THE MIDLAND RAILWAY STUDY CENTRE
However you arrive at Derby's Silk Mill
Since the refurbishment of the ground floor, all administrative functions within the building have been moved to the third floor. Consequently, visitors who arrive when the Silk Mill is not open to the public -- which will be most Study Centre users -- need to use the back door. This can be found on the north side of the building (that is, the furthest away from the city centre). The path between the Silk Mill and the river leads to the back of building, or there is a short driveway leading off Sowter Road. On reaching the back door you will find an intercom which will bring someone to the door to let you in.
The centre of Derby has always been a challenge to the visiting driver, with a convoluted one-way system and an inner ring road which was deliberately designed to discourage traffic from venturing within. Put simply, drive into Derby only as a last resort — public transport is by far the best bet these days.
The Silk Mill Museum is off Full Street in Derby's City Centre. How you find it will vary depending on whether you are driving or coming by public transport.
Getting to us from the railway station by public transport is straightforward: The service 1 and 1A Arriva buses (as well as several others such as Kinch's Skylink) stop at the bus interchange outside the railway station. They drop off in the Bus Station on The Morledge (see below ** for walking from there...)
Walking all the way from the railway station is also quite practical, weather permitting, and takes about 20 minutes: Turn right out of the station forecourt along Station Approach. You will pass the Brunswick and Alexandra pubs on your left, bearing left in front of the Alex, so that the former MR Enginemen's lodgings (now called Duesbury House) is on your right. This is Siddals Road and is lined with commercial premises like car dealership. At the very end, the huge Cockpit multi-story car park looms up. Cross the busy Traffic Street and continue under the car park before crossing over to the bus station on your right as you reach The Morledge.
** If exiting the Bus Station, turn right along The Morledge. You'll walk past the front of the Crown Court, onto Corporation Street and past the front of the Council House on your right. Carry straight on, passing the end of Derwent Street (you'll see Exeter bridge over the River Derwent along there on your right), and you will find yourself on Full Street. As a quick check the old court building (now home to Derby's Local Studies Library) will be on the right and the Assembly Rooms multi-story car park on the left.
After 70yds, passing a new hotel which rose up during 2015, the area known as Cathedral Green is on your right. You will see the main entrance to the Museum diagonally across this open space.
The Cathedral Green in front of the Silk Mill
There is also the option of a slightly longer, but far more enjoyable, riverside walk which is well signposted from both the Railway Station and Bus Station.
Arriving by car...
You should be aware that Derby City Centre is notoriously difficult to navigate by car with its peculiar one-way systems. You are earnestly advised to use public transport, or at least use the Park & Ride facilities for the last part of your journey. The Silk Mill is a short walk from the terminus of all bus routes. The two “Park & Ride” services are located at the northeast (A61) and southeast (A52 Nottingham) sides of the city.
Otherwise, if coming by car and you are using a SatNav, DE1 3AS will take you to Sowter Road and Silk Mill Lane is off that. Otherwise, using the old fashioned method of navigating, the best advice is to follow the brown tourist signs which direct to "Assembly Rooms" which will bring you into the city centre. The Assembly Rooms car park, whilst convenient, isn't cheap for all day parking. There is a car park close to the Silk Mill on Sowter Road which, last time I checked, charges£5 for six hours.
Parking for disabled visitors is available in front of the Silk Mill.
Getting into the building...
Access to the Silk Mill when it is not open to the public, as will be the case when most of our visitors arrive, is via the back door. To get there you will need to use the path which runs between the building and the river as indicated in the below illustration. Once you arrive at the door, there is an intercom which will connect you to a member of the Museum staff who will let you in and show you to the Study Centre.