Elsecar Building Bridges Project

Group of volunteers standing in front of an old visitor centre

Barnsley Museums will be celebrating the history of Elsecar through a new community and volunteering project, Building Bridges and Forging Ahead, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Barnsley Museums have secured funding of £90k from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an exciting new project to help protect, share, and celebrate the village’s heritage. It will see them working closely with local schools, families, community groups, volunteers, and partners from across Barnsley and South Yorkshire.

The project is expected to last 18 months and is also supported by Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust. It will see a variety of community activities, projects, and events taking place across the Elsecar Valley.

Through the project, local volunteers and groups will capture and celebrate memories, objects, photographs, and archives to help share the history of their village. They will form the basis of a new People’s Collection of Elsecar.

Schools, families, and local groups will mark the 200th anniversary of spectacular bridges built at the Milton Ironworks and installed on an island in the Indian Ocean. The project will research and explore Elsecar’s global links and create a spectacular piece of community art.

Volunteer activity days with partners will explore the best ways to protect and improve the natural habitats of the canal. New volunteer roles will include enhancing the visitor experience of visitors and helping with maintenance of the site and Newcomen Engine.

Exciting new guided tours of the village will take place working with residents, including accessible tours and special storytelling trails developed with local families.

Young people and teenagers will explore innovative new ways of discovering Elsecar using escape rooms and gaming technology.

Local schools will help develop new learning opportunities and educational programmes for other children taking inspiration from the area and history of the village.

There will be new ‘Elsecar 1980’ additions to the critically acclaimed ‘Elsecar 1880’ digital reconstruction, created by the village’s last generation of miners working with local young people to reimagine Elsecar in the 1980s.

The project has started and will be completed by the summer of 2024. It promises to have long-lasting impact on the village, local people, community partners and how visitors to the village can explore its history.

To express an interest in volunteering please contact the team by emailing museumvolunteering@barnsley.gov.uk. Alternatively, email elsecarheritagecentre@barnsley.gov.uk or ring 01226 740203 for any other enquiries.

People looking at a small scale sculpture of a bridge
Volunteer putting waste in a disposable bin bag