Giant Iron Man Heads To Swansea

Giant miner-man heads to Swansea

Mechanical man-puppet will stop in the city on tour of South Wales.

Calling all sci-fi, robot, mechanics and, well, giant-things fans!

A monstrous, steaming, mechanical man-puppet is coming to Swansea, and you can see him for free!

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday 24th January) for some of the big events across South Wales this April that will see the 'Man Engine' - a giant mechanical puppet miner -stomp through some of the most important industrial heritage sites in the country.

Designed to celebrate the rich mining heritage of south Wales, each stop on the Man Engine's tour of Wales will offer bespoke spectacles, from gripping theatrics and nostalgic choral renditions, to traditional Welsh storytelling and even an awe inspiring after-dark fire show.

So, who is this giant miner?

Man Engine is the largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain.

He crawls at 4 metres high but transforms into an 11 metre tall monster on two feet

He was commissioned by the Cornish World Heritage Site to celebrate it's 10th anniversary with a 2016 West Country tour

He's now touring South Wales in honour of it's mining heritage

His tour will finish in Swansea this April with a big fire show display!


Tickets for the events at Blaenavon Ironworks, Cyfarthfa Park and Castle and Hafod-Morfa Copperworks are now available via the Man Engine website

Free tickets are also available for the event at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.

Meanwhile, free, un-ticketed entry will be granted to visitors at Big Pit and the Gilchrist Industrial Estate in Blaenavon, the National Waterfront Museum Swansea and Swansea City Centre.

The Welsh tour is a collaboration among the cultural sector in Wales, with Swansea University working in partnership with the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, four local authorities (Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Swansea), Head 4 Arts and Golden Tree Productions.

The partners organised a successful bid to host the monumental puppet in south Wales, receiving £135,000 from Visit Wales, and a further £25,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, all with the aim of prompting further nationwide dialogue around the legacy of Wales’s historic mining communities.

His story

The epic tour will tell the story of how the Industrial Revolution shaped Wales and in turn, how Wales shaped the world — from the technological innovation formed through global trading links and industrial partnerships, to the experiences and endeavour of Wales’s working people, which led to social innovation, political reform and the birth of the NHS.

As a giant symbol of global mining and new ambassador for Wales’s mining heritage, the Man Engine will meet key historical characters on his route through the south Wales Coalfields, both celebrating the achievements and commemorating the sacrifices of Wales’s industrial past.

His Tour

Animated by a team of more than a dozen ‘miners’, the giant puppet will begin its grand tour of Wales on 8th April, with an opening ceremony at Big Pit National Coal Museum and a parade down to Blaenavon Ironworks, where visitors can ‘meet’ 19th-century industrial hero, Sidney Gilchrist Thomas.

On 10th April, the Man Engine will visit Cyfarthfa Park and Castle — the grand former home of Ironmaster William Crawshay II and his family.

Visitors will be encouraged to raise their voices in song and watch as the Man Engine rises from its slumber and ‘crawls’ towards the castle, meeting some of Merthyr’s most significant historical figures on the way.

Meanwhile, the monumental machine will ‘steam’ into Ynysangharad War Memorial Park on 11 April. The park is located in the proud industrial town of Pontypridd, once home to the famous Brown Lenox & Co Ltd, where Rhondda coal was used to produce the anchors and chains that furnished the Admiralty and famous passenger liners including the Queens Mary and the QE2.

Swansea Event Details

The tour will culminate on 12th April with nostalgic displays outside the National Waterfront Museum Swansea, a City Centre parade to celebrate the city’s 300-year copper-smelting tradition and an evening finale at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, which will come to life with a dramatic fire and light show.

Venues: National Waterfront Museum Swansea, Swansea City Centre and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks  

Info: Visitors are invited to meet the Man Engine - the moving, steaming, mechanical miner - as he visits the city once known as 'Copperopolis'.
Visitors can watch as the giant puppet 'collects' copper ore from the National Waterfront Museum and parades it through Swansea City Centre before presenting it to John Henry Vivian at the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks, where a dramatic after-dark fire and light show awaits.

National Waterfront Museum
Time: 11am - 1.15pm
Price: FREE

Swansea City Centre
Time: 2.15pm - 3pm
Price: FREE

Hafod-Morfa Copperworks
Time: 6.30pm - 9.30pm

Booking: Early-bird tickets priced at £3.00 for adults and £2.50 for children (Only available until 28th February after which price increases). 

The event outside the National Waterfront Museum and the City Centre are free and un-ticketed.

The Man Engine was named the nation’s favourite arts project at the 2017 National Lottery Awards — an honour bestowed upon the giant miner following his iconic journey across the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in the summer of 2016.

The Welsh tour is expected to echo this sense of pride and is anticipated to attract large crowds of visitors on his journey from Blaenavon to the shores of Swansea Bay during Wales’s 2018 Year of the Sea.

The Welsh visit forms part of the Man Engine’s 2018 Resurrection Tour, which will see the 11.2m tall puppet steam across some of the UK’s most significant industrial heritage sites, including locations in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas said: “Life in the Valleys, as in many other industrial communities across the UK, revolved around iron, copper and coal for hundreds of years. The arrival of the Man Engine in south Wales marks a unique chance for the people of Wales to reflect on and remember their industrial heritage.

“The south Wales Valleys is an ideal location for the mechanical giant to visit and I urge everyone to come and see this culturally significant reminder of our mining heritage in Wales.”

Will Coleman, the creator of the Man Engine said: “Our big boy is setting off in the footsteps of the Cornish Cousin Jacks, and we’re delighted that we’re bringing him to south Wales where mines, collieries, trams and trains once dominated the landscape.

“We have a global ambition to take the Man Engine to all the significant mining and industrial heritage sites across the world, so bringing him to south Wales with its major industrial heritage status, is an ideal stop on his UK-wide journey. 

“We can’t wait to meet all the people of the Valleys and have the Man Engine share the stories and the significance of the area’s rich mining heritage.”

Visitors to see the Man Engine in Wales are being encouraged to share their epic experiences on social media by using the hashtag #ManEngineCymru.

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