The largest mechanical puppet ever constructed in Britain – known as the ‘Man Engine’ – has won the ‘Best Arts Project’ in the prestigious National Lottery Awards this year. It is now set to tour the South West of England for a second time next Easter in celebration of the areas mining heritage and history of technical innovation.

“We are cranking up the experience that held everyone spellbound last year”


The 11.2m high mechanical miner, which steamed the length of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site last summer, will start its next journey by heading through Cornwall, Devon and Somerset where there will be a number of celebratory family and evening events before he drives further into South Wales and up to the North of England.

Capable of both walking and crawling, this puppet is powered by Volvo’s brand new L220H wheeled-loader, transcending both the creative and technical in a series of fantastic displays.

Check out what local residents thought of the Man Engine in last year’s tour by watching the video below:


Will Coleman the artistic director of Golden Tree Productions (pictured below left), which created the engine explains the types of ‘Man Engine’ based events on offer: “Our ‘Afternooner’ events will give families and big kids the chance to really get to know their favourite giant miner with an industrial-scale feast of fun and frolics.

“The ‘Afterdarker’ promises an edgier explosive experience including white-hot pyrotechnics – sparks will fly! Suffice to say, we are cranking up the experience that held everyone spellbound last year and can’t wait for people across Wales and England to meet him for the first time.”

But for those who truly want a glimpse of this UK first, Will has also announced an affordable Earlybird Ticket scheme for the events saying: “Last year 150,000 residents and visitors from across Cornwall and West Devon, managed to see the Man Engine. It all went pretty bonkers and, due to the colossal demand and excitement, we had to encourage people not to come to certain events that we were expecting to be really busy and some people even got turned away!”

“The Man Engine is an exceptional piece of manufacturing which demonstrates the ingenuity as well as the technical ability of engineering practitioners”


Will continues: “This year, we want to make sure that everyone who is keen to see the Man Engine can definitely know that they will get to see him at a certain location, at a certain time. So, we are going to sell 3,000 super cheap tickets for each event. These Earlybird Tickets will be available at just £5 per person for just five weeks, starting from … now! We really hope people will want to come out and support The Man Engine again. Perhaps buying tickets for friends and family for Christmas presents. There’s a lot extra on offer this time around and where else can you get such a sight and experience for just five pounds?!”

Community spirit

With a whole range of community groups already involved, from theatre companies to local schools – the celebration is truly made for all.

Laurel Penrose, Principal and Chief Executive of Bath College which is also getting involved tells us: “We are proud to be hosting the Man Engine when it visits Somerset next year. Our Somer Valley Campus is located in the former mining town of Radstock, where coal was mined as far back as the 19th Century, and this campus was originally opened in the 1940s to serve the mining community. The town is extremely proud of its mining heritage and we are delighted to offer the opportunity to our local community to come together and celebrate its past.

“Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus is a fitting location to host this excellent demonstration of engineering skills. The Man Engine is an exceptional piece of manufacturing which demonstrates the ingenuity as well as the technical ability of engineering practitioners. It is an engaging celebration of the talent forged from past experiences with relevant and essential skills of today.”

To grab your tickets, take a look at the Man Engine Tickets website. You can also find out more and follow the Man Engine’s progress by following it on Twitter here: @TheManEngine.

Alice Whale