Elsecar Heritage Centre

Elsecar Heritage Centre is a living history centre in Elsecar, Barnsley, England.

Elsecar Heritage Centre
Elsecar Heritage Centre
Elsecar Heritage Centre
LocationElsecar, Barnsley, England
TypeHeritage centre
WebsiteElsecar Heritage Centre

Heritage Centre

The buildings were originally used for various industries including ironworks and forges, a distillery, and engineering workshops. These fell into decline when the coal mines in the village closed.[1][2]

It has its own Elsecar goods station (called Rockingham Station) on the Elsecar Steam Railway, with a running shed behind the main centre. During some special events, trips are run to Hemingfield Basin. There are plans to extend the line to Cortonwood and build two stations (one at Cortonwood and the other at Hemingfield). The railway's depot is home to a selection of steam locomotives as well as a diesel locomotive.[3]

It comprises shops, businesses, galleries, art and craft studios and an exhibition hall. It runs craft workshops, special events, and a monthly antiques fair.

Elsecar Heritage Centre hosts the 16mm Garden Railway Show every year which is organised by the Yorkshire Group of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers Ltd.

In March 2017 it was announced that the Great Place Scheme a partnership between Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England was to jointly fund Wentworth Woodhouse and Elsecar Heritage Centre with a £1,264,000 grant.[4][5][6]

Elsecar Engine

Elsecar Newcomen engine
Elsecar Newcomen engine

The centre is also the site of the only Newcomen beam engine in the world still in its original location. The Newcomen Engine was built at the instruction of William Wentworth, the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam.[7] It was used to pump water out of Elsecar New Colliery and ran from 1795 until 1923 when it was replaced by electric pumps. The date over the door of the Engine House is 1787, but there is some dispute that the engine was not actually installed until 1795.[1] In 1836 the Graham brothers, a local partnership cast a new beam and two parallel motions for the Newcomen engine.[7] It also ran briefly in 1928 when the electric pumps were overwhelmed by flooding. At its peak it could draw 600 gallons a minute. In 1972 the engine was classified as a scheduled ancient monument. The engine was restored to working order (worked by hydraulics) over the period 2012–14.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ a b Jepson, Ledgard. "Elsecar - Official website". www.elsecar-heritage.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ Jepson, Ledgard. "Barnsley Museums - Official website - Elsecar". www.barnsley-museums.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Home". www.elsecarrailway.co.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  4. ^ "More Information about the Great Place Scheme | Great Place Scheme". www.greatplacescheme.org.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  5. ^ Ellis, Joanne. "South Yorkshire villages of Elsecar and Wentworth to receive funding of £1.2 million". www.rotherham.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  6. ^ "BBC - South Yorkshire Culture - Elsecar Heritage Centre". BBC News. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Elsecar Appraisal" (PDF). Barnsley Council. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  8. ^ McEwen, Alan (January 2015). "Elsecar's Newcomen engine restored". Old Glory (299): 6–7.
  9. ^ Historic England. "ELSECAR COLLIERY PUMPING ENGINE (314723)". PastScape. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Elsecar's 'outstanding' relic for restoration". BBC News. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

External links

Coordinates: 53°29′38″N 1°25′11″W / 53.49389°N 1.41972°W


Barnsley () is a town in South Yorkshire, England, located halfway between Leeds and Sheffield. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town centre lies on the west bank of the Dearne Valley. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and its administrative centre. At the 2011 Census, Barnsley had a population of 91,297.Barnsley is a former industrial town centred on linen in its former years and coal mining, glassmaking and textiles. The industries declined in the 20th century. Barnsley's culture is rooted in its industrial heritage and it has a tradition of brass bands, originally created as social clubs by its mining communities. It is also home of the Barnsley chop.

The town is accessed from junctions 36, 37 and 38 of the M1 motorway and has a railway station on the Hallam and Penistone Lines. Barnsley F.C. is the local football club, which has competed in the second tier of British football for most of its history. Barnsley F.C. also won the FA Cup in 1912.

The town of Barnsley also has a Women's Football Club which is in the fourth tier of Women's Football. Barnsley Women's Football Club was formed in 1982 and finished 4th in the FA Women's National League Division 1 North in the 2018/19 Season.

Dearne and Dove Canal

The Dearne and Dove Canal ran for almost ten miles through South Yorkshire, England from Swinton to Barnsley through nineteen locks, rising 127 feet (39 m). The canal also had two short branches, the Worsbrough branch and the Elsecar branch, both about two miles long with reservoirs at the head of each. The Elsecar branch also has another six locks. The only tunnel was bypassed by a cutting in 1840.The canal was created mainly to carry cargo from the extensive coal mining industry in the area. Other cargo included pig iron, glass, lime, oil products and general merchandise. A combination of railway competition and subsidence caused by the same mines it served forced the canal into a gradual decline, closing completely in 1961. As the local coal industry also collapsed in the 1980s the canal was thrown a lifeline with the forming of the Barnsley Canal Group who are now attempting to restore the whole canal, an effort further boosted by the abandonment of the railway which replaced it.

Earl Fitzwilliam's private railway station

Earl Fitzwilliam's private railway station is a former private railway station in South Yorkshire, England, situated at the upper end of the Elsecar branch of the South Yorkshire Railway.

The station was opened in 1870, after the line passed to the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and was used by the Earl's parties visiting the St. Leger race meeting at Doncaster. The Earl's parties were conveyed by coach from Wentworth Woodhouse to the station to join these trains which were known, and shown in railway publications as "E.F.W. Specials".

Works records of Elsecar show that these trains ran until 'the early years of the 20th century'. The M.S.& L.R. issued a 'Royal Standard' to the station to be flown when royalty was included in the party.

The station was also host to other trains not connected to the St. Leger race meeting or usage by Earl Fitzwilliam. These were the seaside excursions operated for the pleasure of the villagers which were a regular feature of the summers before the First World War. Because of the length of journey and the suitability of the junction, meeting the main line in that direction, Cleethorpes was a popular destination.

The building was of two storeys, the upper storey containing a waiting/drawing room where the Earl entertained his guests prior to departure. Still standing, the station is included within the site of the Elsecar Heritage Centre. The first mile of the line, northwards from the Heritage Centre toward Cortonwood, has been re-laid after it was closed in 1983 with the closure of Elsecar Main Colliery and is now operated by the Elsecar Steam Railway. The remainder of the line, from Cortonwood to Elsecar Junction near Brampton, was closed after the closure of Cortonwood colliery in 1985, and the track lifted.


Elsecar (listen) is a village in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Like many villages in the area, it was for many years a colliery village until the widespread pit closures during the 1980s. Elsecar is near the town of Hoyland and the villages of Jump and Wentworth. Elsecar is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of Hoyland, 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Barnsley and 8 miles (13 km) north-east of Sheffield. The village falls within the Barnsley MBC Ward of Hoyland Milton.

Elsecar is unique as a name. It is thought to derive from the Old English personal name of Aelfsige (mentioned in Cartulary of Nostell Priory, 1259–66) and the Old Norse word kjarr, used to denote a marsh or brushwood.

Elsecar Heritage Railway

The Elsecar Heritage Railway (EHR) is located on the southern part of the former South Yorkshire Railway freight-only branch which ran from Elsecar Junction on its Mexborough to Barnsley Line.

The Elsecar Heritage Railway operates an out and back tourist train ride on a 1 mile (1.6 km) section of the branch using steam and diesel locomotives, currently running between Rockingham station (at the back of the Elsecar Heritage Centre) and Hemingfield Basin. The railway is operated using a variety of different preserved rolling stock.

The EHR plans eventually to operate the line into Cortonwood, with a new halt at Hemingfield, doubling the length of the line to two miles.

Elsecar Ironworks

The Elsecar Ironworks opened in 1795 in the village of Elsecar near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The company was bankrupted in 1827 and taken over by the Wentworth estate who owned the land it stood on. The buildings are now part of the Elsecar Heritage Centre.

European Route of Industrial Heritage

The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) is a network (theme route) of the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe. This is a tourism industry information initiative to present a network of industrial heritage sites across Europe. The aim of the project is to create interest for the common European Heritage of the Industrialisation and its remains. ERIH also wants to promote regions, towns and sites showing the industrial history and market them as visitor attractions in the leisure and tourism industry.

Heritage centre

A heritage centre (or heritage center) is a museum facility primarily dedicated to the presentation of historical and cultural information about a place and its people, including, to some degree, natural features. Heritage centres typically differ from most traditional museums in usually featuring a high proportion of "hands-on" exhibits and live or lifelike specimens and practical artifacts.

List of museums in South Yorkshire

This list of museums in South Yorkshire, England contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit art galleries and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

To use the sortable table, click on the icons at the top of each column to sort that column in alphabetical order; click again for reverse alphabetical order.

Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley

The Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley is a metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England; its main town is Barnsley.

The borough is bisected by the M1 motorway; it is rural to the west, and largely urban/industrial to the east. 68% of Barnsley's 32,863 hectares is green belt and 9% is national park land, the majority of which is West of the M1. In 2007 it was estimated that Barnsley had 224,600 residents, measured at the 2011 census as 231,221. nine tenths of whom live east of the M1.

The borough was formed under the Local Government Act 1972, by a merger of the county borough of Barnsley with Cudworth, Darfield, Darton, Dearne, Dodworth, Hoyland Nether, Penistone, Royston, Wombwell and Worsborough urban districts, along with Penistone Rural District, part of Hemsworth Rural District and part of Wortley Rural District, all in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The borough now forms part of both the Sheffield City Region and the Leeds City Region.

Milton Ironworks

Not to be confused with the Milton Ironworks, Glasgow, Scotland

The Milton Ironworks was an iron works established in the 19th century in the Elsecar area of Barnsley, West Yorkshire, England.

Newcomen atmospheric engine

The atmospheric engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1712, and is often referred to simply as a Newcomen engine. The engine was operated by condensing steam drawn into the cylinder, thereby creating a partial vacuum which allowed the atmospheric pressure to push the piston into the cylinder. It was the first practical device to harness steam to produce mechanical work. Newcomen engines were used throughout Britain and Europe, principally to pump water out of mines. Hundreds were constructed through the 18th century.

James Watt's later engine design was an improved version of the Newcomen engine that roughly doubled fuel efficiency. Many atmospheric engines were converted to the Watt design, for a price based on a fraction of the savings in fuel. As a result, Watt is today better known than Newcomen in relation to the origin of the steam engine.

Rockingham railway station (South Yorkshire)

Rockingham (South Yorkshire) railway station is the terminus of the preserved line which is being built along the trackbed of the former Elsecar branch of the South Yorkshire Railway. The station is built within the Elsecar Heritage Centre, the former National Coal Board workshops at Elsecar. The station officially opened to passengers on 5 April 1996, when the inaugural train ran to Hemingfield.The line runs from Rockingham station to Hemingfield Basin, alongside the Elsecar Branch of the Dearne and Dove Canal but it was intended to extend the line to Cortonwood with halts at Hemingfield and Cortonwood during 2013. However, by February 2017 the project was ongoing but still incomplete.The station was called Rockingham by Barnsley Council (who re-opened the railway) after a second name of the Earl Fitzwilliam family, the original builders of the line in the 1850s.

Thomas Newcomen

Thomas Newcomen (; February 1664 – 5 August 1729) was an English inventor who created the atmospheric engine, the first practical fuel-burning engine in 1712. He was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, to a merchant family and baptised at St. Saviour's Church on 28 February 1664. In those days flooding in coal and tin mines was a major problem, and Newcomen was soon engaged in trying to improve ways to pump out the water from such mines. His ironmonger's business specialised in designing, manufacturing and selling tools for the mining industry.

Attractions along the Trans Pennine Trail
Operating cycle
See also

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