The natural starting point for using our resources has to be our on-line catalogue. This lists over 60,000 items which are in the Midland Railway Society's collection (largely from the Roy F. Burrows Collection, but there is also a considerable quantity of material from other individuals' collections). The catalogue also details the Midland Railway related holdings of Derby Museums which are in the care of the Midland Railway Study Centre. As we want our 'Common Database' to be a comprehensive source for Midland Railway research, we are also adding details of material we hold only in digital form (i.e. scans of primary material held elsewhere), along with details of how to access the original items.
We have been working hard to make our collection available digitally. While we acknowledge that what we have done so far only scratches the surface in practical terms, we believe it is a good start. There are now over 1100 entries in our on-line catalogue which allow direct access to a high resolution scan of the document concerned.
Please note that by clicking on any download link on our web site you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions, as detailed below
There is one significant area of the collection which doesn't currently appear in our “Common Database” and this is the Midland Railway Estate Department plan collection. This came to Derby Museums when British Rail demolished the former Ambergate Station building in the early 1970s, home to these plans since the late nineteenth century. One of the Museum's stalwart volunteers, Bill Goodwin, spent over 12 years creating a detailed catalogue for the plans. However, the nature of technology available at the time led to the decision to make this catalogue paper-based. Though very efficient as a finding-aid in the Study Centre, it is of course less useful when researching remotely. To remedy this to some extent, we have scanned each of the hand-written index sheets and made them available for downloading as PDFs. The sheets are indexed geographically, using John Gough's Midland Railway Chronology as a framework.
Meanwhile we have been working to make other areas of our collection directly accessible on-line. For example...
- A searchable index of Midland Railway Staff which is being regularly expanded — Staff Index.
- Utilising the research of Brian Harringman, we provide extensive details of the men and women who were employed by the Midland Railway at Ashchurch in Gloucestershire — Ashchurch micro-site.
- Details of the RAIL491 series of staff records held by the National Archives — RAIL491.
- An illustrated paper authored by Glynn Waite which helps the reader interpret Midland Railway Staff Records —
Understanding Staff Records.
- A list of some of the specific staff records we have — Staff Records.
- The Midland Railway Locomotive and Carriage Department Staff List 1864 — Staff List.
- The life and Times of Newton Hibbert, an MR employee of exceptionally long service — Newton Hibbert.
- Some of the more interesting tales contained within the Ben Taylor Collection of Derby "Four Shed" Staff Records — Ben Taylor Tales.
- Details of the family photograph album of Alfred Whitaker — Whitaker album.
- A list of people to whom the “Grass Rights” were granted at Settle in 1906 — Settle Grass Rights.
- The memoirs of J.A.HICKMOTT who worked on the Midland Railway from 1905 serving at Bitton, Clifton Down, Nailsworth, Fishponds, Montpelier (1914), Tewkesbury and, in 1916, moved to Defford where he stayed for 31 years. He assisted at Evesham for a short time and, in 1947, went back to Tewkesbury as chief clerk in the Goods Office and retired in December 1949 — "My Memoirs".
- Through the generosity of The Rowley Family, we have a modest but very interesting collection about John McInnes Millar. What makes it unusual is that he was not a Midland Railway employee, working for Bemrose and Sons, the famous Derby company who were almost exclusively responsible for the Midland Railway's printing needs — Read more about the man, his work and his legacy.
All 128 pages of the MR General Purposes Committee outlays book from June 1890 to June 1895. (Item No, RFB10407. 46.8Mb PDF). This ledger contains a wealth of detail in respect of civil engineering works, orders for new locomotives and rolling stock, land purchases, general improvements... all over the network.
As a project resulting from our Partners in Excellence collaboration with the National Railway Museum we have produced a Finding Aid for Midland Railway Timetables. This document details all known examples of Public and Working Timetables held by ourselves, the NRM and the National Archives. — Midland Railway Timetable Finding Aid.
A Reference Paper written by Garth Ponsonby (Item No. 30140) which details how the Midland Railway planned and organised its train service. The text covers how instructions were issued and controlled, and how those aspects changed over the life of the company. It contains an in-depth exploration of how working timetables were arranged and, indeed, created before moving on to discussing Appendices to the working timetable and the scope and administration of the various Notices to staff. The paper concludes with a brief look at the purpose and implementation of the Control Offices — MR Traffic Control.
- Some images from the Engineer's Department ledger (Item No. RFB28524) — Engineer's Ledger.
- A review of the Coal Traders ledger (Item No. 77-11883) — Coal Traders.
- An information leaflet about Ambulance work within the Midland Railway — Ambulance Organisation.
- The former Railway Print Society Luggage Label volume for the Midland Railway which was written by Roy Burrows has been converted to a downloadable PDF — Comprehensive Guide to MR Luggage Labels.
- We are privileged to benefit from the innumerable years of experience in respect of railway tickets in general, and specifically those of the Midland Railways acquired by David Geldard and he has produced a series of freely-downloadable guides to this wide ranging subject — Tickets of the Midland Railway and its Constituent Companies.
- Associated with his considerable work on Tickets, David Geldard has produced a further downloadable booklet dealing with the many & varied sources for passengers to obtain them — Midland Railway Ticket Offices and Agencies.
- The Railway Year Book was published annually by the Railway Publishing Company and contained a wealth of facts and figures relating to Britain's railways, generally, and the many and various railway companies operating them. To access the Midland Railway copies from 1899 to 1922, simply search for “Railway Year Book” in our catalogue where you'll be able to download each year as a PDF.
- Like all their contemporaries, the Midland Railway excelled at promoting their services and a particularly effective means of doing so was to produce postcards and we have produced a downloadable e-book to document and illustrate this — The Official Postcards of the Midland Railway.
First World War
- A page providing an overview of the resources we have in respect of the First World War — Great War.
- A list of the men of the Midland Railway who went to war in 1914 (fully searchable) — For King and Country.
- The booklet published by the Midland Railway for the unveiling of the Company War Memorial in 1921, with a list of all those named thereon, has been digitised and is downloadable — War Memorial Booklet.
- The Dewhurst allocation lists from 1899 to 1905 have been compiled into a single archive containing two PDFs (Item No. 77-11533 14.5Mb) — Dewhurst Loco Allocations.
- The transcribed data from the LMS 1933 loco allocations list (Item No. 77-11536 - 121Kb spreadsheet) — 1933 Loco Allocations.
- A "General Arrangement" drawing of a Johnson Compound - Compound GA.
- A pen & ink outline of a Johnson Compound — Compound Pen & Ink drawing.
- Resources in the Study Centre for Loco Historians - Loco Historians.
- A description of the Shelford Archive — Shelford Archive.
Carriage & Wagon
- For modellers or Carriage & Wagon restorers, a searchable resource of the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Register, the Lots & Diagrams Register and the detailed version of the Study Centre's catalogue of Carriage & Wagon drawings — Carriage & Wagon Database.
- Andy Boothman has written a page detailing the Study Centre's collection of drawings from Litchurch Lane — Carriage & Wagon.
- Some of the more popular drawings from our Carriage & Wagon collection available for download - Popular C&W Drawings.
- Recently discovered in the depths of Derby Museums' extensive Midland Railway collection, these two surviving fragments of paper were evidently created to illustrate the then current lining and lettering style employed the Midland Railway: (88-2019-SC-002_A - 2.4Mb Jpg. 88-2019-SC-002_B - 626Kb Jpg). Even if you are not a modeller, zooming into these images to reveal the intricacies of the sign writer's art is well worth your time.
- Signalling plans contained in our collection — Signalling Plans.
- An outline of the Pat Larkam and "Dunbar" collections of MR signalling material — Larkam and Dunbar.
- A list of the Signalling Notices that we have — Signalling Notices.
Although an important part of the Midland Railway's wide network of interests, their holdings in the North of Ireland are often somewhat overlooked. This is partly due to a disastrous fire caused by an enemy air raid in the Second World War which burned down Belfast's York Road Station, taking most of the Company's records with it. To redress the balance, therefore, it is appropriate to share this wonderfully detailed — Chronology of the B&NCR's history — written by the Company, immediately before it was purchased by the Midland Railway in 1903.
- Material from our collection relating to companies other than the Midland — Other Companies.
Terms & Conditions for Downloads:
In the case of all downloads from this website, the linked file is provided to you on the basis of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence. Where a residual copyright may exist, our supply of a copy image to you is strictly limited to your personal research purposes or otherwise as permitted by copyright legislation.
In the event your intended use is outside the scope of these conditions, please contact the
Study Centre Co-ordinator.
Please credit The Midland Railway Study Centre, Derby in any onward use of a document or image obtained from this site.