The company was created in 1848 as an amalgamation of the North Midland, Midland Counties, and Birmingham & Derby Junction Railways. In the 1860s it successfully sought to change its status as a provincial company to a truly national one with extensions northwards over the Settle & Carlisle line and southwards to its splendid London terminus at St Pancras.
The device combines the arms of Birmingham, Derby, Bristol, Leicester, Lincoln and Leeds with the wyvern of Mercia as crest. It used the wyvern on everything from buildings and bridges down to china, cutlery and chamber pots in its hotels.
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