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Museum and Study Centre

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Museum and Study Centre

Museum and Study Centre

Museum and Study Centre

A page from the web site of the Historical Model Railway Society.
Wed 24 May 2017



On weekdays we are normally open on Wednesdays and most Fridays from 9.30am until 3.00pm. Access is via the blue door on the road side of the building: see the photo. There is a bell push on the wall to the right hand side of the door. It is always advisable to enquire beforehand to make sure we are open: this especially applies to Fridays.

ACCESS TO THE SHOP will be available on the above days and at the same hours.


Welcome to the Historical Model Railway Society Museum and Study Centre

The Museum & Study Centre

The idea that the Society should have a permanent headquarters was first mooted many years ago and was, to a great extent, the brainchild of the then President, George Dow. It was not, however, until 1993 that the site was located within the Midland Railway Centre at Swanwick Junction and firm plans were at last able to be made.

Construction work commenced following cutting of the first sod by the Society’s Vice President, the late Gerry Arundel, on 17 March, 1998. By this time the concept of the headquarters had been developed to include a display area given over to railway history and modelling which would be open to the general public, a research facility and storage space for the Society’s extensive and expanding archive collections, all of which was to be made available in accordance with its charitable status. We are very pleased that in 2005 the visions of our predecessors became a reality, for we now have, probably, one of the very best facilities in this country and the envy of many other related societies.

The cost of construction of the building was entirely funded by voluntary donations from Society Members and other friends who believed that the resulting facilities for railway research were much needed. All such giving was carried out anonymously and the Society wishes, again, to record its sincere thanks to all who gave, and have given since, so generously, be their contributions large or small.

The Society is also indebted to the Midland Railway Trust for its hospitality and especially those members who were of considerable help during the design and construction of these Headquarters. I am also very pleased to report that we have an extremely dedicated team, small though it is, of members of the HMRS who attend on a regular basis to ensure that the facilities continue to be available to members and visitors.

The following paragraphs describe the Museum and Study Centre in words and pictures (mostly taken by our past President, Tony Wright). However, should you have any questions regarding its location, use, or times of opening, please do not hesitate to contact us, and remember, we shall be very pleased to welcome you and assist in any way we can.

What is there?

Well, how long is a piece of string? I am often asked, what is there to see? I have even been asked, what is in the library? The answer is, of course,come and see for yourself!

The building serves a combination of three main purposes; the storage of the Society’s library and large expanding archive collection; the facilities for the study of the books and the archives; the public display of models and railway ephemera.

The upper floor is given to the long term storage of the archive and access is not normally available to visitors.

The first floor is the Study Centre to which access is limited to Society members and authorised researchers. It includes the Reading Room, Archive, Library and offices - as well as the centre’s only toilet.

The ground floor contains the museum area and shop, access to which is generally available on Wednesdays and Fridays, and at certain weekends when staff are available to steward the facilities. Members are requested to make use of the front door below the clock, just ring the bell.


a random view in the Centre

Reading Room

photo of the Reading Room

The Study Centre reading room and library are available on Wednesdays and Fridays between 9.00 a.m and 3.00 p.m., and at other days and times by special arrangement – please telephone the study centre on 01773 745959 (answer-phone) to request an appointment.

Upon arrival you will be requested to show some proof of identity and membership and to sign the visitor’s book.

Tea and coffee are available for which a small donation is appreciated to cover costs.

Photocopying and scanning facilities are also available at reasonable cost and larger copies may be obtained for you locally.

Access is also available for the disabled, but do please let me know before you arrive so that I may arrange supervision of the chair lift etc.

HMRS Museum and Study Centre Manager


The Library

Access is available from the Reading Room and is supervised by the HMRS Librarian, Eric Gent, who will be only too pleased to give assistance and advice.

The loan of books continues to be one of the great benefits of the Society and non referencebooks may be borrowed either by personal visit, by post, requested by E-mail, or telephone. The loan period continues to be limited to 28 days after which the books must be returned inperson or by post (postage paid) without delay.

The content of the Library is constantly being updated with additional items and it is suggested that a check on the HMRS website will inform you if the book you require is available.

In addition to books, the Library also contains many Line Society journals and newsletters,together with other railway and railway modelling related magazines and journals. Journals and newsletters are for reference use, but photocopies may be obtained as per instructions in the 'Serials Collection Catalogue'.

Eric Gent
HMRS Librarian

photo of the Library

The Archives

Many of the Society’s archives are stored in a room off the Reading Room and access is restricted to staff members. Visitors wishing to examine the archives will need to state their requirements and the relevant files and/or boxes will be brought to them.

Whilst there are a limited number of three-dimensional artefacts, most are in paper format. These comprise research papers, timetables and other railway company records, the Society’s large photograph collection from which (where the Society holds the copyright) prints may be ordered. Other prints for which the Society does not hold the copyright are available for personal study but not for publication. There is no loan facility for any item in the Archives.

If original drawings are required for examination please make this clear when making your appointment so that a person with the appropriate authorisation can be available.

Peter H. Swift
HMRS Archivist



  • Library — The entire catalogue is contained on a traditional card index which may beconsulted by readers. Much is now availble on-line.
  • Archives — Currently on-line, you may search the lists of timetables (4060 entries) and general items (1244 entries).
  • Photographs — This is currently available in PhotoCAT format but in the long-term will be transferred to a format compatible with the Library and Archive catalogues.

A computer terminal is available in the Reading Room to enable visitors to consult all the catalogues.

When all the computer systems and databases have been thoroughly tested and all the necessary search facilities implemented, all catalogues will be available for on-line searching through the Society’s website. Latest information will be published in Points.


Who's Who:

Study Centre Manager
B. Wilson

Sales Area Manager
A. Straw
HMRS New books & Journals plus Photographs and Transfers, Secondhand Books, HMRS Journals, Magazines, Models

Eric Gent

Peter H. Swift

Drawings Archive
Paul & Margaret Garratt

Photographic Archive
Russell McCoy

Layouts Manager
Louis Heath

The postal address of the Centre is: HMRS, Midland Railway-Butterley, Butterley Station, Ripley, DE5 3QZ

The Museum and Study Centre has a telephone (01773 745959) however the Study Centre is not continually manned. Messages may be left on the answerphone but may not be listened to for a few days. If your call is urgent please contact the person you need directly using the details provided in the Members’ Directory or use the links on our "Contact Us" page.


Other Services


The current HMRS publications (including most later editions of the Journal) are available direct from the HMRS Museum and Study Centre – please print out an order form from the HMRS Website, or we can supply a copy by post. Books are despatched by post as soon as possible following receipt of your order. You may pay by cheque or Debit/Credit Card. In addition to new books, we have a very good selection of secondhand titles in our shop from all the major publishers. As stock changes regularly we are unable to supply lists.

The HMRS Journal editor would appreciate receiving your manuscripts, articles, photographs, and letters. You can contact him using the link on our Contact Us page.

Photocopying at A4 size is available at the Study Centre for a small fee. Larger photocopying including maps and plans etc, plus book and magazine binding and repairs can also be arranged locally at very competitive prices.

HMRS books


How to get there

The Centre is at Swanwick Junction around a mile from Butterley station on the B6179, a little north of Ripley in Derbyshire.

By train to Derby and then bus 9.1 or 9.2, or to Alfreton and then bus 9.1, 9.2 or 9.3 to Butterley Station: then Midland Railway Trust train or walk to Swanwick Junction. 
Bus times may be checked on the Derbyshire Journey Planner. The Midland Railway timetable gives details of their services.

Further details, including travel by road, are on our "How to get there" page or on the Midland Railway Centre web site.