Skip to main content

Monument record MDR14124 - Midland Locomotive Works, Derby

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Midland Locomotive Works - repair and manufacturing facilities initially for two of the three railway companies whose lines met at Derby, ie the North Midland Railway (NMR) and the Midland Counties Railway (MCR). The site was purchased in November 1838; however, thousands of tons of earth and gravel had to be brought in before building work could commence. The level of the major part of the site was raised by some 8ft and only the goods wharves situated alongside the Derby Canal remained at the lower level. The works were ready for occupation by the NMR Co. at the end of 1839/beginning of 1840. The central feature was an engine roundhouse, polygonal in shape and with 16 sides from each of which a line of rails capable of accommodating two locomotives, ran towards the central turntable. Two main workshops formed oblique wings to the roundhouse. One was the engine workshop, the other the carriage workshops. A central clock tower still contains the original North Midland clock made by Derby's John Whitehurst the younger in 1840. The MCR Co. established their workshops immediately adjacent to the NMR shops. Accommodation included an engine shed and an engine workshops and machine shop with a repair shop attached. The companies were amalgamated in 1844 to form the new Midland Railway Co., with extensions to the site taking place soon afterwards. A second roundhouse was completed in 1847 and a third in 1852, while other additions included a Wheel shop, a Repair and Painting shop, a Brass Foundry and Mess Room, a Millwrights shop, a new Carriage shop, a Saw Shed and Tinsmiths and Coppersmiths shops. By 1864 the workshops area had increased four-fold and employed over 2000 staff. The Locomotive Works facilities were reorganised in 1873 and an additional 50 acre site purchased for the erection of a new Carriage & Wagon Works (see SMR 32112). (1) The first locomotive was turned out by the works in September 1851 and by 1855 33 locomotives had been completed. Over the years the works has produced 2941 steam locomotives and 1010 diesel locomotives including the notable inclusion of the first main line diesel locomotive to run in this country. The works also produced the power cars for the experimental Advanced Passenger Train before the APT concept was cancelled. Today the works primarily produce bogies, the repair of diesel locomotives having ceased in 1988. (2) The Midland Railway Workshops, Roundhouse and Offices, situated across from Derby Station, started off as the workshops for two early railway companies, the North Midland Railway and the Midland Counties Railway. The North Midland complex was designed by architect Francis Thompson and engineer Robert Stephenson. The North Midland Roundhouse is the earliest remaining railway roundhouse, and one of the earliest roundhouses ever built. The North Midland complex is of national importance and the best surviving example in the Midlands. The Midland Counties complex is also of national importance, the earliest surviving complex of railway workshops in the country. By 1998 the buildings had been empty for over 8 years and were beginning to deteriorate due to a lack of maintenance. Surviving buildings were surveyed at that time by the Royal Commission for the Historic Monuments of England. (3) Towards the northern end of the site are four Listed Buildings; three of which come under SMR 32213: a former engine shed (NHLE entry no: 1228933), a former carriage shop (NHLE entry no: 1278575) and a clock tower (NHLE entry no: 1228934); and a former railway workshop (NHLE entry no: 1230740), which falls under SMR 32212.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Radford, B. 1986. Rail Centres: Derby.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Radford, J B, revised by Higginson, M. 1994. City of Derby Railway Heritage Trail.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sather, K (for The Buildings At Risk Trust). 1998. The Midland Railway Workshops at Derby: A Conservation Plan (draft).



Grid reference Centred SK 3656 3533 (775m by 1045m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jul 5 2023 10:52AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.