The Midland RailwayStudy Centre

The Midland Railway Study Centre is operated as a partnership between The Midland Railway Society (which incorporates The Roy F Burrows Collection) and Derby Museums.

Part of the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill, itself housed in 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 enduring legacy on social history.

St. Pancras statipon train shed in all its magnificence

This site will 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, do get in touch. We hope to see you at the Study Centre soon.

WE ARE OPEN!

While the building work continues at the Silk Mill the Midland Railway Study Centre is currently operating from a Temporary Site in Derby. Despite this we welcome visitors to come and access our document collection for research. Appointments are usually available on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. There are some limitations on what we are able to produce as space constraints mean that significant elements of our collection are stored off site. This applies to large items such as rolled plans in particular. Therefore it is essential that potential visitors check our on-line catalogue and pre-order documents where indicated. For those unable to visit us in person, we are always happy to assist with email enquiries. See more about this in our How We Can Help page.

The temporary Midland Railway Study Centre reading room

We also remain deeply involved in planning for the forthcoming Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill, and our project update page will be regularly updated. We will be moving back to the Silk Mill in 2020

Extract from the MR Distance Diagram for Derby

New Download Available

The cover of the ledger titled MR General Purposes Committee outlays 1890 to 1895

While we are away from the Silk Mill work continues to digitise as much of our collection as possible to make it available for research without having to visit us. The results are added to the relevant entries of the on-line catalogue with a download link. Our latest addition, thanks to the great work of one of our volunteers, deserves a more prominent mention...

This is a copy of all 128 pages of the MR General Purposes Committee outlays book from June 1890 to June 1895. (Item No. RFB10407 - 46.8Mb PDF). The ledger contains a wealth of detail in respect of civil engineering works, orders for new locomotives and rolling stock, land purchases, general improvements, and so on.... all over the network. An example entry appears below. The first 25 pages contain an alphabetical index of places and subjects to help you find what or where you are interested in. An invaluable resource for serious researchers or casual browsers.

An example page from the ledger titled MR General Purposes Committee outlays 1890 to 1895

Extracted from a series of random notes by the late George Dow
(Item No. RFB00998):

During a lengthy discussion among a cosmopolitan gathering in Paris shortly after World War I the question was posed what is most characteristic of the English people? Various suggestions were proffered.... 'Punch', a London policeman, a public schoolboy and finally, a Midland third-class dining car, which was accepted by all!

Our Catalogue

The on-line catalogue currently contains 57,032 entries, with more & more gaining thumbnail illustrations. Meanwhile the number of links to high resolution downloads has passed the 700 mark — and continues to grow.

There are also a wide range of downloadable resources
which you can access from this web site at any time

During our sojourn at the Temporary Site to allow the builders to do their work at the Silk Mill, access to our physical collection is unavoidably reduced. We have therefore detailed the many and varied downloadable resources which allow you to research Midland Railway history without the need to actually visit us. These can all be accessed on our...

Resources page

There you will find pointers to the various corners of this site which will help you find your subject of interest.

To see which parts of the country were served by the Midland Railway, please click this thumbnail to view a system map from 1914.

Thumbnail fo the MR System map 1914
A signal box diagram for Selly Oak Station

Silk Mill News

The Silk Mill surrounded by the construction compound

We were privileged to be able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Silk Mill refurbishment work in mid-January. As you will see here, the principal contractors for the building work, Speller Metcalfe have got to the point where the building has been completely stripped back to its raw structure, ready for the refit to begin in earnest. The project is on track for the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill to open its brand new Civic Hall and wonderful new space in Summer 2020.

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.

The Midland Railway staff of Ashchurch Junction

Ashchurch Junction from the south

We are absolutely delighted to host the fruits of painstaking research conducted by Brian Harringman, which details the men and women who were employed by the Midland Railway at Ashchurch in Gloucestershire. Using a wide variety of both genealogical sources and railway documents, Brian has built up a comprehensive record, not only of the individuals concerns, but also of scope and nature of the work they were engaged in. Ashchurch was a significant location for the Midland Railway, not only as a junction, but as the site of one of the Company's most important Provender Stores. Even if you don't have a direct interest in the Ashchurch area, Brian's research provides an invaluable insight into working methods typical of rural railway stations in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries. Like all research, this project can never be declared "finished", but it has clearly long reached the stage that it is deserving of sharing.

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 updates on the Silk Mill’s transformation into the Derby Silk Mill Museum of Making.

Signature of Samuel Waite johnson

Site last updated: 18:40 Friday, 24 May 2019.