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Visiting the Midland Railway Study Centre: Everything you need to know about how to come and use the Midland Railway Study Centre


We have information — and we want to share it with you!

Containers in the Midland Railway Study Centre

The Midland Railway Study Centre is full of shelves like this one, each bursting with information about the many and varied aspects of Midland Railway history, operation and people. We want to help you find it and use it.

The Midland Railway Study Centre is set up first and foremost to be a research facility. Many people visit us to carry out new and pioneering research into an area of history never previously examined. However, many more are quite reasonably following along some well-trodden ground. This can be especially so when researching your family history.

That means that your research doesn't always have to involve a visit to Derby as very often the information you want to find is already at or very near our fingertips. If we don't have it, we may be able to point you toward another archive or organisation who does.

The first step in any enquiry is for you to search our on-line catalogue for the subject or person you are interested in. This finding aid includes many resources which are not physically located with us at the Study Centre.

Containers in the Midland Railway Study Centre

Sometimes it really isn't necessary to reinvent the wheel and delve deep into ledgers and manuscripts as someone else has done the work already and published their findings. The Midland Railway Society holds a library of over a 1,000 books which are at least in some way relevant to the Midland Railway. This reference library is available to visitors an an index can be consulted. We regret that we can't lend copies and of course Fair Use copyright laws apply to redistributing anything other than a small part of someone else's work.

Another highly useful search which can be undertaken right here from this web site is the index of the Midland Railway Society's highly regarded Journal. Over 75 editions full of well researched articles by members of our Society.

Containers in the Midland Railway Study Centre

Some other sources of Midland Railway information
to help you...

The Settle & Carlisle Railway Trust
The S & C Railway Trust go to inordinate lengths to ensure this world famous stretch of railway embraces its heritage perfectly. Their web site has a section on the line's heritage and anyone with an interest in Midland Railway matters will find their Design Guide invaluable.
Cumbrian Railways Association
Though of course not limited to the Midland Railway, the Cumbrian railway Association includes the Settle & Carlisle railway as well as other part of Midland in their extensive area of interest.
Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust
Arguably much more than a “line society”, given their extensive collection of rolling stock, the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust preserves the memory of this fabled joint venture between the Midland Railway and the London and South Western Railway which ran between Bath and Bournemouth.
Midland Railway — Butterley
This list would not be complete without including our good friends at the Midland Railway — Butterley. Although there is no formal connection between our respective organisations, the shared “Midland Railway” element in our names means we are often confused with one another. Butterley is, of course, renowned for being a heritage railway, but they are also an Accredited Museum with a stunning collection of Midland Railway artefacts, ephemera and documents.
Other Midland Railway related heritage railways...
Similarly, we mustn't fail to include the other heritage lines which all keep the memory of the Midland Railway alive an maintain their own collections...
The Manchester Locomotive Society
Based on Stockport Station and in existence since 1935, this group's archive, library and photographic collection are all hugely impressive. Whilst there's naturally a strong north west England bias, their collections and members' interests span the globe. Anyone interested in the Cheshire Lines Committee (of which the Midland Railway was a constituent) will be well served by the MLS. Their resources are available to their members only, but if that is your interest, the modest annual subscription will be well worth it. Details on their web site.

Not specifically Midland Railway related but great sources of relevant research material... ...

The National Railway Museum
The NRM continue to make more and more of their vast collection available on-line. As such, their Collections Catalogue is well worth spending some time with.
The National Archives
Kew hold a substantial amount of Midland Railway material, including but far from limited to, many staff records and the full set of the various committee minute books. The main sub-reference for the Midland Railway in Discovery - their comprehensive on-line finding aid is RAIL 491.
Kidderminster Railway Museum
KRM have an extensive collection of photographs covering the entire country, many originating from the Roy F Burrows Midland Collection. You can contact them via their web site.
The Signalling Record Society
The SRS have an extensive archive and a Study Centre at Kenilworth, Warwickshire which they share with the London & North Western Railway Society. Find out more at the SRS web site.
Picture The Past
This is the North East Midland Photographic Record which holds the combined photographic collections of the local authorities of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Their railway collection is extensive and the web site is well worth exploring.
British Transport Police History Group
Like the pre-grouping railway companies they served, the many railway police forces were “grouped” in 1923. The Midland Railway Police department became part of the LMS Police and subsequently, under the British Transport Commission, the BTP. The rich and varied history these many police forces represent is celebrated by the BTP History Group. This is an excellent source of any information regarding railway, dock and canal policing over the years.
Newton Abbot Railway Studies Collection
Although primarily focussing on the Great Western Railway, the Railway Studies Centre in the Passmore Edwards Centre, operated by Devon Libraries, has a substantial amount of information covering the whole of the UK's railways. Their web site contains a selection of images from the collection and a link to Devon Libraries' on line catalogue.
Stephen Rabone's Hellifield micro-site
If you are at all interested in the workings around Hellifield, with the associated link over the Settle & Carlisle, then this collection of pages will be a treasure trove of information for you. Thanks to Graham Bocking for mentioning it.
The Crich village web site hosts an excellent page containing the memories of A.C.Phillips, a former Station Master there. It is also illustrated with splendid photographs from Mr. Phillips' album.

Other pre-grouping railway companies...

The Midland Railway was just one company among dozens of others which collectively built Britain's railway network. If your research involves one of the other companies, here are some suggestions of where to seek help. This list isn't exhaustive and so if your area of interest isn't covered, let us know and we will do our best to point you in a helpful direction.

We will be delighted to add any other relevant research resources or web sites to this list. Please email with any suggestions and also please let me know if any of the above links are broken. Contact details below....