From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present
Barrow Hill Roundhouse
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County
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Condition
Age
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Railway
Derbyshire
53° 16' 27.0" N 1° 22' 55" W
-
Good
1841
Free
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Barrow Hill Round House is located in Barrow Hill, Staveley near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. It is the last surviving roundhouse in England that is still used for its original purpose.

The roundhouse was built in 1869 / 70 by I.E Hall for the Midland Rail Company. It cost a total of £16,445 4s 9d when completed. Opened in 1870 it lasted 121 years until it closed in 1991.

Staveley was connected to the North Midland Railway in 1841 by the station at Barrow Hill. It was replaced by a new station, called the 'Barrow Hill & Staveley Works', when the Clowne and Mansfield branch line opened. An engine shed was built along side the station with the capacity of four engines.

Midland Railways was expanding. Staveley Works was bought but the existing shed could not cope with the amount of traffic that demanded its services. A larger shed was built, resulting in the roundhouse.

This new roundhouse, so called because of the round turntable inside the building. Originally designated as M24, it later changed to 18D in 1935 when Midland Railways merged with the London and Scottish rail company's into the LMS. It changed again in 1958 to 41E when it became part of the Eastern region of British Railways. In 1965 when steam was finished on the railways, Barrow Hill code again changed to BH.

The roundhouse was designed for 24 steam locomotives, but through the years this increased to 90 engines in the 1920's but by the 1940's and 1950's it settled to 75 locos. It was reduced to 30 in the 1960's as steam was phased out. Diesel had replaced steam in the roundhouse. In 1983, five shunter engines were allocated to the round house, but in 1987 they only got three. The following year no diesels were allocated, it became a stabling and signing on point for locomotive crews on coal traffic. The roundhouse was closed and abandoned in 1991.

In 1989, the Barrow Hill Shed Society was formed to try and save the works. Unfortunately they had to let the roundhouse close and fall into neglect, with the site suffering from vandalism until they could fulfil their dream. Having the building listed was the first step, and this was granted in February 1991 as a grade 2 listing.

Another five years were to pass with the building falling further into disrepair, with parts of the roof missing until the roundhouse was rescued with the new ownership of the Chesterfield Borough Council.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse was refurbished, although it took several years to do so. As much of the original structure was saved and even a part of the 1870's roof was kept in place. Volunteers cleared and cleaned the site, stolen track was replaced. The turntable and the 24 'roads' around it were still in place, these were cleaned and refurbished as needed. A set of timber locomotive lifting sheer legs were also in the building, these were restored and are used for demonstrations as they were outlawed in 1964.

The roundhouse was reopened in 1998 and remains free to the general public. Donations are gladly received.