The Roundhouse in Camden, north London, is a step closer to a major renovation that will see it become a permanent multi-media performance space and creative education centre. The Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked £2.42 million for the project and awarded the Roundhouse Trust, the charity set up in 1996 to preserve and develop the Grade II-listed building, a “Stage One Pass” to carry on with their application.

Designed to store and turn trains around in, the Roundhouse was completed in 1847 and is recognised as an outstanding example of mid-19th century railway architecture. In the 1960s, it became a popular venue for pop concerts but fell into disuse in the late 20th century. In more recent years, it has been reclaimed as an innovative theatrical performance space and has hosted acclaimed productions of Oh What a Lovely War, De La Guarda and Stomp!.

Despite its newfound popularity, in heritage terms, the Roundhouse is considered a “building at risk”. The Roundhouse Trust plans to start construction work in autumn 2002, with a target completion date of 2004. The repair and restoration will include shell and core works to the historic building, as well as work on the roof and landscape of the site. Plans include the reinstatement of circular glazed roof-lights, allowing interior daylight in the building for the first time in a century, and the recreation of the original locomotive entrance.

The entire project will cost an estimated £25 million, £13 million of which has already been raised. The Trust is continuing with its “Rebuild the Roundhouse” campaign and is seeking additional funding from other organisations and individuals in order to reach its target.

- by Terri Paddock