For the past two weeks Maria-Elena Calderon, based at our Sheffield office, has been involved with a HLF-funded conservation project at Elsecar Heritage Centre. The project, run by Barnsley Council, will restore the world-famous Newcomen Beam Engine – a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and an associated shaft and engine house to working order and will also open the site to the public. The Newcomen Beam Engine originally extracted water from the mine at Elsecar New Colliery, allowing for deep exploration of coal seams from 1795 until 1923 when it was replaced by electric pumps.
The archaeological works have revealed a series of structural remains including an engine base associated with the mine shaft operation. These structures have retained some of their original fittings and fixtures. Excavations have also revealed a small brick structure which may have served as a fuel store for the engine.
Excavations may follow on the remains of the original chimney base demolished in the mid-20th century. This is potentially the least disturbed area of the site since the Newcomen Engine went out of use in the 1920s.