Ken Hoole study centre

Study centre opening times

April to September

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: 10:30am to 3:30pm
  • Friday: Closed

The study centre will be open on the third weekend of each month

  • Saturday/Sunday: 10:30am to 3:30pm

October to March

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday: 11am to 3pm
  • Friday: Closed

The study centre will be open on the third weekend of each month

  • Saturday/Sunday: 11am-3pm

Study centre appointments are available subject to staff training, holidays and illness.

Contact us

Collections & Learning Assistant
Head of Steam - Darlington Railway Museum
North Road Station
Tees Valley

01325 405542 (or contact the Museum reception on 01325 405060)

[email protected]


Family History Research

  • Research by Curator (personal use) - £30.00 (min 1 hour and max 3 hours)
  • Research by Curator (research agent) - £30.00 (min 1 hour and max 3 hours)
  • Short Research (up to 10 mins) - Free except for £5.00 minimum handling fee for scans, photocopies and postage

Historical Research

  • Current Affairs and Documentaries - £30.00 (min 1 hour and max 3 hours)
  • TV Dramas and Films - £30.00 (min 1 hour and max 3 hours)

Photocopying B&W

  • A4 - 20p
  • A4 - 40p

Photocopying Colour

  • A4 - 50p
  • A3 - £1.00

Personal digital reproduction (not photographic)

  • A4 - Free except for £5.00 minimum handling fee for svans

Personal photographic reproduction

  • Photographic reproduction: max size A4 (incl. non-commercial websites) - £6.50 (personal)
  • Plan Copies - £6.50 per metre

Day Photo Pass

  • £10.00

Commercial photographic reproduction

  • Small local charitable, educational including websites - £6.50
  • Local commercial including websites - £15.00
  • Books, Specialist Magazines, Journals and Newspapers including websites - £30.00 per image
  • Regional TV, Video, Film and DVD - £50.00
  • National, International. TV, Video, Film and DVD - £100.00

Postage and Packing

  • Up to A4 (in UK only) - Free except for £5.00 minimum handling fee
  • ‘Package’ size & outside UK delivery - Dependant on size and weight


The Enginemen and Firemen Registers are part of the John Mallon Collection. Please note this is not a complete list of all the information held in the Enginemen and Firemen Registers.

The North Eastern Railway Servants' Pension Society was established in 1907 and the Study Centre holds index cards for N.E.R. staff who joined the society.

A short biography compiled by Colin Foster

Ken Hoole (1916-1988) was a railway historian who made his name with over forty books and numerous magazine and newspaper articles. His lifelong concern was with the railways of north-eastern England and in particular, the North Eastern Railway Company, upon which he became a recognized authority.

He was born in Doncaster, but spent most of his life on the Yorkshire coast. His railway interests were kindled during his schooldays when he travelled from the family home in Bridlington to school at Hull. The locomotives that he saw during his daily journeys by train fascinated him, and he made friends with their crews.

After leaving school Ken joined the Post Office as a telephone engineer and his knowledge led him into radio security work during World War II. On return to civilian life he developed his railway interests and eventually became a full-time author specializing in the railways of the northeast. In pursuit of this he had an extensive network of like-minded friends, both amongst railway enthusiasts and professional railway men.

His wide knowledge was gained as much from his researches in railway company archives, as from talking to people who ran the railways and had intimate knowledge of their working. In 1961 he was one of the founder members of the North Eastern Railway Association, which was formed to further interest in the railway history of the northeast.

Ken built up an extensive reference library of railway books, documents and plans, and a comprehensive collection of photographs covering all aspects of railway working from locomotives and rolling stock to stations, signalling and infrastructure.