Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms

About Us

A Brief History

After being made “surplace to requirements” in April 2010 from their job in London, Rich and Dave (above) decided to come home and put their redundancy money to good use.

Aware that there wasn’t any professional rehearsal rooms in Durham for local bands to practice in, they decided it was time this needed changing.

On Thursday 25th November, they finally got the keys for the property at Blagdon Depot (below). Formally a rocking horse factory it wasn’t hard to come up with the new name and Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms was born.


The original building plans for the studios look like this

The ‘yellow’ areas representing the 1st stage, comprising of building 2 rehearsal rooms.

The ‘blue’ areas representing future developments.


This is the state of the building and the surrounding area when we got the keys



The Crack Article

Local musicians revive former Durham toy factory!!
The vacant site of an old Rocking Horse Factory on Durham’s riverside has been given a lease of life by two local musicians with the completion of a new rehearsal facility. The building which once produced Armstrong’s Rocking Horses, known throughout the world for their quality, has been given a new lease of life, but with a nod to it’s history.
Local lads Richard Combstock and David Sands, both aged 32, decided to return to their native North East to start the venture, after a decade working in London.
“Durham has a thriving live music scene, with many great pubs and venues showcasing local bands, as well as a huge student population. As a musician I was surprised to hear that there were no facilities for bands to rehearse in the city centre. We have put a lot of effort into making sure we have well constructed, sound-proofed rooms. We’ve fitted them out with good quality gear whilst still making the place affordable.” Richard said.
David added, “After discovering what was made here, the decision to name the place Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms was a no brainer really. We decided to to keep the legacy of the building. Especially after many local people had passionately told us about it’s history.”
After taking over the building in late November, which has been empty since 2005, the boys set about completely redesigning the interior, ripping out the old walls and building sound-proofed rooms.
“When we started the building work I don’t think we really grasped the amount of effort involved, each room is really two rooms, like a russian doll, one inside the other. It’s been very tough and we never really knew how they were going to sound until they were completed but we’re very proud of the finished product. I guess the only way to judge how good the rooms are is to come and have a practise. ” said Dave
“We still have plenty of hard work ahead of us, we’re about to start constructing a control room so we can offer recording facilities. Then we will be constructing more rehearsal rooms in the space we have remaining.” added Rich.
They will be hosting an open day on Saturday 05th of March from 12pm until late, bands and musicians are all welcome to have a look round and bring their instruments for a jam.
Situated just 5-10 minutes walk from both train and bus stations and only 5 minutes drive from the A1 with access from A690 and A691, with plenty of free parking, follow the signs to Crook Hall and keep going along the river. They are open 10AM till 11PM every day and are now taking bookings.