Barrow Hill Roundhouse Museum, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Britains only surviving operational Roundhouse Engine Shed
Community Workshops at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Our Community Workshops

Upcoming Community Workshops

COVID-19 has halted our plans for Our Community Workshops for the time being. But please keep checking back. We are working on our updated timetable of events and look forward to welcoming you back to The Roundhouse very soon!

In the meantime please have a look at our past workshops and let us know if any are of interest to you. We are also interested in hearing what you would like to experience here at The Roundhouse so please get in touch with any suggestions for future workshops.

Past Community Workshops - 2019-2020

Last year Our Community Workshops were led by Community Growth CIC (Link: . The theme was ‘Lost Crafts & Traditional Skills’.

Felt Feet Workshop - We took our inspiration from master wool maker Yuli Somme from Bellacouche (Link: Practicing this ancient skill of felt making, our workshop focussed on the creation of a bespoke pair of felt slippers. This therapeutic process is very relaxing and has a wonderful feeling on the skin. We had 10 participants join us for this workshop. They took raw wool and processed this with soap and bubble wrap to start and form felt sheets. These felt sheets were then bound around the feet and we took an atmospheric walk around the Roundhouse.  The process of walking and creating friction helps turn the wool in to felt. After walking around the site and learning all about the locomotives and the turntable our slippers were ready. This was a truly fantastic experience and left all our leaners with a beautiful pair of made to measure slippers.
“It has been a truly magical experience taking part in this ancient craft. I love my slippers and I was over the moon to learn that all the materials had been responsibly sourced!”

Origami Paper Whistle Workshop - This workshop trialled the creation of Barrow Hill Roundhouse’s very own origami whistle, inspired by renowned paper engineer, Rob Ives ( Using a traditional bellow origami pattern we experimented with double whistles and varied the sizes to get different notes and sounds. The bellows are quite a complicated design and so we provided the templates pre-scored and worked together step by step to construct our whistles. This workshop really challenged us all and made for some creative licence in sampling new additions to the whistle. One of the workshop members modified the whistle by adding a paper pea. The challenge really left everyone with a great sense of achievement and pride. Several members even took a spare template home so they could remake and improve their creations! The workshop was followed by a wonderful tour around the roundhouse and met the Mummified Train, who was visiting for Halloween. It was amazing to have grandparents and children working together on their project.
“I never thought this would actually work, the sound is amazing!”

Primitive Drum Making - We designed this workshop following a tour around Clayton Tannery, where we acquired some fantastic parchment. This was a primitive drum making workshop and we created drums using traditional materials and techniques. A clay pot was used for the base and then artificial animal gut cordage was used for sewing the skin / parchment to the pot. This was a family workshop held during half term and we had a wonderful turnout from the local village of Barrow Hill. It was great to see all generations working together. The children all decided to decorate their drums with paint, feathers and beads.
 “I can’t wait for it to dry so I can have a jam session!”

Christmas Wreath Making Workshop -   Our wreath making workshops are always fun and festive. We love arriving with bountiful buckets of festive foliage, berries and sparkly adornments. The formers for the wreaths were made from scratch; forming willow rings and binding them in moss.  From there we created displays from our colourful palette of natural materials. Many participants had never made a wreath before and thought it would be very difficult. However, they all amazed themselves with what they achieved. With the room full of creativity, laughter and Christmas cheer, this was a workshop we could have filled 3 times over. It was lovely to see everyone feeling so proud of what they had created. People personalised them with their own ribbon, dried fruit and other festive pretties. All of this was enjoyed with Christmas music, mince pies and refreshments.
 “I’ve never been any good at crafting, but this has really shocked me. It’s about having the time and opportunity to try it. I’ve really surprised myself!”

Recycled Metal and Wire Christmas Decorations - There is something very special about turning a waste product in to unique and beautiful item. For this workshop we used a couple of different techniques. Firstly, we used recycled aluminium drink cans to make origami star decorations. This metal can folding workshop was extremely challenging and included some new origami language. Once everyone had learned about mountain and valley folds, we were off. Learning to make an eight point star, took patience, but was ultimately very rewarding. It took a few attempts to get to know the materials and their limitations, and soon the results were looking fantastic. We then went on to make robin decorations, using recycled wire and formers prepared by our community volunteers. We shaped the wire around the formers and then stitched the pieces together to create truly unique Christmas decorations. We had an array of coloured wires to choose from and the participants loved adding fine details to their pieces. Many that attended the workshop stated that they wanted to book a space for next year!
“I have really enjoyed it today! I feel so proud of my bird! Are you doing this again next year?”

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workshops at Barrow Hill Roundhouse and Railway Museum, Chesterfieldcommunity workshops at Barrow Hill Roundhouse and Railway Museum, Chesterfield