The Midland RailwayStudy Centre


The Silk Mill is being transformed

Get ready for the Museum of Making

The information contained on this page is largely out of date. We are in the process of moving back into the Silk Mill following its major restoration and transformation into the Museum of Making.

There will be a complete revision of the details on this page in due course...

A view of the Midland Railway Study Centre reading room

The Midland Railway Study Centre began as a collaboration of three organisations:-

In 2016 the Roy F Burrows Midland Collection Trust became part of the Midland Railway Society to form a single registered charity.

The Study Centre will be a part of the Derby Silk Mill Museum of Making when the refurbishment of the Silk Mill is complete in 2020. Meanwhile, we will be operating from a Temporary Site.

The collections cared-for by the Midland Railway Study Centre represents perhaps the largest assembly of Midland Railway material anywhere and comprises over 55,000 individual items. Much of the collection originates from the Roy F Burrows Collection and Derby Museums have a large amount of railway items, very little of which had been available to the public prior to the formation of the Study Centre in 2004. The combined collections provide a showcase for a Company that fundamentally shaped the communities it served, most especially the market town that transformed into the City of Derby.

A great deal of the collection consists of three dimensional objects. These range from cast iron signs, through signalling material (nameboards, box diagrams, signal arms and even a coach door!) to silverware and crockery from hotels, dining cars, and steamships. Regrettably, lack of display space means that this part of the collection is not ordinarily on show to the public. However, items can be made available for viewing by arrangement.

Interesting though the hardware undoubtedly is, the strength of the Study Centre is its paper records and, most importantly, how the two link together. The Study Centre boasts a wide range of timetables (both public and working), notices, memos & circulars, tickets, maps, plans, drawings.... There are many ledgers in the collections, reflecting the diversity of the Company’s record-keeping needs, and often remaining in use from the late 19th Century into the British Railways period! Altogether the document collection is a veritable treasure trove of primary material relating to the history of the Midland Railway, its constituents, and its joint lines.

Of course the visual record of the Company has not been forgotten. Most of the photographs originating from the Roy F Burrows Collection are held in a partnership with the successful and comprehensive Kidderminster Railway Museum’s photographic archive. Read more about our relationship with KRM on this page.

Conservation of the material is something that the Study Centre and its host, Derby Museums, take very seriously. Reproduction facilities are available to readers, though the most non-invasive methods possible are used. To that end, the use of non-flash digital photography is encouraged. Of course reproduction can be an issue and all our visitors have to carefully consider whether copyright or any other restriction applies, though research for private purposes is normally not problematical.

Details of how to arrange a visit to the Study Centre can be found elsewhere on this web site.

The Study Centre is operated by volunteers drawn from the ranks of the Midland Railway Society and all give their time freely. They are responsible for producing the material on request of the visitor and stewarding the use of the reading room. This is a vital role and the more volunteers we have the better. Membership of the Midland Railway Society is a prerequisite to volunteering at the Study Centre.