Research

Research Opportunities

At the West Shed Museum we have a small collection of objects, archival material, historic photographs, books and magazines relating to our locomotives and railway coaches. We welcome visitors to look at our research collections by prior arrangement. To enquire about the material we have or to book a study visit, please contact us.

What’s in our collection?

Take a look below to see some of the different types of material we have. We do not have a searchable catalogue of our collection online yet, but if you’d like to explore further, take a look at our Stop! Look! Listen! page to see some of the items we have.

Photographs

Historic images of the locomotives and coaches in our collection during their working lives, plus modern images.

Archival material

We have a collection of books and official instructions relating to the operation of the railways, including regulations, rule books, instruction manuals and worker’s notes. We also have correspondence and notes belonging to people who worked on the railways.

Magazines

In addition to a collection of modern railway magazines, we have a number of historic publications. This includes issues of the ‘LMS Magazine’ from the 1930s, which was the staff magazine for people working for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company.

Railwayana

We have a small collection of objects related to the operation of the railways including locomotive builder’s plates, number plates, railway lamps, wage tokens, etc.

Paintings & Prints

Original paintings and prints depicting the locomotives we have in our collection.

Books

Reference books on subjects relating to the London Midland and Scottish Railway, Stanier locomotives, and general railway history.

Most of our books are kept in our library and are available to view by prior arrangement, but they cannot be taken off-site. Click here to see a list of our library books.

Engineering Drawings

We often receive enquiries from model builders and researchers regarding access to our collection of engineering drawings. We only hold a small collection of drawings which are working copies for use by our Engineers, so we do not have the facilities to make copies of these drawings for other people.

Other Sources for Engineering Drawings:

The National Railway Museum holds the central collection of all railway engineering drawings (in fact many of our drawings were supplied by them) and they provide a full reproduction service. In the first instance, please explore the National Railway Museum archive collection by visiting the ‘Research & Archive’ section of their website: https://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/research-and-archive

The Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS) holds a vast collection of engineering drawings and photographs relating to railway history. The HMRS study centre is based on the same site as the West Shed and offers a research and reproduction service. Please visit their website for further details and online catalogues: https://hmrs.org.uk/

General Railway History & Family History Research

A good starting point is to have a look at this guide by the National Railway Museum, which lists various sources of information: https://www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/research-and-archive/further-resources/family-history

The National Archives holds the records of private railway companies before they were nationalised in 1947. For more information and further sources to explore see: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/railways/

The Midland Railway-Butterley has its own archive collection – contact them for details: https://www.midlandrailway-butterley.co.uk/contact-us/

The Midland Railway Society (a separate organisation) has a wealth of material relating to the history of the Midland Railway and operates an enquiry service and Study Centre in Derby (approximately 12 miles away from the Midland Railway-Butterley): https://www.midlandrailwaystudycentre.org.uk/

There are many research resources for railway and transport history. The website of The Railway & Canal Historical Society has a large list of organisations holding material relating to transport history: https://rchs.org.uk/

The Land Transport Archives Network is developing a directory of the hundreds of organisations that hold archives relating to all forms of land transport: https://ltan.info/

Research Facilities at the West Shed

We have a designated library room with desks where visitors can carry out research work. Photocopying facilities are also available for a small charge, subject to copyright restrictions. Our library facility is available for use by prior appointment and is generally available during the week outside of school holidays, subject to the relevant members of staff being on-site. If you are interested in visiting to use this facility, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you would like to enquire about specific material we have in our collection, please contact us:

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