The natural starting point for using our resources has to be our on-line catalogue. This lists over 55,000 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 500 entries in our on-line catalogue which allow direct access to a high resolution scan of the document concerned.
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.
- 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".
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 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.
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 (14.5Mb) archive containing two PDFs - Dewhurst Loco Allocations.
- A spreadsheet with the transcribed data from the LMS 1933 loco allocations list can be downloaded as a 121Kb .xls file - 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.
- 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.
- Material from our collection relating to companies other than the Midland - Other Companies.
If you can't find what you're looking for, please feel free to get in touch. Contact details are located at the bottom of every page.