The £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded restoration of the Grade II listed Barrow Hill Roundhouse near Chesterfield is now well underway and we are able to confirm the initial details of its grand re-opening which will take place in September 2017. With work due to be completed at the end of August, this will give the Barrow Hill team a few weeks to prepare for the September 2017 relaunch event: the highlight of this four day celebration will be the visit of three icons of steam – A3 No. 60103 Flying Scotsman, A1 No. 60163 Tornado and Rocket. This will be the first visit to the Roundhouse by Flying Scotsman since a BR Open Day in 1974 and will be the first opportunity for many in the region to get up close to the locomotive alongside her sister East Coast racehorse Tornado, seen against the unique and authentic backdrop of the Roundhouse.
The four day celebration is taking place from Thursday 21st September 2017 to Sunday 24th September 2017. Thursday 21st September will see the premiere of a specially commissioned play funded by the Arts Council celebrating the incredible survival story of the Roundhouse with live steam adding an exciting backdrop. The play will continue on the evenings of Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September. Then during the day on Saturday 23rd September and Sunday 24th September the Roundhouse will open its doors to the general public for a truly special steam gala with visitors able to see for the first time the comprehensive but sympathetic HLF-funded restoration.
No. 60163 during a visit to Barrow Hill in 2009 – Neil Whitaker
Contractors T&C Williams of Sheffield started work on site in January and their first job was to remove the 1960s flat roofed kitchen extension. This area has now been cleared and levelled ready to be replaced with a larger, light and modern new entrance building incorporating a new kitchen, eating area and toilets. The design of the new building will allow the original doors and windows on this side of the Roundhouse to be revealed for the first time in over 50 years. Work has also started on vital conservation work in the Roundhouse itself as the steel structure of the roof is treated and repainted. In other parts of the Roundhouse false ceilings have been temporarily removed to reveal the unique roof structure of the building whilst it is re-wired. The original blue brick flooring has also been taken up so that an underfloor heating system can be installed before the bricks are carefully replaced. Work is also taking place on the Coal Stage – the Roundhouse’s viewing area during special events – to provide an improved walking route and viewing area with new safety railings for visitors.
Mervyn Allcock, General Manager of Barrow Hill Roundhouse said “It has been amazing to see a building that I and many others have worked so hard to preserve now having work done to it to give it a new lease of life. Our September relaunch promises to be a fabulous celebration of all the hard work that is going on at the Roundhouse at the moment and will mark the start of the next exciting chapter in the story of this amazing architectural survivor in the most appropriate way.”