The spectacular restoration by the University of Northampton of the former Midland Railway engine shed at Northampton was given the top award at the 2020 National Railway Heritage Awards when these were announced at the virtual ceremony held on 2 December 2020.
On Tuesday 14 September 2021, a ceremony was held at the restored shed when the plaque was unveiled by Terry Neville OBE, from the university, and by Theo Steel, chairman of the NRHA.
As the citation notes: ‘this is a really impressive building – which successfully combines well-restored and referenced heritage features with use as an important amenity for the students at the University of Northampton.’

The unveiled plaque at Northampton with, on the left. Terry Neville OBE, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Northampton, and, on the right, Theo Steel, chairman of the National Railway Heritage Awards.

The Grade II listed ex-Midland Railway engine shed at Northampton dated to the 1870s; used latterly by BR as a wagon works, the building became redundant in 1998 and suffered severe fire damage two years later. Derelict for a period, work on stabilising the structure commenced in 2014 with a major restoration project starting two years later. Work included the repair and replacement of the brickwork, the retention and repair of the cast-iron window frames and substantial work to replace the roof. The restored building is now in use by the university’s Students’ Union.

The second building that formed part of the entry was the small official building adjacent to the main shed. The work in restoring this structure was also significant and included the replacement of the entire roof on a like-for-like basis.