Gentle giant comes to life

It is a mechanical monster that appears to have come straight out of a Hollywood sci-fi movie, but the giant Man Engine roaming the streets of Devon, England, means no harm.

The machine miner, standing at over 10m - three times the height of a double-decker bus - is billed as the largest mechanical puppet made in Britain.

Weighing in at about 40 tonnes, it was built to mark the tenth anniversary of the date when the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape was added to the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites.

It took its first steps on Monday and will journey to the mining world heritage site accompanied by more than a dozen "miners" and traditional "bal-maidens" who have the job of animating the steam-powered giant.

The Man Engine, which was commissioned by the Cornish mining world heritage partnership, was paraded in the streets of Tavistock town and greeted by choirs, visitors and people performing the Cornish mining chant, Haka Balweyth, The Guardian daily reported.

It will trundle through 10 mining areas and form the centrepiece of theatrical shows and cultural events, the report added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'Gentle giant comes to life'. Print Edition | Subscribe