RESTORATION work is to take place at a world famous piece of South Yorkshire’s industrial heritage – after the project received £425,000 of National Lottery funding.
The Newcomen Beam Engine at Elsecar is viewed as one of the most important inventions of the industrial revolution, heralding a breakthrough in the creation of mechanical power from steam.
The two-year restoration project, to be run by Barnsley Council, will see the world-famous beam engine, shaft and engine house restored to full working order.
Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Currently, Elsecar Heritage Centre attracts 225,000 people a year and the importance of its unique industrial heritage is not as widely understood or as accessible to the public as it could be.
“This project, in addition to saving the Newcomen engine for future generations, will see greatly improved interpretation at the site and activities for visitors in addition to training and volunteer opportunities for people so they can get involved in protecting this wonderful place.”
The engine, which pumped water out of the Elsecar New Colliery from 1795 to 1923 and remained in working order until the 1950s, is one of the top 10 key industrial sites on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register due to its ‘outstanding importance to England’s industrial past’.
Barnsley Council leader Coun Stephen Houghton said: “This is fantastic news for Elsecar and for Barnsley.
“We are proud of our rich industrial heritage, of iron and coal production going back centuries. Elsecar, with its ironworks, canal, railway and this important beam engine, has the potential to be a first class visitor attraction.”