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Norcroft Pit Disaster, 1821

Mon 24 May 2021


Descent into Silence: 1821 Norcroft Pit Disaster

Online presentation by David Hinchliffe.

“Descent into Silence” is the untold story of an 1821 pit tragedy at Norcroft, near the West Riding village of Cawthorne, in the middle of the industrial revolution. Six boys and four men were killed in a shaft accident when the ascending corve carrying them to the surface plunged almost 120 feet after a chain broke. HLHS member David Hinchliffe, a relative of one of the two 8-year-olds killed, has undertaken detailed research into the circumstances of the tragedy, the backgrounds of those involved and what subsequently happened to the victims’ families.

The talk concludes with “Cawthorne Boys” by Wakefield folk singer Dave Hanvey (The Red Shed Players), composed for the bi-centenary Commemorative Service which was held at Cawthorne on 23 May 2021.

David’s book Descent into Silence: Cawthorne’s Forgotten Tragedy is available in bookshops or from Scratching Shed Publishing at £12.99, with all royalties going to local heritage charities.

Due to current social distancing restrictions, Huddersfield Local History Society’s 2020/21 season of talks will be given online and made available on the Society’s web site.


Mon 24 May 2021
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Huddersfield Local History Society
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One thought on “Norcroft Pit Disaster, 1821

  1. Hi. I have watched the very interesting video of David Hinchciffes’ documentary of Norcroft Pit Disaster. Interesting from a personal point of view as our GGG Grandfather, Richard Hey and his wife Maria (nee Gummerson), lived at Upper Norcroft from circa 1839-1879. It helped us confirm a connection with Kippax too, as Maria is documented as originating from Kippax, with Kippax being mentioned in the video. I have just learnt, after speaking with my brother, that Richards son Henry married Ann Hinchcliffe, possibly an ancestor of David Hinchcliffe, on 25 December 1849, Christmas Day!!

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