I WAS interested to read your article in the September 22 edition about Swellands Reservoir, sent to me recently by a relative.
Any measures to control the outflow from a reservoir are to be welcomed, especially so in that location, because it was the bursting of a dam just above the site of Swellands that caused the infamous Black Flood in Marsden nearly 200 years ago in which six lives were lost.
On the night of November 29, 1810, a torrent of black peaty water swept down Butterley Clough into the Wessenden Valley, demolishing a cottage at Bank Bottom.
The victims on that fateful night were Esther Schofield, her daughter Mary, aged eight months, her brothers Joseph Haigh, 14, and James, 12, and her niece Betty Schofield, three, daughter of her sister Hannah and Joseph Schofield of Puleside.
The sixth to be killed was the wife of a miller named Bamforth.
Papers of the Huddersfield Canal Company reveal that the culprit was Diggle Moss (now named Black Moss), which had a dam at its Diggle end and a lesser one at its Wessenden end. It was the latter that failed.
By 1825 Swillers reservoir, now known as Swellands, had been constructed below Diggle Moss on the Wessenden side, further work being done on it in 1860.
The Pennine Way passes near and I wonder whether any walkers are aware of the tragedy. Perhaps there should be a stone there, briefly telling the story of that place to wayfarers.