Elsecar is Making History! New project for local people to share their village’s remarkable history is launched

Local residents are invited to bring objects, photographs and memories to a special community event in Elsecar, as part of a new project to share the village’s history with visitors and future generations.


Barnsley Museums have been awarded a grant of £244,111 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project entitled Building Bridges and Forging Ahead that will celebrate the history of Elsecar through new community and volunteering activities.


Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and further funding from Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust, the project is recording, sharing and celebrating the village’s heritage. The project team and volunteers are working closely with local schools, families, community groups and partners from across Barnsley and South Yorkshire.


The new project will be launched on Saturday, 24 February with an exciting community event - Elsecar Making History Day. People are invited to come come along between 11am and 3pm and share their memories and objects, particularly of Elsecar Main Colliery and the New Yard Workshops, but also of wider life in the village. They could relate to their own experiences, or those of friends, family members and ancestors. 


It marks the beginning of a new community-driven project to collect stories of the area to share in a new-look Visitor Centre and Gallery, being created as part of a separate project supported by the Cultural Development Fund.


Other activities as part of the new project include: 


  • New school workshops exploring science and industry including Elsecar’s 1795 Newcomen Engine, the world’s oldest steam engine that is still in place 

  • Creation of a 1980s digital reconstruction of parts of the village, adding to the award-winning Elsecar 1880 immersive experience


  • New multi-sensory tours co-designed with families with young children and visitors with visual impairments and additional learning needs.


  • Creation of new volunteering opportunities, to work across the village and its landscape and habitats.


  • A major public art project later in the year to mark the 200th anniversary of the construction of two iron suspension bridges designed by Marc Brunel, for the Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.



Cllr Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Precious stories and memories of our borough’s past are important to capture. Mining and industry were an integral part of our history, and this project will capture information that will be shared with future generations. Events like these are brilliant in bringing the community together for a common purpose, allowing them to explore their local history in new and interesting ways, and engaging with the amazing heritage attractions we have here in Barnsley.”  


For more information about the project and how you can get involved visit https://www.elsecar-heritage.com/elsecar-building-bridges-project