It was the worst disaster ever to hit Holmfirth.

When the Bilberry reservoir burst its banks in 1852, a torrent of water swept down the valley, killing more than 80 people and wiping out homes, mills and shops.

Now Holmfirth Film Festival is to screen a documentary of the tragedy in a way it has never been seen before.

Mike Wade, independent film maker and artist Jenny Hinchliffe have collaborated to produce the 35-minute documentary.

The flood happened at 1am on the morning of February 5, 1852, following heavy rain.

The embankment of the Bilberry reservoir collapsed, releasing 86 million gallons of water down the River Holme.

Flood film-maker Mike Wade

It caused 81 deaths, 34 of them under the age of 16.

The flood waters left 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, seven shops, seven bridges crossing the River Holme, ten warehouses, and eight barns and stables.

Many of the survivors were orphaned.

WATCH old footage of Holmfirth shown at last year's film festival below

Video thumbnail, Old Holmfirth film
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Now Jenny’s art work has brilliantly illustrated the individual human tragedies brought about by the negligence of the reservoir owners.

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The film’s title: “Twelve Pounds and Ten Shillings would have Sufficed” refers to the amount of money which, if it had been spent on work at the reservoir, could have averted the disaster.

Mike, who filmed, scripted and edited the film, said: “Many people now living in Holmfirth - some attracted by Last of the Summer Wine - understandably know little or nothing of the most horrendous event in the history of the town.

A scene from the flood film by Jenny Hinchliffe

“War memorials list the names of those who died but no such memorial exists for the victims of the flood of 1852 and their graves are sadly unmarked and unregarded.

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“I hope the film will redress this lack of knowledge and inspire debate.”

The film will be shown at Brambles in Holmfirth on Saturday, May 21, and is already a sellout.

Organisers have arranged a second screening on Thursday, May 26, at Shimla in Holmfirth. Two more short Mike Wade films about Cliff Rec, Holmfirth, will also be shown.

The DVD will be on sale throughout the Festival at £10.