A stunning new sculpture that reflects on and celebrates Elsecar’s industrial past, and the nature and popularity of its canal valley, is due to be unveiled this Spring.
Industrious Revolutions is a life size horse sculpture made from corten steel by artist Patrick Murphy. It will be installed close to the heritage centre at the start of the Trans Pennine Trail, looking across the original location of the Elsecar canal basin, completed 225 years ago this year
How the Industrial Revolution shaped urban and rural landscapes is the inspiration behind the artwork. In particular, the presence of workshops, forges and mines, trains and railways, barges and canals, and the infrastructure that defined Elsecar from the mid-1700s onwards.
Standing over 6 foot high it will be an eye-catching and thought-provoking piece in fitting with the area’s beautiful surroundings, and carefully placed and designed to enhance its built environment.
At one time, the site would have been busy with horses pulling canal barges and hauling heavy loads around the ironworks, while hundreds of pit ponies worked underground in the village’s collieries.
The artwork is another welcome addition to the regular walking, cycling and horse-riding route and forms part of the enhanced and recently completed Elsecar to Cortonwood Active Travel link along the canal towpath. Investment in the trail by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is improving the experience for people using the trail, highlighting the trail to visitors and local users, and encouraging exploring the borough in different ways.
Patrick Murphy artist said: “I wanted the piece to convey Elsecar's rich history of industrial achievements - from innovations like the Newcomen Beam Engine that helped power the local industrial revolution to the development of industries like iron works, collieries, canal and railways and of course the model industrial village created by Earls Fitzwilliam. The sculpture also reflects on the role of the nearby canal and the horses and ponies that pulled the barges. Today Elsecar is a busy home for dozens of independent shops, studios and leisure time pursuits and the nearby Trans Pennine Trail.”
Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “Our borough is beautiful, and exploring our attractions and green spaces on foot or by bike is a great way to stay active. The new sculpture on the Elsecar section of the Trans Pennine Trail is a wonderful way of bringing history to life in interesting and engaging ways.
The representation of a horse as part of industry will resonate with many and offer a moment of reflection in a calm and serene setting.”
Cllr John Wilson, Chair of the Trans Pennine Trail Partnership, said: ‘The Elsecar section is a very popular section of the Trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and this artwork is a wonderful tribute to our industrial heritage and our users. Tactile artwork of this form is a wonderful way to encourage visitors to engage with the sculpture and it is a unique addition to Elsecar Heritage Centre.