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Switches and Gauges
Railroad Turntable
6 COMMENTS —
  • Georgia
  • November 11, 2008 at 11:02:00 AM CST
  • Great photograph. Have you seen the former John Street Roundhouse/ rotating bay now Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto?


  • Alexander Trevi
  • November 11, 2008 at 1:55:00 PM CST
  • A couple years back, Steve Rose from The Guardian wrote about the refurbished Roundhouse, a concert venue in London.

    "The Roundhouse is one of those buildings most people have a soft spot for. Something about its blend of industrial functionality and Victorian grandeur, combined with the simple fact of its roundness, has always chimed with Britain's counterculture (no place for squares, this). It has become a monument to London's relaxed postwar values - a sort of proletarian answer to the Royal Albert Hall.

    "As a monument to 19th-century engineering, the Roundhouse is less distinguished. Designed by Robert Dockray and railway pioneer Robert Stephenson, and built in 1846, it was created to turn around steam locomotives on the London to Birmingham line. But within 10 years, new locomotives were introduced that were too long to fit into the building. The empty structure spent the next 50 years as a liquor store for gin-makers Gilbeys. In fact, it wasn't until 1964 that playwright Arnold Wesker hit upon the idea of using it as a performance space. Wesker made it the base of his populist theatre company, Centre 42. Two years later, Pink Floyd played the first gig in it, and from then on, the venue was shared between trailblazing rock acts such as the Doors and Jimi Hendrix, and their theatrical equivalents, including 'found space' exponents Peter Brook and musicals such as Hair and the scandalous Oh Calcutta! It seemed as if you could put on anything in the Roundhouse and it would feel like an event."


  • Alexander Trevi
  • November 11, 2008 at 1:59:00 PM CST
  • As case studies for historical preservation and adaptive re-use, it's interesting to compare and contrast the fate of London's Roundhouse with Toronto's Roundhouse.


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