This page has information on the following events:

  • The collapse of the goit at Callis Mill (The Hole in the Road)
  • Charlestown train crash
  • The Opening of Naze Bottom Chapel
  • Eastwood at war
  • Floods at Callis


The water system for Callis Mill runs through the whole western end of Charlestown. The water for Callis Mill starts at Callis Bridge (you can still see the sluice gate) and from there:

  • From the 1907 OS map, the leat runs along canal side.
  • It then crossed the river over an aqueduct into the back of the mill where the water fed a steam engine and later turbines underneath Callis Mill which generated their own electricity.
  • The goit (a stone lined underground waterway) comes out of the side of the mill under Woodland View and across the main road.
  • under Pleasant View,
  • under the railway line,
  • across the Pen (where a ventilation shaft still exists),
  • under Calderside Mill
  • across the main road
  • coming out into the river at the back of the old CO-OP by the Stubbing Wharf Hotel, but no trace of the exit point remains.

The goit was regularly inspected for loose stonework and debris by taking a boat from one end to the other.

The hole in the road March 1972

It is thought that the hole in the road incident was caused by the collapse of the goit. They poured 5 tons of concrete in the hole, thinking the water was coming off the hillside. The concrete was washed away overnight. After the hole was completely filled in, the whole exercise had to be redone.

Hole in the road (from Hebden Bridge Times)
Hole in the road (from Hebden Bridge Times)


Express trains ran regularly from Rochdale to Halifax along the line that still runs through Charlestown taking 20 minutes (now taking nearly 40 mins on a good day!) On the 21st of June the 2.45 from Rochdale and Liverpool approached the infamous Charlestown curve at about 40 miles per hour and left the line, killing four passengers.

Although off the rails, the train was carried for a further 100 yards "tearing up the rails as if they were wire". The engine ploughed into the embankment on the North side of the cutting.

Charlestown Crash
Charlestown Crash

The first carriage was ripped off its bogies, but stayed upright. The second carriage took most of the impact and was described as "smashed into matchwood". It was in this carriage that the deaths and most of the injuries occurred. The remaining carriages were all damaged with broken windows and splintered floorboards.

Charlestown Crash
Charlestown Crash

The first people on the scene came from Callis Mill who helped people from the wreckage. People brought sheets from their houses to be used as bandages.

Crowds at the crash site
Crowds at the crash site

The mission Church nearby was used a clearing station for the injured. When the wreckage was searched, they found a badly damaged coffin containing a corpse. A possible reason for the presence of the corpse was that it was perhaps a victim of the Titanic disaster. Apparently it had been booked through to Harrogate in its own 4-wheel van, marshalled in the middle of the train, which was bad railway practice and may have also contributed to the seriousness of the accident!

Charlestown Crash
Charlestown Crash

A Board of Trade enquiry found the cause of the crash to be a defective coach and the train travelling too fast (although some claim that a missing spring on the front bogie of the locomotive was to blame). Twelve years later the same curve was the scene of another accident, but fortunately there were no serious injuries. Finally, the line of the curve was subsequently changed to make it less sharp, perhaps indicating there was a problem (obvious some contemporary analogies here!). The line of the original curve can still be seen behind the Woodman and Fern Villas.

Charlestown Curve
Charlestown Curve


The opening of the chapel was in March 1909 and the photos indicate that it was a big event.


During the second world war the Ministry of Home Security set up a system of fire watchers as part of the blackout laws. 26 men were enlisted into the Eastwood fire watch team with Mr.E.Hayes acting as block leader. The sewage works canteen was a base for the Eastwood fire watch team. Watches were set up at the Sewage works; Eastwood Station; Martin Holts Mill; Halstead Brothers (joiners); Hitchen, Peel and Co. at Wood Mill; Beck and Pollitzer, Wood Mill food depot; D.Crabtree, timber storage. The fire watch team had a rota to keep watch, but because no major incidents were reported, in 1944 the watch was relaxed.

Because the war had made the importing of food difficult, the Ministry of Food set up a "Dig for Victory campaign". In 1943 Todmorden received a licence which allowed the growing of vegetables on any of its available land. The vegetables would be bought by the ministry for national distribution. About 2 acres of land used by the sewage works near to Callis Mill (presumably the old mill dam) was used for growing potatoes and swedes. The campaign ended in 1948, but the growing of vegetables on the site continued until 1985.


Callis has been plagued with floods, particularly since the straightening of the river. Here is a selection of the headlines about the floods:

  • 1866 Canon Sowden records in 1891..."Some people at Callis Bridge End were 24 hours without food. they rushed upstairs without securing provisions. At Callis Mill James and Sophia Midgely lived at a small cottage called Gas Hall (not sure where this is). Sophia got on to a round table and stayed there, while James moved about (more or less) on chairs, until about 4 in the afternoon when their son John came and rescued them, carrying her to the mill next door. From thence, she went by ladder through a hole made in the roof, and from the roof by another ladder to the top of the scutching room in the mill and down the mill to the regular door. John then carried her in his arms to the woodman inn. Her husband took the same course, only he was able to walk through the water from the mill".

  • 1891 On Saturday December 12th, following a week of excessive rain, there was a heavy fall of snow. It started at about noon and lasting about 4 hours, the snow melted as it hit the ground. By 8 pm, the River Calder was on flood alert (not for the first time that year). The floods were greater than 1866 with the main damage at Midgely's Building's (perhaps the same as gas Hall above?) and Callis Bridge. the bridge was all but carried off, with the parapets clean carried away, only the bare skeleton of the arch remaining.

  • 1896 On september 24th, great alarm and terror was created in Eastwood and charlestown by the sudden bursting of Staups dam. the reservoir fed the eastwood weaving shed, and the mills of Staups and Jumble Hole valley. The reservoir gave way at 3.45 pm. It destroyed walls and trees as the water sped down the hillside and acres of land was destroyed. New Barn and Dean Bottom farmhouse suffered much damage whereas Mulcture Hall only suffered minor damage. The water emptied into Staups Clough above Cow Bridge. Two rooms of the unoccupied Cow Bridge Mill were flooded to a depth of several feet and the road to Jumble Hole was washed away. The water finally reached the valley bottom and flooded the houses at Sandbed.

River Calder in full flood at Callis Bridge
River Calder in full flood at Callis Bridge
  • 1982 On December 9th, after two and a quarter inches of rain in 48 hours the main road was closed at Eastwood and Charlestown.

  • 1984 On the 3rd November the main road at Callis Bridge was closed after 2 days of rain.

  • 1986 On the 25th September 2.8 inches of rain fell overnight (due to hurricane Charley). The road at Callis was again closed. The owner of Dover said that the water was the highest for 16 years.

  • 1987 A campaign for flood works was launched.

Floods at Callis Bridge
Floods at Callis Bridge
  • 2000 and 2001 There seems to have been at least one flood every year. In 2001 The Environment Agency published plans for solving the problem. In June 2002, they announced a delay (some things never change!) Work started in 2003 and was completed in 2005.

This page was last updated April 2009