Sunday, 30 August 2009


The next village on from Wentworth, is the old mining village of Elsecar. All the mines around this area were owned by the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth. Elsecar is quite rundown in parts, but a lot remains of it's historical and industrial past, and it's worth a visit if you live close by. Elsecar Heritage Centre is housed in the old pit yard. Fortunately, many of the older buildings here have been well preserved, but have changed their purpose many times over the last few years. The building below used to house the Earls private railway station, and photographs used to be exhibited showing various Kings and Queens of England arriving at the station - such was the importance of the Fitzwilliam family. It was a science museum at one time, and now it houses a kids indoor play area, but the fabric of the building is still the same as it was when it was first built.
The yard houses a fantastic antiques centre and bottle museum. Its more expensive than a car boot sale, but still not too pricey and they have some wonderful items. They also hold auctions here too. It also has various craft shops - some good, some not so good, but the card making supplies shop is huge and worth a visit.
It is also home to a steam railway that runs most weekends - they sometimes have celebrity visits from Thomas the Tank engine!! They have an enormous old engine shed that has been refurbished that hosts events such as plays and exhibitions. It was the "Mind, Body & Soul" weekend today. I peeped through the window and it looked fantastic!! People were having Reflexology etc (heaven!!) It also has a couple of decent tea rooms.

Further along the railway line is the Newcommen Beam Engine - apparently the only one left in the UK that is still working in the same location as it was built in.

We walked along the Dearne and Dove Canal. This is the canal basin. It was fed originally by the large reservoir in Elsecar. At one time, the "Res" had a beach of sorts and Elsecar became known as "Elecar by the Sea" as local families headed here to enjoy the fine weather. The canal used to send Coal from the mines far and wide, but these days it is totally unusable for boats.

It is however host to an abundance of wildlife. Whilst on the walk, we saw an enormous caterpillar, a heron, a kingfisher and if you double click the photo below, you may be able to spot (in the middle) one of the biggest dragon flies I have ever seen. Let me know if you can see it.
A lot of the houses that the Fitzwilliam's built for the miners still stand. This is locally known as "The Bun & Milk Club". It now is private apartments, but I think they used to dispense food to poorer families from here.

This row of pretty miners cottages is called "Reform Row" They are very small and the doorways are tiny.
The old flour mill on the side of the canal is now home to a stain glass manufacturer.

If you do visit Elsecar, make sure it is on a weekend, as nothing much is open any other time, and it makes a great place to visit in conjunction with Wentworth up the road.
I haven't done much crafting over the summer - preferring to be out and about when the weather allows, but I purchased some very nautically coloured wool in the John Lewis sale earlier in the year, and occasionally I have picked up the knitting.

Hope you are making the most of the Bank Holiday weekend in the UK. We had a major lie in this morning with bacon butties for breakfast/brunch (hence the "local" walk!!) but are planning a longer walk tomorrow if the weather holds. xxx


Lisa said...

Oh what's the knitting project?
Yes I could see the dragonfly, he was a whopper!
Those buildings all look very well preserved.
S didn't wake up until nearly 11 today so we only managed a walk at the park.
Hope you have a great day tomorrow.
Lisa x

andamento said...

Amazing dragonfly, I've never seen one anywhere near as big.

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

What an interesting place, the kind I'd like to visit!
Isabelle x

Carol said...

The knitting is looking good, the lie in and bacon butties sound fab and your walk the perfect way to spend a BH weekend.
Carol x

Michela said...

I'm afraid..I couldn't see the dragon fly, but I can assure you that my eyesight is perfect (10/10)!
How charming your country! Every village you visit, there's something to tell about! Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday weekend!
P.S.Glad you liked my "concoction"!

dubgirl said...

That looks a fascinating place and an enjoyable way to spend a day. We've been moving the shed, no where near as much fun!!

Julia said...

Thanks for stopping by Diane.

I do love that part of the country and lucky me, I shall be in Haworth with my cousin in a couple of weeks time just for the weekend - I've been before, but my cousin hasn't - I just love it!:0)

The sewing room said...

I love all the places you visit you make them sound so interesting l might go here once Henry has had all his injections its my sort of place thank you for sharing.Your knitting looks great but you did,nt say what it is.Have a great week hugs Pat

Rosie said...

Well it looks just my kind of place to visit - I love social and industrial history and it all sounds very interesting. I can see the dragon fly - we've ssen some huge ones over the canals on our walks this summer:) How lucky to see a Kingfisher, too! Hope you are having a great Bank Holiday Weekend:)

Jenny said...

Great place, I love the industrial architecture and its so well preserved. Not a Bank Holiday here in Scotland, but it could easily be, its raining. Enjoy.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

I loved this post, I came over all Beamish! My favoutite school trip ever. Thanks Diane, we mustn't forget our great Industrial Heritage. I am making a note to visit next time I venture up country!
Love Sarah x

lesley said...

I wondered if the building with the chimney had anything to do with Brunel? It just looks like his style. You have some beautiful places to visit up there & we enjoy sharing them, thanks Diane...