A BARNSLEY landmark that was on an 'at risk' register has scooped £425,000 in funding as part of a rescue package to turn it into a tourist attraction.

The Newcomen Beam Engine at Elsecar is said to be one of the most important inventions of the industrial revolution and a breakthrough in the creation of mechanical power from steam.

The cash - from the Heritage Lottery Fund - will fund a two-year project to see the world-famous engine, shaft, and engine house restored to full working order.

Fiona Spiers, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Currently, Elsecar Heritage Centre attracts 225,000 people a year and the importance of its unique industrial heritage is not as widely understood or as accessible to the public as it could be. This project, in addition to saving the Newcomen engine for future generations, will see greatly improved interpretation at the site and activities for visitors in addition to training and volunteer opportunities for people so they can get involved in protecting this wonderful place.”

The engine, which pumped water out of the Elsecar New Colliery from 1795 to 1923 and remained in working order until the 1950s, is one of the top 10 key industrial sites on EH's Heritage at Risk Register due to its 'outstanding importance to England's industrial past'.

Michael Dugher, MP, added: "The Newcomen Beam Engine in Elsecar is one of Yorkshire's finest surviving legacies of the industrial revolution so it is great news that this money has been awarded for its restoration. And, as well as restoring the engine back to its original state, I think this new project will be an excellent opportunity to showcase our area's proud past.

“But with the funding also being used to develop and update the visitor attraction, this is also about helping our local economy in the future, too."

*Pictures: Schools have been involved with imagining how the Beam Engine could look. *