Knowledge is power.
The NGRS Library is a remarkable collection of materials relating to narrow gauge railways, and although primarily relating to the UK, it also has extensive collections covering railways all over the world. This includes a large collection of books, many photographs (in negative, print, and transparency form), extensive subject files made up of cuttings from magazines, personal reminiscences, timetables and other ephemera, and a large collection of original drawings (mostly in original draughtsman’s chests) generously donated by Alan Keef, and microfilms including the Hibberd drawings. We also have been kindly gifted large specialist collections, including in recent years the Dave Holroyd archive, the collections of WJK Davies and Sydney Moir, and the French and Scandinavian material of Philip Pacey.
The Library was founded in the 1950’s by NGRS members Dr Peter Lee and his wife Sheila and was housed for many years in the Lee’s home in Golcar, near Huddersfield. By 2007 it had far outgrown that space, and the NGRS was fortunate in being able to lease two rooms from the Moseley Railway Trust at its Apedale Railway Museum site near Newcastle-under-Lyme, where it remains.
The Library has again outgrown the original space but has expanded into a large climate managed shipping container, with plans in due course and in cooperation with the Moseley Railway Trust to move to a new purpose built building close by the current library, the foundations for which have been laid.
There are currently four NGRS members, Iain Logie, Martin O’Keeffe, Stephen Teather, and Peter Wilson, who look after the Library (more volunteers are always very welcome!). Access is usually available on Sundays for most of the year, or by appointment at other times, when the MRT site is open. There are also occasional members’ general open days.
The Library is happy to deal with enquiries by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post; our team are very well informed on narrow gauge subjects and also have private collections and knowledge they can consult. Alas, because of pressure of time we cannot do detailed research, but are always happy to point enquirers in the right direction or help them interrogate the Library.
In 2017 a Society volunteer (Kim Bailey) working for the Library undertook the epic task of scanning our entire back catalogue of in-house publications (Narrow Gauge News and The Narrow Gauge) a searchable .pdf format, right back to the first issues produced in 1951.
As the wealth of our published material has grown, the task of maintaining a meaningful published index has become problematical. Searchable .pdfs present an alternative resource. Most pc’s and laptops will globally search a folder of .pdfs for specific content (once downloaded).
In 2018 the Board of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Ltd. resolved to make the first one hundred issues of our two publications (excluding ‘Special Issues’) available to our membership, as well as to the wider narrow gauge railway fraternity. The files are a collection of PDF files and you will need to ascertain how best to globally search within the multiple files as the online collection grows. Some software will globally search multiple files within folders, others require issues to be 'spliced' together into a single file. Basic advice on one possible route is here :
The photographs, maps, drawings, and printed matter contained within these files are not necessarily the copyright of the Society.
No further publication, including copying or distribution, by any means may be made of any information contained therein without the written consent of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Librarian.
This platform is intended as an initial step to put more library resources online. Feedback from N.G.R.S. members and the general public alike are welcomed.
Archive files (Section 1) and photographs (section 11) are being progressively scanned, so that they will become readily available and searchable digitally, and available to members by email or by file transfers or on a CD. If the file you wish you borrow electronically has not been scanned, we will scan it and should be able to send the information within a month. If the material you require is not in the Library, we can sometimes obtain it from elsewhere.
The Narrow Gauge Railway Society research files have been progressively compiled since 1951 to protect original information for future generations of researchers, as well as keeping the information available where postal costs would have proved otherwise. Our long term project to copy this material digitally will enhance that objective.
Electronic copies of the files may be distributed either by email or CD-ROM and are distributed to members for the purposes of personal research and in accordance with the aims of the Society.
MAIN LIBRARY DETAILS
Located at ‘MOSELEY RAILWAY TRUST’ premises at Apedale, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Directions to the site can be found at : www.avlr.org.uk/
The N.G.R.S. Library holds periodic open days for all members and these are advertised in ‘Narrow Gauge News’ and through the NGRS Social Media of the ‘Yahoo’ web group and Facebook.
The N.G.R.S Library system is currently arranged as follows:
Section 1: Archive Files (some non-loan)
Section 2: N.G.R.S. Publications
Section 3: Archive Collections (non-loan)
Section 4: Catalogues (non-loan)
Section 5: B.L.C. / I.R.S. Publications
Section 6: Books (loan and non-loan)
Section 7: Journals & Periodicals (non-loan)
Section 8: Timetables
Section 9: Railway Maps
Section 10: Alan Keef Drawings Collection (non-loan as fragile)
Section 11: Photographs – prints, negatives, and transparencies
Section 12: Film/Video Collection: Archivist: Mike Jackson (see contacts: Film & Video Archivist)
LIBRARY SEARCH FACILITY The direct search facility will be reinstated soon.
GIFTS AND BEQUESTS We are always ready and very grateful to receive (and can often collect) any material of interest, whether by bequest, gift or purchase. Have you something of interest that could be useful to the Library? Please do think of us as a safe place for the long term future of your narrow gauge railway material.
LIBRARY OPEN DAYS: advertised in NGN, on the NGRS website and on the NGRS Facebook site. Some open days will coincide with steaming dates on the Apedale Valley Light Railway.
Finally, three big votes of thanks should go to :
To all the N.G.R.S. members past and current who have gifted such a huge and generous wealth of information for future researchers to access,
To member Kim Ward-Bailey and others who laboriously undertook so much scanning work on behalf of our Society Library,
And to those who work or have worked so hard to give the NGRS such a very fine Library, a class leading resource on the narrow gauge.
We look forward to assisting you in the library soon.
The Society maintains an extensive library of DVDs covering NG & miniature subjects for loan to members or area group meetings.
We ask borrowers to please return all items promptly (maximum loan period four weeks) and when returning items, please include payment for the outward postage plus £2.00 to cover the cost of packing each parcel. Please treat the Society property with great care - remember that much of it is difficult or impossible to replace.
The aims of the N.G.R.S Video Library are:
1) To collect films, videotapes or DVDs (privately made or commercially available) on subjects relevant to the NGRS.
2) To make this material available to Society Members in the form of individual loans or shows to Area Groups, subject to any conditions imposed by the Copyright owners.
An important function of the library is to provide a safe repository for non-commercial film or video footage which might otherwise be lost or destroyed, such has often occurred after the photographer has passed away. To this end the Society will be happy to accept such material, either on a permanent basis or on temporary loan to permit a video copy to be made of such material. A VHS video copy or DVD of any such material can be supplied to the donor on request. The Video Librarian should, however, be contacted before any material is sent.
A limited selection of commercial programs may be acquired, either by purchase, 'Review' copies sent by publishers, or by donation from Society members, and these programs will be available on loan, where permission has been given by the Copyright holders.
If you have any queries, information, or possible additional material, please contact the Video Librarian enclosing a SAE if a postal reply is required.
To this end the Society will be happy to accept such material, either on a permanent basis or on temporary loan to permit a video copy to be made of such material. A VHS video copy or DVD of any such material can be supplied to the donor on request.
Other Video Tapes
The Society holds a small number of other films, mostly from Commercial publishers, which cannot be loaned to individual members or groups until permission has been obtained from the Copyright holders. Negotiations are in hand & these will be added to the 'loan' list when such permission is obtained.
DISCLAIMER : We make every effort to ensure all the details on our web site are correct and up to date. However we take no responsibility for loss due to inaccuracies on these pages.