‘Man Engine’ mechanical puppet comes to Barnsley

The largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain is coming to Barnsley this month.

Man Engine, a 36ft (11m) tall miner powered by Volvo, will visit Barnsley and Rotherham as part of its 2018 Resurrection Tour.

The giant mechanical miner will visit Elsecar Heritage Centre and Wentworth Woodhouse from 23 to 24 June. The events will include theatrical shows, live music, fireworks and storytelling to celebrate the area’s iron and coal industrial heritage.

In 2017 Man Engine won ‘best arts project’ in the National Lottery Awards. The invention was made to mark the tenth anniversary of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape being added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Yorkshire’s Man Engine festivities will begin at Elsecar Heritage Centre from 7pm on Saturday 23 June for the ‘after darker’ where pyrotechnics will light up the night sky. The celebrations will continue at Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham on Sunday 24 June from 12 noon with a 1940s vintage-themed picnic. Entertainment will include live music, street performers, craft activities and food and drink stalls.

The events have been funded by Great Place Wentworth and Elsecar – a three-year partnership between Barnsley Council, Rotherham Council and the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

Cllr Roy Miller, Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: “The arrival of Man Engine celebrates the iron and coal industrial heritage of both Elsecar and Wentworth in a big coming-together event.

“Mining was the backbone of Elsecar and Wentworth and an intrinsic part of their histories. So, it’s fitting that Man Engine should visit both of these great places in what will be a truly unmissable weekend.

“We can’t wait for people from across Yorkshire to see the star of our show and experience some spectacular white-hot pyrotechnics.”

Cllr Sarah Allen, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, said: “It’s a really exciting summer of events in Wentworth, with the Tour de Yorkshire, the Wentworth Music Festival and now the Man Engine!

“With Rotherham’s proud mining history, I hope that many people from across the borough will take this opportunity to come along and enjoy what promises to be an amazing spectacle.”

The arrival of Man Engine at Elsecar Heritage Centre kicks off Experience Barnsley Festival, a week-long celebration of the town’s past, present and future, organised by Barnsley Museums, with events taking place from 23 to 30 June. For more information visit

Tickets for the ‘Afterdarker’ at Elsecar Heritage Centre and ‘Afternooner’ at Wentworth Woodhouse can be purchased through Eventbrite.

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