Britain’s only surviving operational railway roundhouse will be turned into a museum thanks to a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Barrow Hill Roundhouse, near Staveley in North Derbyshire has been awarded £1,170,600 to repair the building and construct a new conservation workshop, shop and café.
The roundhouse was built in 1870 for the Midland Railway and was used to repair and maintain engines and rolling stock.
It was one of the few roundhouses to survive the transition from steam to diesel engines and operated until the industry went into decline during the 1970s and ‘80s.
In 1991 it was saved from demolition by local campaigners with just 48 hours to spare and has since become a popular performance venue and event space, with more than 30,000 visitors each year.
The grant was awarded following an 18-month bid process, with work expected to commence in June 2016.
Mike Kennedy, chair of Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society, said the group was “delighted” with the news.
“The project will enable us to safeguard the Roundhouse for future generations, and provide the improved facilities that we need to attract a new audience, whilst retaining our existing audience of rail enthusiasts,” he said.
“It will also provide us with the expertise and equipment to tell the story of the Roundhouse and its workforce to a wide range of people, particularly local people including families and schoolchildren.”
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “As the last surviving operational roundhouse, Barrow Hill has a unique role in telling the story of the UK’s evocative transport heritage.
The roundhouse team plan to run learning, training and skills activities to attract more visitors, particularly those from the local area, many of whom don't know about the attraction on their doorstep.
“There’s no better way to learn about this history than getting up close to the buildings that survive from that time, so we’re delighted that thanks to National Lottery players we can support this much-needed project to repair the building and enhance visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of the site,” Mr Platt said.
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