UK’s last surviving roundhouse Barrow Hill in Staveley scoops Engineering Heritage Award

John Wood, chairman of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with Mervyn Allcock, Barrow Hill Roundhouse manager.
John Wood, chairman of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, with Mervyn Allcock, Barrow Hill Roundhouse manager.

Staveley’s Barrow Hill Roundhouse has been praised with a prestigious accolade that recognises its engineering importance as Britain’s last surviving working roundhouse.

The historic Roundhouse scooped an Engineering Heritage Award from the Institution of Mechanical Enigneers.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

A special plaque with the citation ‘Britain’s only surviving operational railway roundhouse’ was unveiled at the site on November 8.

Alexa Stott, marketing manager for Barrow Hill Roundhouse said: “We are incredibly proud to have received this prestigious award and would like to thank the Engineering Heritage Awards Committee for this honour.

“This award acknowledges the continuing importance of the site to the national railway network and is testament to the many years of hard work by the team, led by Mervyn Allcock, who saved the site from demolition in 1991.”

The Grade II listed building is unusual as the building housing the railway turntable is actually square.

Many of the very early main line locomotives could only be driven in one direction, so a turntable was used to rotate them through 180 degrees in order for them to make a return journey.

It was built by the North Midland Railway in 1870 and operated continuously until 1991, a total of 121 years.

After being restored by Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society in 1998, in 2016 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Roundhouse £1.2 million towards the restoration and upgrade of the Roundhouse facilities.

Then in 2018, Network Rail invested more than £1 million in the infrastructure of the depot to allow the servicing of main line passenger trains during the closure and rebuilding of Derby station during 2018.

This will be the 123rd Engineering Heritage Award to be presented by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The awards, established in 1984, aim to promote sitess of significant engineering importance.

Previous winners include Alan Turing’s Bombe at Bletchley Park, the E-Type Jaguar and Concorde.