Man Engine towers over crowds in Ironbridge - with video and pictures

Like something from a Transformers film, the mechanical beast stirred and slowly rose, more than doubling in height as his limbs unfolded and he stood up tall.

His metallic face surveyed the crowd he towered over, gathered on the green before him.

Up to 2,000 people were bathed in sunshine at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge to see the spectacle of the Man Engine brought to life at the hands of 10 puppeteers.

The Man Engine at Blists Hill

Standing at over 11 metres tall and weighing in at nearly 40 tonnes, the Man Engine is the biggest mechanical puppet ever constructed in the UK.

A similar sell-out show in the evening saw the giant figure rise again, fireworks puncturing the night sky as the ceremony came to a close.

Hailing from Cornwall, the Man Engine is touring iconic industrial sites to celebrate the engineering feats of the past, present and future.

Paul Gossage, marketing director for Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said the project had been years in the making.

"People have come from across the whole country to see this, and there is even a delegation here from Belgium," he said.


"We have been working with the production company for a couple of years - it has been a huge amount of work for the staff, volunteers and the team behind Man Engine to bring him here.

"It's great to finally be able to welcome him, and it's lovely to see so many visitors here. The ceremony involves a lot of audience participation and encouragement, to help wake the sleeping giant to his full height."

The Man Engine event at Blists Hill

In a nod to its host venue for the day, the Man Engine was to be woken by a chant in old Shropshire dialect. As the waking ceremony began, the machine, modelled to resemble a miner, was unveiled from beneath a black sheet, crouched in his sleeping position until the crowd's eager cries began to stir him.


Will Coleman, CEO of Golden Tree Productions and the brains behind Man Engine, gave an insight into how the project began. It was 2016, and Cornwall Mining World Heritage Site put out an appeal for ideas to help mark its 10th anniversary. Man Engine was born.

While the tour sees the Man Engine travel across the country, this visit had a distinctly Shropshire flavour. Mr Coleman spoke of the rich history of Ironbridge "the birthplace of the industrial revolution", the stories of Abraham Darby I, II and III, and solemnly read the names of the three men and six boys who fell to their deaths in the 1864 Madeley mining tragedy.

Addressing the crowd from on top of a Land Rover, he said: "We remember the effort and the endeavour, the innovation and the ingenuity. We remember the triumph, as well as the tragedy. We remember those who did not come home."

Mr Coleman also read extracts from the journal of Cornish copper miner William Crago, who began work at the age of nine. His stories were illustrated for the captivated audience by a young actor who climbed a 10-metre ladder before descending via an original 'man engine' - the invention that gave Coleman's giant machine its name - which allowed miners to travel up and down the shaft without the use of ladders.

The Man Engine at Blists Hill

As the ceremony came to an end, the young William reached into the machine and produced a cog, which will stay in Ironbridge as a momento of the Man Engine and everything it represents.

"This cast-iron trophy, we would like to present to the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, and leave it here as a permanent reminder of the day we all got together and resurrected the Man Engine," said Mr Coleman.

"I do not mean to leave it here as a sepia-tinted piece of nostalgia, but a cast-iron promise for the future. We will be taking our Man Engine on his global travels, but a small piece of him will remain here in Ironbridge."

Date: 15 April 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

More Telford News

 Telford's Poundworld store avoids the axe

Telford's Poundworld store has avoided the axe after administrators announ..

 Plan is drawn up to tackle Telford cancer rates

A comprehensive plan has been drawn up to tackle the number of people dyin..

 Giant ducks causing a splash at new Southwater home in Telford - with pictures

The Let’s Go Quackers ducks have been causing a splash after landing in So..

 Shropshire knife crime: Young father is jailed for Telford street attack

A street scuffle in Telford led to one man being stabbed and another in ja..

 Take out a knife and you risk jail, Shropshire judge warns young people

Young people in Shropshire were today warned: “If you take a knife out and..

 New Birmingham office and operations director for Albrighton's M3

A digital marketing specialist has been appointed to lead the expansion of..
View More

More UK News

The real cabbage soup diet: What Britons ate down the ages

Ancient Britons were eating dairy, peas, cabbage and oats, according to gunk trapped in their teeth..

Schools alone cannot fix childhood obesity, says Ofsted boss

Factors beyond the school gate make it impossible for schools to affect pupils' weight, says repor

Holiday childcare: 'I'm lucky - my sister has my child'

British parents pay an average of £133.34 a week for full-time holiday childcare for one child, a su..

Are young people going cool on cars?

More and more young people are living without the car. Will the government change its road-building ..

Five crocodiles in Monmouthshire dangerous animal hotspot

With venomous snakes, scorpions and spiders, is Monmouthshire Wales' dangerous animal capital
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

21 Jul 2018

Saturday - 10am - 5pm

Sunday - 10am - 6.30pm

A ticketed charity gala open-air concert in aid of the Severn Hospice, Brass Night of the Proms, will take place on Saturday evening, 9th July from 7.30pm. Compered by BBC Radio Shropshire presenter, Eric Smith, it will feature the Ifton Colliery Band and the Band of the Royal Signals; covered seating will be provided, or bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic on the grass. Please visit the website for more information.

View Details

04 Aug 2018

Practice starts at 4pm on Friday 3 August

Racing starts on Saturday 4 August at 12noon and Sunday 6 August at 10.30am


View Details

04 Aug 2018

See above

Please check show links for ticket prices

View Details

04 Aug 2018

Saturday 4 August 2018


£35 - £45

View Details
View More