27th August 1859
THE DROWNING OF TWO LADIES NEAR MIRFIELD,—
The inquest of the bodies of Mrs, Hannah Stancliffe, aged
seventy two, and Mrs. Rachel Walker, aged sixty-nine, drowned at Hopton, was held on Thursday evening, at the Ship Inn, Hopton. The evidence went to show that about a quarter
to eleven on Wednesday morning, Mrs. Stancliffe, who resided At Broad Oakes, and Mrs. Walker, whose residence was at Upper House, Hopton, left the residence of the former in a
gig, drawn by a rather unmanageable horse. Mrs, Stancliffe intended in the first place to convey Mrs, Walker home, and then proposed calling at the Railway Station, for a
daughter, whom she expected to meet there. The two ladies had only proceeded a few yards on the road, which skirts the Calder, when they met a man driving a number of pigs.
The horse shied at the pigs, and Mrs. Walker called out for somebody to take hold of the horse's head. A Mrs. Hemingway courageously seized the animal by the head and
tried to quiet it. Her efforts were of no effect in consequence of Mrs, Stancliffe pulling the reins so tight that it kept rearing and plunging, at the same time backing
towards the river. At last the gig slipped down the bank, dragging the horse after it, and the vehicle, horse, and the two ladies were plunged into the water. The river at the
part where the accident took place is 15 feet deep, and immediately after the occurrence nothing was seen on the surface of the water but the gig cushion floating about. A
labourer named Schofield, and another man, were soon on the spot, and rendered their assistance. They got hold of the harness of the horse and pulled it out. The animal was
dead. Mrs. Stancliffe, who appeared to be fast to the framework of the gig, was next recovered, life being quite extinct. The body of Mrs. Walker was soon afterwards found.
This most deplorable accident has cast a gloom over the whole neighbourhood, the worthy ladies being much respected. Verdict, ''Accidentally drowned."
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17th March 1860
HOPTON, NEAR HUDDERSFIELD.—
UNPROTECTED STATE OF THE CALDER.
EDITORS OF THE LEEDS MERCURY.
You will probably remember the melancholy accident which occurred at Hopton, near Mirfield, in August last, by which two elderly ladies of the highest respectability, and
universally esteemed in the neighbourhood lost their lives in consequence of a pony backing into the river Calder, at a place where there is not the slightest fence or
protection of any kind, although the bank is very steep, and the water in that part of the river is at all times very deep. That part of the river where the fatal Accident
occurred is close to the public road, and immediately opposite to a road leading straight to the very spot.
Now, Gentlemen, can you suppose it possible that the very part
of the river side where the accident occurred should still remain unfenced and unprotected in any way, although more than six months have elapsed since the accident occurred?
During that period I have frequently had occasion to pass the place, and to my utter astonishment and unspeakable disgust I have observed that month after month has been
allowed to pass and yet the public safety is not provided for, although the remaining portion of the river side has been fenced off in a substantial manner, and at
considerable expense. Permit me to ask, through the medium of your widely circulated paper, if there is no board of surveyors, or if there are no influential gentlemen in the
neighbourhood, upon whom it devolves to remedy this strange and most unjustifiable neglect? In the district in which I reside, I am quite sure that such gross negligence would
not be suffered, and that such unreasonable delay would have aroused such a storm of indignation that no gentleman would be willing to encounter. If I resided in the
neighbourhood, or had any interest in the property there, I should feel that it was a matter which concerned my honour, that no such unreasonable neglect should be tolerated
on any pretence whatever.
As an Englishman and as a gentleman I feel called upon to make my most earnest and indignant protest against further delay in providing for the
public safety, and I trust that this letter, which is written entirely on public grounds, may be the means of calling the attention of the local authorities to this glaring
wrong. The deep distress into which a most estimable family have been plunged by the late melancholy accident, and the danger which might at any moment occur to a traveller by
the spot are sufficient reasons why not a single day should be allowed to pass without providing for the Public safety.
Huddersfield, March 14th, 1860.
''A PASSER BY."
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