This blog article was submitted by UKNIWM volunteer Roy Branson.
Following the First World War many private companies provided memorials for their employees who had served or died in the war. One such was the Midland Railway Company, based at Derby. In addition to the basic infrastructure of tracks and stations the company also had a huge locomotive works and a carriage and wagon works both of which were located close to Derby’s Midland Station. These sites comprised many specialist workshops and were supported by a host of administrative departments including accountants, draughtsmen, estate agents and many others. Additionally, there were several social organisations two such being a substantial institute and a sports association. Most of these workshops, departments and clubs sent men to fight for their king and country, and most of them subsequently displayed their own war memorial.
The memorials were often in one of two standard types; either a brass plaque or a printed roll of honour in an elaborate wooden frame. A particularly fine photographic roll of honour to men of the Locomotive Works General Stores currently hangs in the Reading Room of the Midland Railway Study Centre in Derby Silk Mill Museum. These memorials generally survived the merger of the Midland Railway to form the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and, after the Second World War, the nationalisation of the railway industry to create British Railways. What many of them did not survive was the privatisation of the railways at the end of the twentieth century.
The locomotive works (which, incidentally manufactured artillery pieces during the First World War) was demolished during the 1990s, and most of the carriage and wagon works went the same way. The institute and sports club are long gone. Some of the memorials found their way to Derby Museum and some of them went into storage. Several are unaccounted for.
The reconstruction of Derby Station in 2008 provided an opportunity to display the salvaged brass memorials and 18 of them are now mounted on a wall on Platform 1. These have recently been resurveyed by one of our volunteers and entered onto the database. Their entries can be found by entering the keyword Railway and the place Derby into the advanced search. Although any further information about them would certainly be welcome…