Esq., and J.T. Armitage, Esq.

Mr. J. Armitage, the Clerk of the Board of Works, announced the order of the procession, the route, and the arrangements to be observed. The procession then formed in the hall, and proceeded up Ramsden Street, along New Street, John William Street, and the road at Bath Buildings to the residence of the deceased at Newhouse, from which place the order of the procession was as follows:—

Detachment of Police, headed by
Superintendents Beaumont and Heaton.
The Magistrates of the District.
Their Clerks.
Constable of Huddersfield.
The Improvement Commissioners.
Mr. Alexander Hathorn and Mr Thomas Brook, the
Resident Agents of the Ramsden Estate.
The Waterworks Commissioners,
The Board of Guardians.
The Railway Officials.
The Friends of the Deceased, four abreast,
Numbering about 350.
The Clergy, and
Ministers of all Denominations.
A Mourning Coach, containing the Vicar of Huddersfield, and
Dr. Turnbull.


Mourning coaches.
First, containing Mr. G. H. Brook and Mr. John Brook,
sons of the deceased ;
Mr. Jere Riley, son-in-law ; and Mr. Charles Riley, grandson.
Second, containing Mr. John Riley, grandson ;
Mr. Walter Brook, Mr. Charles Brook, and
Mr. William Brook, nephews.
Third, containing Mr. Charles Brook, the only
remaining brother of the deceased ; and
Mr. Edward Brook, nephew.

Mr Jere Riley’s.
Mr. Charles Brook’s, Healey House.
Mr. Charles Brook’s, jun., Melthain Mills.
George Armitage, Esq., Milnsbridge House.
Mrs. Starkey, Spring Wood.
John Brooke, Esq., Armitage Bridge.
Joseph Armitage, Esq., Birkby Lodge.
Mr. Edward. Armitage, Edgerton Hill.
Bentley Shaw, Esq., Woodfield House.
J. T. Fisher, Esq.. Marsden.
Mr. Beaumont Taylor, York House.
Second Detachment of Police.

The procession, which low numbered more than 500 persons, went down Bradley Lane, New North Road, Westgate and Kirkgate, to the Parish Church.

Along the whole route the shops and other places of business were entirely closed. Thousands of people had congregated and lined the streets to watch the procession ; and the whole of the time it was marching, the bells of the Parish Church rang a muffled peal On the arrival of the procession at the gates of the Parish Church, the police remained outside to preserve order. The procession proceeded to the entrance of the Church, and then — with the exception of the clergy and ministers — formed in line, right and left, extending from the west door to the gates of the church, and up the street to the Market-place. Through the lines thus formed, the body was carried to the church, preceded by the ministers and followed by the mourners — the pall bearers being Captain Armitage, Mr. John Freeman, Mr. Joseph Shaw, John Brooke, Esq., Mr. Thomas Hayley, and Mr. Joseph Turner.

The corpse was received at the church door by the Vicar, who preceded it into the church reading the introductory sentences of the magnificent and touching “Burial service for the dead.” The “Dead March in Saul,” followed by a voluntary, was played upon the organ until the whole of the gentlemen composing the procession were seated in the body of the church — the galleries being occupied by ladies and others. The Vicar then proceeded with the service — the psalms being read by himself and the congregation in alternate verse, and the chapter from 1st Corinthians being given with much impressiveness.

The portion of the service to be read in the church being ended, the following members of the procession attended the body to the crypt:—

The Clegy and Ministers.
The Magistrates.
The Improvement Commissioners.
The Water Works Commissioners.
The Pall Bearers with the Body.
The Mourners.

The family vault in which the body was to be deposited, and which is situate at the south-west aide of the transept, had been strewn with flowers, which most appropriately had been cut from the beds in the Cemetery ; and the vault being lime-washed to a perfect white, and strongly illuminated with candles, presented an appearance of serene loveliness ; indeed “it might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.” The idea of this plan of decoration originated with Mr. Garner, the sexton of the church, who obtained permission to carry it out.

The members of the procession ranged themselves around the vault — the body was lowered into its last resting place, and the vicar read the concluding and meat impressive position of the Service for the Dead.

The service concluded, those present took a farewell look at the resting place of him who had been to many a guide, a counsellor, and a friend, many a weeping eye and over flowing heart betokening a sense of loss most deeply felt. The other members of the procession who did not accompany the body to the crypt remained in their pews or in the churchyard until the service in the crypt was concluded. They then formed in line in the churchyard through which the mourners passed to the coaches. Afterwards they all visited the crypt, and took a last look at the resting place of him to whose memory they had been doing honour. The procession then returned up Kirkgate to the Market Place, where it dispersed.

The vault was kept open till four o’clock in the afternoon, and was visited by some thousands of people.

It will be noticed that the whole of the magistrates of the district were not present. This did not arise from any want of respect to the deceased, and it is only just to them that their absence should be accounted for. Joseph Armitage, Esq., was to have been present, and to hare acted as a pall bearer, but he met with an accident to his eye on Thursday morning, and his medical attendant advised that it was not fitting for him to leave home ; John Haigh, Esq., is on the continent ; T. Malliason, Esq., is in London ; and Bentley Shaw, Esq., was prevented from attending by an engagement of some standing, which he had in North Wales, and which he was obliged to keep. Of the clergy not present, the Rev. J. Haigh, incumbent of St. Paul’s, was at Matlock, and had to preach in Derbyshire on that same evening ; the Rev. T. R. Jones, incumbent of Trinity Church, was also in Hertfordshire. J. C. Laycock, Esq., the magistrates’ clerk, sent the following letter explaining his absence, and be was represented on the occasion by his partner, Mr. Dyson :—

Sea Breezes, Bridlington Quay, 20th July, 186S,

My dear Sir, — Your circular has been sent to me at this place. Be assured I should have taken my place in the mournful procession on Thursday, had I been at home. But I must remain here a few days longer, and enjoy the rest and quietness of this place.

Our good friend is now at rest from his labours, and from all the trouble and care of a life full of anxiety and trouble.

His energies were devoted to the public, and this tribute which they are now paying to his memory is one which is justly due.

Believe me very truly yours,


J. Shaw, Esq.

The manner in which the family of the deceased Mr. Brook appreciated this public manifestation of regard and esteem for one who was ever ready in life to do public service, and promote the interests of the locality in which he dwelt, will be learned from the following touching communication which has been handed to us for publication :—

Edgerton. July 22nd, 1858,

My dear Sir,

I cannot permit this day of mourning to pass without conveying to you, as Constable of Huddersfield, the thanks of myself and the other members of my family, for the high token of respect paid to the memory of our late dear father by the town and neighbourhood ; and I shall be further deeply obliged if you will kindly communicate to the inhabitants generally the gratitude we all feel for their kindness and sympathy in our deep affliction.

With every feeling of regard, I am, my dear Sir, yours faithfully,

G. H. Brook.

Joseph Shaw, Esq., Constable of Huddersfield.


A meeting of the Committee appointed to make arrangements relative to the funeral, was held in the Board Room of the Improvement Commissioners, South Parade, on Thursday afternoon, for the purpose of taking steps for the erection of a Public Monument to commemorate the public and private virtues and services of the late Joseph Brook, Esq.

There were present on the occasion Joseph Shaw, Esq., Constable ; William Willans, Esq. ; Mr. Joseph Turner, Vice-chairman of the Improvement Commissioners ; Messrs. T. Brook (solicitor), T. Hayley, William Edward Hint, J ere Kaye, and James Booth.

Mr. Thos. Brook proposed “That proceedings be forthwith taken to obtain subscriptions for the erection of a monument to the memory of the late Joseph Brook, Esq.”

W. Willans, Esq. seconded the resolution, which was adopted unanimously.

Mr. Jibs Kate moved, “That as suggested at the meeting held in the Guildhall, and in order to give as many persons as possible the opportunity of subscribing, the maximum subscription be one guinea.”

Mr. Thomas Hayley seconded the proposition, which was adopted.

On the motion of Mr. Turner, seconded fay Mr. James Booth, another resolution was passed, dividing the town into eight districts, for the purpose of canvassing, and gentlemen were appointed to act as canvassers for the town and district.

The high estimation and veneration in which the deceased gentleman was held, both for his public and private virtues ; the unswerving interest he always took in the welfare and improvement of the town, which justly entitled him to the designation of “the father of Huddersfield ;” the successful efforts he made for the development of the commercial resources of the town and district, by increasing railway communication, and the incalculable benefits which have resulted from those exertions, are such, and are so well known and appreciated, that we cannot but think that among all classes the opportunity of contributing to a lasting memorial of the worth and virtue of the departed will meet with a ready and hearty response.

The public have, with a spontaneity and accord, arising from gratitude for benefits conferred, and from admiration and appreciation of the disinterested public spirit which throughout life actuated the deceased, nobly performed one portion of the duty which Mr. Brook’s death devolved upon them — that of marking their sense of his public and private worth, by following his remains to the grave, and by the other public manifestations of regret for the bereavement all have sustained by his death. Such a procession, for weight, respectability, and numerical strength, has not been seen in this district on any similar occasion since the day the remains of the late Benjamin Haigh Allen were consigned to the tomb — a man who, like Mr. Brook, had won for himself the regard of all classes by his benevolence and public spirit, and whose untimely death imparted to the occasion of his funeral a peculiar sympathy. The all but universal closing of shops and other places of business in the town on Thursday, and the thousands that congregated in the streets to honour by their presence the passage to the tomb of the remains of one whom they esteemed in life, were manifestations of feeling which few amongst us could call forth. This portion of the duty of the public was performed in a manner that must have been gratifying and satisfactory to all — and that it was particularly so to the family of the deceased, the communication we insert above affords ample proof. The other portion of the duty which the public owe to Mr. Brook’s memory has now to be performed, in response to the invitation above recorded ; and we have no doubt but that this duty will be as promptly, as generally, and as satisfactorily performed as was that of Thursday last.

If we may be pardoned for venturing a suggestion, we would ask leave to say that in our opinion the memorial to commemorate the worth of Mr. Brook ought to be a finely proportioned, but massive, Granite Obelisk. Perhaps few have had more or better opportunities than ourselves, of knowing the desire of the good old man departed to encourage a better taste in the matter of memorials for the dead, than obtained in this district before the Cemetery was opened. It was this desire that led Mr. Brook to strive so earnestly as he did for a beautiful design for the laying out of the grounds of that Cemetery, and for their appropriate planting. To elaborate ornamentation of tombs, or memorials, Mr. Brook was opposed ; but the simple and unostentatiously beautiful he regarded with delight, and would stand before such a shrine of human affection for minutes together, admiring the design, and offering the homage of sympathy to the virtues thus commemorated. In his case, we should like to see a memorial as plain and unostentatious, and yet as massive, as was his own noble person and bearing ; and withal as enduring as his virtues. In the obelisk, we have the simple but grand form symbolical of that we refer to ; and in the material proposed, granite, we have the endurance desirable.

There is also one portion of the proceedings of the Committee which we should desire to see re-considered — the limitation of the amount which an individual may subscribe. We think it should be left upon to each subscriber to give what even his feelings of esteem prompt ; and we know that in giving expression to this opinion, we are speaking for many influential parties who do not like to be restricted. For instance, yesterday, a gentleman who takes no port in public life, called on a member of the Committee, and left with him £5, in aid of the contemplated memorial. What is to be done in this case ? Is the money over £1 1s, to be returned ? If so, will not the gentleman feel offended that others should measure for him the extent of his gratitude, and not leave him to do that for himself ? What is his case will be that of many others ; and we should be glad to hear that this point has been reconsidered, and each individual left to determine for himself the amount he is inclined or can afford to give.

Funeral of Joseph Brook - Huddersfield Chronicle 24 July 1858 BL-0000167-18580724-030