Stunning drone-like film recreates 1880 Yorkshire industrial village - watch video

A STUNNING new drone-like animated film is revealing life in an industrial Yorkshire village as it looked from above in 1880.
Elsecar IronworksElsecar Ironworks
Elsecar Ironworks

The Victorian past of Elsecar, the model industrial village at the heart of South Yorkshire, has been brought to life using state-of-the-art computer-game design technology to create the incredible five minute film, writes Graham Walker.

Visitors can now experience what it was like to live and work in the village 140 years ago.

WATCH: The film is being show in ultra-high definition on a giant screen in the visitor centre at Elsecar Heritage Centre but can also be viewed online on YouTube – CLICK HERE.

Cutting-edge digital technology has reimagined busy ironworks, collieries, canal boats, long-gone smoky chimneys and vividly captured street scenes, surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

Fly over Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse speaking to his workers, iron puddlers busy by their furnaces and the families who lived on the canal.

Watch cricketers of Elsecar Cricket Club knocking the ball for six, locals outside The Market, barges up at Hemingfield Colliery and the mighty Milton Ironworks.

It also shows the working 1795 Newcomen Engine, the world’s oldest steam engine still in place, back in steam, its mighty beam nodding, pumping water from deep underground.

An international centre of iron and coal, the village was built by the aristocrats of Wentworth Woodhouse, who showed it off to visiting aristocrats and royalty.

Visitors are transported back to a time when Elsecar’s iron and coal was sent all around the world. Elsecar was famed for its bridges and even made armour for HMS Warrior, the Royal Navy’s first iron-clad battleship.

The model’s incredible detail and historical accuracy is expected to inspire people by its innovative technology and the engineering excellence of a bygone age,

thanks to hundreds of hours of painstaking effort and the support of Historic England.

Supported by the hard work of local volunteer historians and experts from across the UK, the reconstruction has been produced by digital creator Martin Moss of Dextra Digital.

It’s part of the Barnsley Museums and Historic England Heritage Action Zone partnership, which has transformed understanding of the importance of Elsecar, and is also a legacy project of the Wentworth & Elsecar Great Place Programme, which celebrated the close historic ties between the two sites, supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It has been created, over the past year, thanks to the efforts of local volunteer historians, national experts and the expertise of skilled digital creator, Martin Moss, of Dextra Visual.

Martin said: “Elsecar has an extraordinary story. It’s been a privilege to bring the village of 1880 back to life. People have been so emotional seeing what their village used to be like, connecting them to their ancestors and what their world was like.”

Puddlers working the Elsecar Ironworks 1880Puddlers working the Elsecar Ironworks 1880
Puddlers working the Elsecar Ironworks 1880

Dave Went, Historical Investigator for Historic England, said: “The sheer size and detail of this digital model is immense. It really does capture what a special, distinctive and carefully designed village Elsecar was.”

Coun Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: "Elsecar holds a special place in people’s hearts and it’s incredible that its past is now so visible in the present. We look forward to sharing this incredible film with visitors, as they come to see what an astonishing place Elsecar is now, and witness the exciting changes we have planned for the future.”

Elsecar was one of the first Heritage Action Zone schemes in the country, set up by Historic England to unleash the power of the historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life.

As part of the Heritage Action Zone, local volunteers worked with expert historians, archaeologists and investigators to research and support understanding of Elsecars’ past, declaring it to be of international importance through research done during the project.

Many of its buildings are now Grade II* listed and new Scheduled Ancient Monuments have been designated.

The historic buildings at the centre of the village are now one of South Yorkshire’s most popular visitor attractions, attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, providing a home to 40 independent businesses and hosting major events and festivals. The lasting legacy of the Heritage Action Zone is supporting plans for growth and recovery based on heritage and culture.

Elsecar village recreated as it looked in 1880Elsecar village recreated as it looked in 1880
Elsecar village recreated as it looked in 1880

Elsecar Heritage Centre is one of six free entry heritage sites owned and run by Barnsley Council via its Barnsley Museums service with fundraising support of Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust.

The other sites, also sharing fascinating stories of the town and preserving its precious heritage, are Experience Barnsley Museum and Discovery Centre, Cooper Gallery, Cannon Hall Museum Park and Gardens, Worsbrough Mill and Country Park, and Barnsley Museums at The Glass Works.

Barnsley Museums also operates a Heritage Action Zone scheme – Breathing New Life Into Old Places, to unleash the power of the historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities across England.

Working with local people and partners, Historic England has helped to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. This has been achieved through joint-working, grant funding and sharing skills.