Penzance has a population of about 20,000 and there was a crowd of about that size to meet the Man Engine, weighing in at 40 tonnes and standing 10 meters tall, the largest mechanical puppet ever made in Britain.
The crowd had to wait and wait as he stayed crouched under a Cornish flag half way down Market Jew Street.
He was built to celebrate the “Tinth” (groan) anniversay of UNESCO granting the Cornish mining landscape World Heritage status.
Humphrey Davy patiently waits with his eponymous lamp as a gift.
The huge puppet had taken eleven days to crawl the 130 miles from where he was built in Devon.
And then he did finally stand up.
Always a bit cynical about such orchestrated jollity, having to brave such a vast crowd in such a small space, and Cornish time involving a long hot wait in a sometimes fractious scrum, I was surprised by just how impressively steam-punkily big and beautiful he was.
It sounds a bit naff but one of the best things about him, intimate almost, alive, is his blink … and then ten thousand people start singing The Song of the Western Men … it’s weirdly quite stirring in a sort of scary An Gof Nurembergy way.
Sneaking up on the giant miner for a closer look at his internals and puppeteers.