Home  / BW133


Midland Railway Company


Records of the Midland Railway Company: company reports 1844-1868, notebook of John Sinclair 1856-1864, records relating to the Ashby Canal mid 19th century-c1945, records relating to the Cromford Canal c1900-1920.



Reference code


Access Status

These records are available immediately for research

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

The Midland Railway was incorporated on 10 May 1844 by the amalgamation of the York & North Midland, North Midland, Midland Counties, and the Birmingham & Derby Junction railways. The chairman of the York & North Midland Railway, George Hudson, became chairman and leading shareowner of the Midland Railway. This was the first large scale amalgamation of several small railway companies into one large company. In 1845, the Birmingham & Gloucester, the Bristol & Gloucester and the Leicester & Swannington railways became part of the Midland company. The company now controlled 1,016 miles of railway track and George Hudson obtained the title of 'Railway King'. In 1846 the line to Lincoln which had been planned and authorised by the old Midland Counties company was opened, together with the opening of the Leeds & Bradford line and the submission of 26 Bills to parliament. The Midland Railway used the Great Northern Railway's line to Kings Cross, which by 1862 was becoming very busy, delaying trains. In 1863, an Act enabled the Midland Railway to start work on a London extension line. The new St Pancras station was designed by the engineer-in-chief to the Midland Railway, WH Barlow (1812-1902), and opened for traffic in 1868, although the Grand Hotel did not open until 1873. The Midland Railway created a through line to Manchester in 1867, by extentions on existing lines and the opening of a new line between Blackwell Mill Junction and New Mills Junction. The Midland route to Manchester was strenuously opposed by the London & North Western Railway and agreements resulted in the Midland Railway being required to build the Settle & Carlisle in 1869, opening for traffic in 1875. Standards of travel for passengers were improved by the company and from April 1872 third class passengers were carried on all trains. From January 1875 second class was abolished entirely, with the first class rate lowered to one and a half pence per mile (what had been the second class rate) and all of the seats in third class being upholstered. In 1904, the Midland Railway opened a purpose-built port at Heysham, Lancaster, with a direct rail connection. Company steamers operated services from Heysham to Belfast and Douglas on the Isle of Man. A steamer service also operated between Tilbury and Gravesend, and from Stranraer to Larne. In 1923 the Midland Railway became part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. For further information on the Midland Railway see the Midland Railway Society's website at http://webp1.mimas.ac.uk/~zzaascs/mrsoc/mrsoc.html.

System of arrangement

It has not been possible to ascertain the complete original structure of record-keeping from the records held for this company. The fonds has been arranged into series by subject, which is how some of the records may have originally been kept. The records relating to Midland Railway have been placed first, followed by records relating to the Ashby Canal and then those relating to the Cromford Canal. The records within these series have been arranged chronologically while keeping records relating to each other together. This means that some records may fall slightly out of the chronological sequence. The Ashby Canal series has been divided into two subseries - legal, engineering and traffic records and maps and plans of the canal and its reservoirs. The records within these subseries have generally been arranged chronologically while keeping records relating to each other together. This means that some records may fall slightly out of the chronological sequence.

Associated material

[See also: BW69 for records of the Ashby Canal during other periods of ownership]

Explore this part of the collection