The Man Engine at Minions
On Tuesday 26th July 2016, the Man Engine came to Minions. The Man Engine is a giant 12 metre-odd, 40 feet high mechanical steam and rope-driven puppet - though the term puppet hardly does it justice - has been brought to life by its inventor and energy, and the vision, of Will Coleman and his hard-working and enthusiastic team of engineers, operators and puppeteers of Golden Tree Productions. The Man Engine is the tallest mechanical puppet that has been constructed in the UK, taller than three double-decker buses, larger than many dinosaurs, and its actual appearance was a closely guarded secret until it was finally revealed at the first Man Engine event in Tavistock. And it was very cleverly marketed!
The Man Engine itself celebrates ten years (or the "tinth year"!) of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. The term "man engine" relates to the old method of raising miners from the depths of the old tin and copper mines of Cornwall by a series of interconnected large beams with footholds, which were cranked up and down by a Cornish beam engine. These "man engines" that came into use, saved hours of time that the miners spent descending the mine, and later ascending back up the ladders back to "grass" - (back to the surface). It also commemorates all those miners who lost their lives, including the 31 men at Levant Mine who died when the heavy timbers of the man engine collapsed down the shaft, taking the side platforms and men with them.
The cry goes up!
The song "Hard Rock Cornish Miner" rang out across the old mining area of Caradon Hill and Minions during the amazing Man Engine performance, despite the drizzle that failed to put off the crowds of people who came to enjoy the event. If anything, it made it all the more atmospheric (and despite also the odd drop of rain on the lens!) when set among the remains of old tin and copper mines and engine houses in the area - the Minions Heritage Centre can be seen on the left.
The Hard Rock Cornish Miner
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