MR Crest

The Midland Railway Study Centre
is a collaboration formed by


Housed within Derby's Silk Mill, itself a World Heritage Site, the Midland Railway Study Centre is the largest publicly accessible collection of primary research material and ephemera relating to the Midland Railway, its constituent companies, and its legacy on today's society.

The aim of this site is to help you find details about the Study Centre's collections and how to access them. With an expanding range of on-line resources, it also provides a pathway for finding information relating to the Midland Railway, its activities and its people.

Please have a look around the site and if you think we can help, please get in touch. We hope to see you at the Study Centre soon.

The Midland Railway Study Centre is very proud to be a Partner in Excellence with the National Railway Museum. The Midland Railway Society is also proud to be a member of the Heritage Railway Association.

Appointment Dates for 2016

The dates available for appointments to use the Midland Railway Study Centre can be found here. Details of how to book one of these dates are provided on the same page.


The frontage of The Silk Mill at Derby, viewed from Cathedral Green

Derby's Silk Mill, home to the Midland Railway Study Centre.

The Midland Railway Society
and the Roy F. Burrows Collection Trust
have merged into a single organisation

Following the approval of the Midland Railway Society membership and the Charity Commission, the two registered charities have become a single entity operating under the name and charitable registration of the Midland Railway Society.

A new constitution for the Midland Railway Society has taken effect and the governance of the Midland Railway Study Centre becomes the responsibility of a new Collection Committee. An extremely helpful benefit of the merger has been the agreement of Derby Museums to provide a representative to sit on the MRS Collection Committee, thereby cementing the link that the Midland Railway Study Centre depends on.


Settle Grass Rights

As part of our ongoing project to transcribe handwritten documents into a searchable format, and thanks to the work of Peter Berry, we have added a short document which details the people who lived in the Settle area of Yorkshire to whom the Midland Railway had sold the rights to harvest grass on the railway embankments in 1903. A small but fascinating insight to an activity incidental to the Company's activities of running trains.


The Derby Museum Model Railway

Although the Midland Railway Study Centre has no direct connection with the model railway with which we share the first floor of the Silk Mill, we are often asked about it. Work on the model is continuing slowly but very surely by a small band of volunteers. To help highlight their work and showcase the model railway we are delighted to provide a small corner of this web site dedicated to the “Kirtley” model railway.


Tales from the Ben Taylor Collection

A recent addition to the Midland Railway Study Centre¬†collection is a batch of 136 staff record sheets relating to Derby's "No.4 Shed" that span much of the mid-20th Century — including many former Midland men. These have now been transcribed and added to our Staff Records Database. While all the records are fascinating, some contain particularly notable details and interesting stories. The "Ben Taylor Tales" provide a tantalising glimpse into the life & times of Derby Four Shed as the Midland Railway gave way to the LMS and early British Railways period.

An oval cast brass plaque with maroon background which reads 'Midland Ry Co. -  Makers  -  Derby, 1889.'

Older News...

Our News page has details of activities and stories from the recent past, including details of the HLF grant to Derby Museums to help finance the redevelopment of the Silk Mill.

A collection of about two dozen rectangular luggage labels with the names of a wide variety of station names. Many are coloured purple, others are cream.

Understanding Staff Records

Glynn Waite has very kindly shared a paper he has written which guides researchers around the many & varied potential pitfalls which exist within the National Archives’ “RAIL491” series of Midland Railway staff records. Drawing on his vast experience, Glynn provides illustrated examples which explain the often mysterious shorthand that the Company’s clerks used, and lead the reader through the records. With particular emphasis on the Coaching Department, he gives a comprehensive overview of the scope of the records, and just as importantly, highlights the gaps which exist. This is sure to be an extremely useful resource for family historians searching for details of their ancestor’s career on the Midland Railway.

Two men study a large plan in the Midland Railway Study Centre A collection of railway artefacts including a signal box lever frame, a bench labelled 'Tamworth High Level', signal box name boards on the walls

Site last update: 13:26 Friday, 17 June 2016.