Aireborough Historical Society

1859 Tragic Deaths In A Mill Pond




Title
Tragic Deaths In A Mill Pond
Date July 1859
Location Guiseley
Photo ID
W290
Comment

                           Guiseley   Melancholy Deaths From Drowning

    On Sunday evening three lads were drowned while bathing near Guiseley.

Two of the lads were brothers, sons of Mr Thomas Smith of Guiseley, cloth manufacturer, aged respectively sixteen and fourteen.

The other was their cousin, thirteen years of age and son of Mr Joseph Smith, cloth manufacturer and farmer.

     The youths, none of whom could swim were bathing in the Top Mill Dam reservoir situate at the Gill, on the line of division between the townships of Otley and Menston and belonging to Mr James Walsh of Guiseley, cloth manufacturer.

The reservoir is shallow at the sides but very deep about the middle being originally formed on the bed of a small river banked up by Mr Walsh for the purpose

       The youngest of the two brothers, not being aware of the danger, suddenly got into deep water and his elder brother, in his endeavours to save him, was also dragged in.

Their cousin, who was using a rail for the purpose of learning to swim held it out to them and both the brothers seized it  but unhappily they pulled him in also.

       Their struggles were witnessed by some men who at once attempted their rescue by going into the water and taking hold of each other's hands, but none of them being able to swim and the one nearest the boys himself in the most imminent peril of drowning, they relinquished their efforts and gave an alarm.

       John Leathley, a slubber at Mr Walsh's mill, then rushed to the spot and assisted by his son Frederick, both of whom could swim, succeeded in rescuing the youths after a lapse of about twenty minutes from their first immersion, but although every means of resuscitation  were used, they failed and the bodies were subsequently removed to the Fox and Hounds Inn, Menston.

 Image courtesy of the British Newspaper Archives, research by Edwy Harling


 

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