Holmfirth Flood

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The Holmfirth Flood refers to a number of instances when severe flooding has occurred in the Holme Valley, West Yorkshire, England affecting Holmfirth and other settlements in the valley. The earliest recorded one being in 1738 and the latest in 1944. The most severe flood occurred early on the morning of 5 February 1852, when the embankment of the Bilberry reservoir collapsed causing the deaths of 81 people. It is recorded as the 23rd most serious, worldwide, in terms of loss of life from floods and landslides in human history.


Rainstorms caused the River Holme to burst its banks and flood the valley. Though there was damage to farmland there was no loss of life.


Following a severe storm on Wednesday 21 July 1777 the River Holme burst its banks and flooded the valley. Three people were drowned and a stone church built in 1476 was swept away. It was rebuilt the following year with funding from local clothiers.


The River Holme again flooded the valley around Holmfirth, following rainstorms on 21 September 1821, with no loss of life.


The 1852 flood occurred when the embankment of the Bilberry reservoir collapsed, releasing 86 million gallons of water down the River Holme. It caused 81 deaths and a large amount of damage to property in the valley leaving many homeless and without work. The buildings and structures destroyed included four mills, ten dye houses, three drying stoves, 27 cottages, seven tradesmen’s houses,...
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