Huddersfield Chronicle (06/Oct/1866) – Landslip on the Meltham Railway

Landslip on the Meltham Railway.

On Monday evening an extensive landslip occurred in Dungeon Wood, on the branch line of railway in course of construction from Huddersfield to Meltham. Within a short distance from the junction of the new line, with the line to Penistone commences a deep and heavy cutting through Dungeon Wood to the entrance of Butter Nab Tunnel. The deepest part of this cutting is almost immediately in the rear of Woodfield House, the residence of Bentley Shaw, Esq., whose stables, coach-house, and other outbuildings are situate at the foot of the slope on the lower side of the cutting. Between these and the top of the lower edge of the cutting, which is about eight yards high from the level of the line, are two strong burr walls, one belonging to the railway company and the other forming a fence of the private road to Mr. Shaw’s residence. Between these walls are a number of traes and poles. The cutting is a very heavy one, the upper side being between 30 and 40 yards in height, the top portion formed of heavy block stone, while the lower bed is composed of “scale” or loose shale. The sides of this cutting were left nearly perpendicular, but no danger was apprehended of any fall till very recently, little or nothing having been done at the Lock wood end of the cutting for nearly twelve months. On Monday morning, the men went to work, and the “gauger” or overlooker, Mr. Brook, observing indications of the slackening of the shale on the upper side of the cutting, was on the look-out all day. In the meantime he caused all the metals, sleepers, and other working plant to be removed from the place, and towards the middle of the afternoon noticed the servants of Mr. Shaw to remove their stock, &c. from the outbuildings for fear of mischief. At a quarter to eight o’clock the misgivings of the overlooker were verified. A loud crashing, crumbling noise was heard, together with the bounding of huge masses of stone and rock immediately behind Woodfield House. On examination it was found that the upper side of the cutting had given way for about forty yards in length, the rock, shale, &c., completely filling up the cutting, and heaping masses of stone higher than the lower side of it. Many massive stones, some of them yards in length, were rolled down the lower slope towards the stables of Mr. Shaw, but their force being broken by the company’s retaining wall — which was knocked down for fifty yards in length — and intercepted by the trees, no damage was done. The cutting for thirty or forty yards is entirely blocked up with immense masses of rock and stone. The weight of the debris is immense, and will take some time to remove it. The removal, however, will not be attempted until the entire cutting is completed, as the mass of stone and rubbish will have to be removed to the Netherton side, there being no place to deposit it on the Lockwood side of Butter Nab Tunnel, which is about 500 yards from the scene of the slip. The cause of the disaster is attributed to the late continuous rains having penetrated through the ground to the lower bed of shale, which it loosened, and rendered unable to bear the superincumbent weight of rock above it. Beyond the time required for its removal, no loss will be sustained by the contractors, Messrs. Barnes and Beckett.

Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Apr/1865) – Netherton: A Relic of Luddism

This article is referenced in the blog post “The Big Valley Hotel“.


A Relic of Luddism.

The murder of Mr. Horsfall during the reign of terror in this district, consequent on the Luddite disturbance in 1811 and 1812, will not soon be forgotten, and many yet living will remember the circumstances related at the time of the murder, and the search then and afterwards made for the weapons used without discovering them. At that time it was positively asserted that the murderous weapon had been buried somewhere in the neighbourhood of Armitage Bridge, or Netherton Wood. A circumstance transpired during the latter part of last week, which tends greatly to clear up this portion of the dark transaction. Mr. G.S. Tolson, manufacturer, of Dalton, has a dyehouse at Armitage, not far from the bottom of the “Big Valley,” and has lately purchased that estate. A number of men were last week engaged in removing an old quickset hedge, in order to supplant it with a strong fence wall, and while thus engaged, they discovered the lemains of a large horse or cavalry pistol buried deep under the hedge. From the dilapidated state in which it was found, there is not the least doubt but it has lain there for more than half a century. On its becoming known that such a weapon was discovered, many circumstances were related tending to confirm the supposition that this was the very instrument by which the murder was committed, as it is well known the murderers took that direction from Crosland Moor in their way to Honley. Among these circumstances, the following was recollected. An old Waterloo veteran, now 73 years of age, named Bob Wood, some five years ago, while conversing in the Big Valley Hotel with the landlord and John Worth, foreman for Mr. Tolson, declared he kuew for a positive fact that the identical pistol with which Mr. Horsfall was shot was buried under the hedge at Armitage, but he could not point out the exact spot. Since the fatal occurrence — now nearly 53 years — this instrument of death has lain where it was found till last week. It is in a deeply corroded state, the whole of the stock and other woodwork completely rotted away, the lock and ramrod are rusted partially away, but the brass trigger guard, and the brass casing or socket that held the ramrod, are in a perfect state of preservation. It is now in the possession of Mr. Jesse Kaye, landlord of the above hotel, where large numbers of people have been to inspect it.

Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Apr/1865) – Meltham: Navvies’ Tea Party

Charles Brook had cut the ceremonial first sod for the Meltham Branch Line almost exactly a year before.


“Navvies'” Tea Party.

In the formation of the Huddersfield and Meltham Railway, as in all such like undertakings, large numbers of “navvies” collected from all parts of the country are employed. Generally speaking, this class are of a loose, wild, reckless character, and in many instances quite lawless. The “navvies” engaged on the Meltham line have, however, so far proved a happy exception, they, on the whole, behaving themselves in a quiet, and orderly manner ; so much so, that they have gained the respect of the gentry of the neighbourhood, which was testified on Tuesday last, when upwards of 200 of them were treated to a good substantial tea in the spacious dining hall of Meltham Mills, and to which it is needless to say the bronze-faced navvies did “ample justice.” This treat was got up principally through the liberality of Charles Brook, sen., Charles Brook, jun., J.W. Carlile, and Edward Brook, Esqs., and the Rev. E.C. Ince. In testimony of their appreciation of the character of the “navvy,” the whole of the above gentlemen were present on the occasion with the ladies of their respective families, and addressed some very appropriate remarks to the assembled workmen, who paid great attention to what was said to them. At a later period of the evening J.W. Carlile, Esq., amused and interested the audience by exhibiting his magic lantern, and a very agreeable evening was spent.

Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Apr/1864) – Meltham: Cutting the First Sod of the Railway

The first sod was cut by Charles Brook of Meltham Hall and is described in this blog post.

The “Gill-up rudes” mentioned in the article is most likely a phonetic spelling of Gylloproyd Dyke, the old name for the stream which flows over Folly Dolly Falls.


Cutting the First Sod of the Railway.

The long expected ceremony of cutting the first sod of the Huddersfield and Meltham Railway took place on Monday afternoon last, amid a continual downpouring of rain. The large assembly present, however, appeared to care little for the weather, their interest in the undertaking being sufficiently great to withstand personal inconvenience, and they were probably further buoyed up by the adage, that what is commenced in a storm frequently ends in sunshine. A few minutes before three o’clock, Charles Brook, junior, Esq., arrived on the ground, there being then assembled more than a thousand persons. Amongst those present we observed Messrs. J.W. Carlile, Thickhollins ; Edward Brook, Benthouse; James Wrigley, Netherton ; Alfred Beaumont, Esq., Greave ; Rev. Thomas Thomas (baptist), Meltham ; Edwin Eastwood, Meltham ; T.A. Haigh, surgeon, Netherton ; W. Kilburn, Netherton ; Joseph Taylor, of Golcar and Meltham ; — Ramsden. W. Wrigley, Huddersfield ; T. Dunderdale, steward to H.F. Beaumont, Esq. ; Henry Tinker (Geo. Tinker and Son), agents to Messrs. Brooks ; — Varley, manager for the late Mr. Ibbotson, Netherton ; G. Dyson, solicitor, of the firm of Laycock and Dyson, Huddersfield ; Mr. Watts, the resident engineer to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, Manchester ; Mr. Perring, surveyor to the company, Manchester ; Mr. Brown, working-engineer ; Messrs. Barnes and Beckett, Manchester, the contractors for the works; &c., &c.

All being in readiness, Mr. James Wrigley came forward and presented Mr. Charles Brook, jun., with a polished steel spade, with a carved oak handle, bearing on the blade a suitable inscription. In presenting the working-tool, Mr. Wrigley said the promoters had selected Mr. Brook to perform this ceremony, believing that on this as on many other occasions he was the “right man in the right place.” He (Mr. Wrigley) looked forward to the completion of this undertaking as being one of great importance to the manufacturing population of both Meltham and Netherton, and hoped that the time was not far distant when the district would become A 1 in the manufacturing world. He trusted that Mr. Brook would live to see the undertaking carried out, and long afterwards to enjoy the benefits of the railway communication which the present line would confer upon the entire district. Mr. Brook having lifted three large sods in workmanlike style, placed them in a new wheelbarrow provided for the occasion, and wheeled them from the platform to the tip end, where he overturned them as the foundation of the future embankment. He then thanked the committee for the gift of the spade, which to him was of infinite value as a reminder of the day’s proceedings, in lifting the first sod of that important railway. It was only a short branch, but they looked upon it as one of great importance to the manufacturers of the whole district. It was also of great importance to the working classes, who, he was proud to say, would bear comparison with any working men in the kingdom. Where, he asked, would they find a more industrious, well-conducted, or comfortable working population than in this beautiful valley? (Cheers.) They were greatly indebted to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company for giving them the line. Some of them at first did not think the line would be advantageous to the district ; but when they (the directors) were shown the operations that were carried on in that locality, they (the company) came forward nobly and gave them the line, which in due time would prove of immense advantage to the whole population of both Meltham and Netherton, as well to the manufacturer as the working man. (Cheers.) It was a great day for Meltham — (a voice, and Netherton also) — (cheers) — and for the 8,000 or 9,000 of population living there. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company might rest assured, that for the great interest they had shown in the district by giving them the line, the inhabitants would not be backward in repaying them. He hoped that at the opening of the line they would have the directors amongst them, and when they (the directors) saw the beautiful valley through which the line ran, they would never regret what they had done. He concluded by thanking the promoters sincerely, from the bottom of his heart, for the honour they had done him by selecting him to perform the ceremony of the day. Three cheers were then given to celebrate the laying of the first sod, three for the first workman (Mr. Brook), three for the directors of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, three for the contractors, and three for the Queen. On the call of the Rev. Mr. Thomas, three hearty cheers and one more were given for Mr. Wrigley, who briefly returned thanks, and the assembly broke up.

The contemplated line will be, as above stated, about 3½ miles long, and will be a single line, the total cost being estimated at £70,000, or £20,000 per mile. It will commence at the Huddersfield end of the Lockwood viaducts, passing behind Woodfield House, the residence of Bentley Shaw, Esq., by a deep cutting about half a-mile in length, the average depth of which is 40 feet, and then proceeding by a tunnel 200 yards long, through rock, under “Butternab.” This tunnel will be followed by an embankment 200 yards long and 80 feet deep, passing by a culvert over the stream that runs down to Armitage Fold, then passing through a small cutting and approaching Netherton through a small tunnel, from which it will emerge on to another embankment 60 feet high ; then through a tunnel of rock and shale 335 yards long, ending in a cutting a quarter of a mile in length. It then passes along an embankment the whole length of the “big valley,” behind Healey House. The average height of the embankment will be 20 feet, and it will be fully half a mile in length. It next traverses a small tunnel about 30 yards in length, under the grounds of Healey House, then through a shale cutting a third of a mile long, averaging 25 feet in depth, and then proceeds forward by an embankment half a mile long, averaging 20 feet high, crossing the Lockwood and Meltham turnpike road by a skew bridge 36 feet span and 16 feet high on to “Gill-up rudes,” the place where the sod was lifted, passing on to the terminus at Meltham proper, just below the church, where will be the station. A short branch will diverge at “Gill-up rudes,” passing under the grounds of Meltham Hall by an open cutting, winch will afterwards be arched over, then filled up level, then by small cuttings and embankments on to Meltham Mills, the whole length of the branch being 700 yards. The Railway Company will construct the first 300 yards of this line to the end of their boundary lines of deviation, and Messrs. Brook the remainder. Another short branch will join the main line near where the sod was taken up, and run to the silk mills at present occupied by Messrs. Ainley and Taylor. The gradients will be 1 in 60 at one part, 1 in 120 at another, the remaining small portion being level. It is expected that the line will be completed in less than two years, the company being compelled to have it working before the expiration of five years from obtaining the act, which received the royal assent in June, 1861. The proceedings on the ground being over, between 20 and 30 gentlemen proceeded to the house of Mr. John Bray, the Rose and Crown Inn, where they sat down to a first-class dinner. Charles Brook, junr. Esq. occupied the chair. The usual loyal, patriotic, and complimentary toasts having been given and responded to by the various gentlemen present, the company separated shortly after eight o’clock, The church bells rang merry peals, with firing at intervals, during the afternoon and evening.

Commencement of the Work.

The works on this undertaking commenced on Wednesday last, when a number of navvies were employed removing the soil, at the place where the first sod was taken up. On Thursday morning a number more men were set to work at the end of the intended embankment leading to the Netherton tunnel, and in a short time the work promises to be pushed vigorously forward


In remembrance of raising the first sod of the railway, on Monday last, Mr. Kilburn, iron-founder and machine-maker, subscribed a sum of money towards giving a number of his workmen a treat. This sum was augmented by one of his employees, who had that day been married. At night upwards of twenty of the men partook of a substantial supper at the house of Mr. John Hollingworth, the Swan Inn, Meltham. At the same time and place twenty other workmen joined them. After the cloth had been removed, Mr. Peter Sykes occupied the chair, when the evening was spent harmoniously amid singing, reciting, dancing, &c.

On the same evening a number of gentlemen assembled at the Life Guardsman Inn, Meltham Mills, for the purpose of rejoicing over the ceremony of the day. Mr. Moran, surveyor, of Huddersfield, occupied the chair, and Mr. Dan Dyson, of Netherthong, the vice-chair, when the evening was heartily enjoyed, the usual loyal and patriotic toasts having been drunk enthusiastically.

1864.04.09 Meltham, Cutting the First Sod of the Railway - Huddersfield Chronicle

Leeds Mercury (05/Apr/1864) – Cutting the First Sod of a Line of Rails from Huddersfield to Meltham

The first sod was cut by Charles Brook of Meltham Hall and is described in this blog post.

Cutting the First Sod of a Line of Bails from Huddersfield to Meltham.

Yesterday, the ceremony of cutting the first sod of the Huddersfield and Meltham Railway was performed by Mr. Chas. Brook, jun,, in a field near Meltham Mills, on the estate of Mr. Charles Brook, sen,, of Healey House. The line will be about 3½ miles long, and branches out of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company’s line to Penistone, a little past Lookwood station, passing behind the residence of Mr, Bentley Shaw, of Lockwood. The first heavy work on the line is a cutting 40 ft. deep and half a mile long, and this is followed by a tunnel through rook 210 yards long, which is succeeded by two embankments across “the big valley” (Netherton) of 80 feet and 60 feet high. A tunnel 335 yards long conveys the line beneath the village of Netherton, where there is to be a station, and after a short cutting there will be an embankment 20 feet high and half a mile long. Then comes another short tunnel, followed by a cutting 25 feet deep and one-third of a mile in length, and then an embankment 20 feet high and half a mile long, in the middle of which will be an askew bridge, of 36 feet span, over the Meltham and Lookwood Turnpike road. A series of short embankments and cuttings carries the line on to Meltham where it terminates, but about a mile from its close there will be a short branch to Meltham Mills. The heaviest gradient is 1 in 60, and a portion of the line is level. The line was surveyed by Mr. Perring, of Manchester, and will be constructed by Messrs. Barnes and Beckett, of that city — Mr. Brown being the engineer — and it has to be finished before June, 1866. In spite of the heavy fall of rain, which caused the proceedings to be brief, a large number of spectators assembled, and amongst those present were Mr. Charles Brook, jun., Mr. J.W. Carlile, Thickhollins ; Mr. J. Wrigley, Netherton ; Mr. Edward Brook, Benthouse ; the Rev. T. Thomas, Mr. Edwin Eastwood, Meltham ; Mr. Haigh, Mr. J. Taylor, Golcar ; and others. Mr. J. Wrigley presented Mr. C. Brook, jun., with a spade suitably inscribed, and with it Mr. Brook cut three sods, wheeled them to the edge of a platform prepared for that purpose, and emptied them out of the barrow as though to form part of an embankment, amidst the cheers of the spectators. He then briefly adverted to the advantages that the manufacturers and the inhabitants generally of the district would derive from the formation of the line, and said he felt sure their gratitude was due to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company for taking the matter up. (Cheers.) Cheers were then given for the new line, Mr. Brook, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company directors, the contractors, and the Queen, after which the assembly dispersed in a very damp state, inconsequence of the rain which fell without intermission.

Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Mar/1861) – Meltham

Mr. Bentley Shaw (1816–1878) was a vocal opponent of the proposed Meltham Branch Line, as the planned route would run close to Woodfield House, his estate near Lockwood.

Charles Brook is named as a supporter of the line and he cut the first sod of the railway in April 1864.

Some of the other named people are:

  • James Wrigley (1809–1893) of Field House, South Crosland, a woollen manufacturer who is named as employing 150 people in the 1881 Census. He died aged 84 and was buried on 15 April 1893 at Holy Trinity, South Crosland.
  • James Kilburn (1828–1913) of Croft House, Meltham, owner of an iron foundry and an engineer employing 26 men in the 1881 Census. He married Ann Eastwood Farrar in 1850.


Public Rejoicings.

On Monday afternoon, about three o’clock, a special messenger arrived at the Rose and Crown Inn, bearing a telegraphic message from London, announcing that the bill before parliament for the proposed branch railway from Lockwood to Meltham had been passed by the Committee of the House of Commons, notwithstanding the efforts made by Mr. Bentley Shaw in opposing it. The welcome news spread with incredible rapidity from house to house, and every countenance bespoke one common sentiment of gratitude for the boon thus far obtained. The bells of Old St. Bartholomew’s Church soon caught the strain, and began to peal forth merrily, as if determined not to be outdone. In the evening, the Meltham Mills Brass Band paraded the streets, playing their favourite musical airs, and the hand-bell ringers also contributed their quota in the general rejoicing.

Meeting on the Railway Bill.

At a public meeting held in the Oddfellows’ Hall on Tuesday evening, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted by a crowded assembly:— “We, the inhabitants of Netherton and South Crosland, feeling ourselves aggrieved at the conduct of Mr. Bentley Shaw, in his determined and persevering opposition to a bill now pending in parliament to enable the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company to make a branch line of railway from Lockwood via Netherton, to Meltham, resolve therefore that we will refrain from drinking any ale, beer, or porter brewed by the firm of Bentley and Shaw, till the train shall run on the said line through our village.” Resolved also:— “That the thanks of this meeting be given to Messrs. C. Brook, jun., J. Wrigley, J. Ibbotson, James Kilburn, Edwin Eastwood, and J. Ramsden, for their indefatigable and praiseworthy exertions in defending the bill for the aforesaid line of railway.”

Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Jul/1860) – The Projected Branch Railway to Meltham and Meltham Mills

The Projected Branch Railway to Meltham and Meltham Mills

Another influential meeting ot the mill-owners and manufacturers was held at Meltham on Monday afternoon to discuss the considerations arising ont of the project ot a branch line of railway to the places above named, from the adjacent station of Lockwood, on the Lancashire and Yorkshire line. Chas. Brook, jun., Esq., J.P., occupied the chair, and the gentlemen present represented the wealth and influence of the district. The point which has prin-pally occupied attention since the last meeting has been the amount of tonnage which it is estimated the new line would he required, to convey, and the probable nature of the undertaking, considered as a commercial speculation. Considerable care has been taken to ascertain from facts and figures the amount of traffic on which the projectors might depend, and the conclusion is one which augurs well for the carrying out of tho project. From the extensive firm of Messrs. Jonas Brook Brothers alone the tonnage is sufficiently considerable to justify a far easier mode of transit than is at present in operation, even should the traffic continue at tho present rate ; and when it is considered that the traffic from other large firms will he proportionately extensive, and that, as in all other cases, the probability is that with the increased facilities traffic will very much increase, there can be little doubt that the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company will make a profitable investment, should they undertake the construction of the line. The conclusion come to by the meeting was that there was sufficient grounds on which to justify an appeal to the company for the construction of a line conformably with the wishes of the inhabitants, and the committee which has already been formed, was instructed to proceed and take steps accordingly.

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

Morning Post (05/Apr/1855) – Capture of a Ghost

The “Seed Hill Ghost” is covered more fully in this blog post.

This article was widely syndicated and reproduced in many local newspapers, of which the Morning Post was just one example.

Capture of a Ghost.

As mentioned in our last, the residence of Mr. S. Routledge, dyer, Seed Hill, had, during the whole of the preceding week, been haunted by strange and unaccountable noises, but which always appeared to be in and about the passage. Numerous rumours detrimental to Mr. R. and his family were rife in every quarter, and every one explained the extraordinary circumstance in his own way. While conjecture was thus kept on the tip-toe, Mr. Routledge was unremitting in his exertions to discover the cause. Steam, gas, and water pipes innumerable were emptied and explored; sinks, drains, &c., ripped up, but all to no purpose, as his ghostship did not choose to descend to such lowness. An extra watchman was engaged, and up to Thursday night kept watch and ward. A joiner was engaged to thoroughly examine the house to ascertain if any mechanical apparatus had been fixed whereby, with the aid of galvanism or other scientific means, the strange unearthly sounds might be produced, but all was in vain, for notwithstanding these exertions, the invisible one still continued its “rappings.” On Sunday it took another shape, and the bells were continually rung, but no explanation offered itself as to the cause. The rappings were again renewed, and the same took place on Monday. The services of Miss Challand, who has “got her name up” as a faithful clairvoyante (since the discovery of the body of the missing female from Marsden), were put into requisition ; but, after being placed in the required state, nothing could be elicited from her, inasmuch as, not having heard the ghost perform his operations, she could discover nothing to detect his whereabout, or the means he employed to effect such startling sounds. On Tuesday the knockings were not so violent, and the operator confined his freaks to the daytime. Still no suspicion was entertained by any of the family that the ghost was an inmate of the house, this idea being the farthest from their thoughts. On Thursday, however, the pranks of the undiscovered visitant took another range. The bells being silent, from the fact of the wires being unhooked, it took it into its head to enter the bedrooms, and denuding the beds of their coverings, pillows, &c., dragged them down the stairs to the landing, and there left them. This was done several times, and notwithstanding the fact that, whenever there was a loud knocking or bell ringing, an Irish servant girl was sure to appear the only one really frightened, no one for a moment thought that she could he capable of playing such extraordinary tricks, so successfully as she had done ; and had she continued to confine her duties to the “rapping,” in all probability the mystery would have still remained undiscovered. The continued knocking, together with the abstraction of the bed clothes, so terrified the housekeeper that she left the house in the afternoon of Thursday, and refused to return till after the discovery. The man left in possession was so worked upon by his feelings that although he remained in the house he dared not close his eyes. Mr. R. having returned from Bradford, was informed of the whole circumstances, when it at once occurred to him that some person in the house might have been the cause of the annoyance, and considerable expense he had been put to. He, therefore, in company with a few friends, took a stick and proceeded to try by sounding the walls, &c., to discover anything which would produce the same dolorous sound, when, after spending some time in the examination, his son accidentally struck the end of the barrel of a large washing-machine standing in the back kitchen, and like magic the sounds were at once explained, and on the outer end being examined hundreds of indentations were discovered. At an early hour the next morning the servant girl, who had been taken into the house nine months ago by Mr. R. from motives of charity, and whose name is Catherine Haley, was closely questioned as to her knowledge of the “rappings.” Her reply was, “Shure she knew nothing about it at all at all,” but subsequently she admitted she had “knocked a little.” On being taken to the police-office, she during the forenoon further admitted to our reporter that she had “done it all,” could not tell how she had done it, and added that no one told her to do it, and she could not tell why she had so acted. Subsequently she stated it was done to “frighten” the housekeeper, whom she did not like ; then she said she had done it at first for a “bit of fun,” but finding so many people come about the place she had continued it for the purpose of driving them away. On further examining the premises the whole of the room doors leading into the passage were found to be in a state of indentation produced by the little urchin’s “rappings,” and under the pillow of a sofa was found a good sized stone, which had been “rapped” against the inside of the kitchen door, which upon examination bore visible marks of the effect produced. Thus at length the formidable ghost of Seed Hill has been discovered, and turns out to be nothing more than the vicious freaks of an Irish girl. No doubt the circumstance will be food for the gossips of the country for many a day to come.