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.