Category:Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre

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  Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre  coordinates: 50.89808237253016, -0.5395587544697114

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Amberley Museum is a museum and industrial heritage centre to the North of Littlehampton and Arundel. Housed in a disused lime quarry, the site already had a quantity of industrial buildings and equipment, and these have been supplemented with additional workshops and structures either moved or reconstructed from other locations.

The site features a small railway, a collection of Southdown Buses, and a nature trail. The nearest public transport by rail is Amberley Station.

2016 Leaflet information

The Museum's unique collection of listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments, many of which were rescued from the Sussex area, include the Arundel gin building, Hove ticket office and wheelwrights' shop.

Visit the De Witt kilns and quarry buildings and see the 'Life and Lime at Amberley' exhibition to discover more about working life at the chalk pits. The narrow gauge railway and bus services provide free transport to explore the 36-acre site, offering many opportunities to get up close to commercial vehicles, rail and road steam engines, our standard gauge line, buses and more. We aim to have both the train and bus running every day we are open but due to the age of the vehicles this is not always possible.

Age old skills are kept alive by craftspeople and volunteers working to traditional methods. Meet the woodturners, wheelwrights, potter, blacksmith, printers and greenwood workers. We aim to have at least three crafts demonstrated every day we are open but this is dependent on the schedules of the independent craftspeople. If there is a particular craft you would like to see, please contact the office in advance of your visit.

Amberley Museum resides in the heart of the South Downs National Park with outstanding wildlife and nature trails which provide the perfect setting for walks and picnics. Be warned, the Hillside Trail is very steep in places and not recommended for pushchairs even in good weather. The view from the top is reward in itself but depending on the time of year you may see orchids and pirds of prey. In bad weather it may be closed for safety reasons.

Transport Exhibits:

6 – Road Steam, Stationary Engine Shed & Humphrey's Barn
These engines were used to drive farm and workshop machinery before electric power. The barn is the oldest building on site.
20 – Hove Ticket Office
Built in 1894, this building was erected at Amberley in 2006.
21 – Betchworth Hall
This building houses narrow gauge railway locomotives and rolling stock which originally operated in Betchworth Quarry in Surrey.
23 – Narrow Gauge Railway Exhibition & Railway Workshop
Narrow gauge track and rolling stock are exhibited here, with displays about their use. The workshop sometimes opens for special events.
24 – Railway Exhibition & Conservation Hall
This building, initially funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, houses a range of narrow gauge exhibits and provides facilities for preservation work.
30 – Village Garage & Cycle Shop
A replica 1930s garage, petrol station and cycle repair shop. In the garage is a fabric covered Austin 7, along with equipment and tools of the period.
31 – Southdown Bus Garage
This replica 1920s garage incorporates components from a number of redundant bus depots. It is home to a unique collection of restored vintage buses and an exhibition outlining the history of Southdown Motor Services.
34 – Fire Station
The Fire Station is built to a 1950's style and houses a number of period tenders and an exhibition on the history of the Fire Service.
39 – Paviors' Museum of Roadmaking
An exhibition on the development of roads and their construction through related vehicles, machinery, street furniture and display boards. The 1842 cast iron structure, originally a tanyard drying shed, also houses bicycles.
40 – Storrington Bus Garage
This building, previously from Storrington, housed buses overnight after their last journey of the day.

Up to date information on the Museum's exhibits and events can be found on our website, and the very latest news appears on our Facebook page where you can also sign up for - - our mailing list.

Trade and Craft Exhibits:

1 – Bagging Shed & No 1 Kilns
The Museum shop was originally a bagging shed for lime produced by the adjacent bottle kilns.
2 – Peppers' Office & Hayloft Function Room
Originally the hayloft next to the office block built in the 1880s, this now houses a 1940s style office and function room.
3 – Ironmonger's Shop
A replica shop showing what an ironmonger of the early 20th century sold.
4 – Machine Shop
Working machine tools from the late 19th century onwards.
5 – Print Workshop
Originally part of a stable block like no. 3 and 4, it now houses historic printing equipment. Items printed at Amberley are for sale.
9 – Craftsperson's Hut
A workshop for a traditional craftsperson.
10 – Tools and Trades History Society Building u
TATHS exists to further the understanding of hand tools and their use. The exhibition represents a range of trades from cabinet maker to silversmith.
11 – Arundel Gin Building
Formerly used by Penfolds of Arundel, from 1800 this probably housed an animal-powered mill for crushing linseed oil from flax.
12 – Nature Hut
This houses an exhibition on the natural history of the site.
13 – Craftsperson's Hut
A workshop for a traditional craftsperson.
14 – Steam Crane & Timber Yard
The main exhibit in the timberyard is the steam crane. Also in this area are saw benches and other machinery used in a typical timberyard.
15 – Greenwood Village
A setting showing how people used to live and work with wood. Traditional craftspeople demonstrate their skills, when available.
16 – Life and Lime Exhibition
The history of the local people involved in the quarrying of chalk and burning of lime on the Museum site.
17 – De Witt Kilns
This Scheduled Ancient Monument was built in about 1905 and later converted to a series of bottle kilns.
18 – Pottery
This working pottery produces traditional earthenware. Work can be viewed at different stages of production and is available for sale and to order.
19 – Brickyard Drying Shed
This drying shed, built in the late 1800s, came from Nightingale's Brickyard at Petersfield and houses bricks, tiles, brick making tools and machinery.
22 – Quarry Tunnel aka Mainstrike Mine
A disused quarry tunnel originally giving access by dumper truck to a smaller pit. It featured in the James Bond film "A View To a Kill".
28 – Wheelwrights' Yard
Houses the timber, stores and vehicles awaiting restoration.
29 – Wheelwrights' Shop
The wheelwrights' shop was the premises of Messrs Spooner and Gordon and moved here from its original site in Horsham. cartwheels at different stages of construction are displayed with tools of the trade.
32 – Craftsperson's Hut
A workshop for a traditional craftsperson.
33 – Fairmile Café
A rare example of a local 1930s roadside café, relocated to Amberley from Fairmile Bottom in 2002. Recently returned to a functioning café, open on special event days.
37 – No 2 Kilns
These lime kilns were the last to operate on site. The depth of the kilns can be seen from a walkway at the top.
38 – Friends Centre
A space used for meetings and events.
41 – No 1 Kilns Upper Level
Chalk and coal were tipped into the kilns from this level.
42 – Bagmender's Shed & Cobblers
These buildings date from about 1900. The bagmender's shed now houses the contents of a cobbler's shop from Bognor Regis.
43 – Locomotive Shed & Smithy
The locomotive shed, built about 1900, housed one of the standard gauge railway locomotives used at the quarry. The smithy was used for the maintenance of the equipment and is still a working forge.

Technlogy Exhibits:

7 – Wireless Exhibition
This collection includes a variety of domestic, amateur and professional communications equipment. The amateur radio station is sometimes in operation.
8 – Rural Telephone Exchange
This building houses a typical rural automatic exchange installed by the Post Office in the 1930s.
25 – Electricity Hall
This exhibition tells the story from discovery to generation and distribution of electricity.
It displays a wide collection of domestic electrical appliances.
26 – Connected Earth Telecommunications Exhibition
This gallery reflects the history of telecommunications through hands-on and traditional displays. It is part of a nationwide connected Earth project founded by BT, involving other museums and the Internet.
27 – Municipal Engine House
The large 1929 Robey oil engine is housed in a reconstructed building which originally stood in Littlehampton.
35 – Water Pumping Display
A 1910 Duke and Ockenden wind pump and working hand pumps.
36 – Dover Cottage Pump House
Originally from the Norfolk estate near Arundel it now houses a 1923 petrol paraffin engine and well pump.
44 – Brockham Shelter
Replica platform shelter built by Museum volunteers.
45 – Bodgers Camp
A replica camp showing how 19th century pole lathe turners lived and worked. Traditional skills are demonstrated on occasion.
46 – Woodturners' Workshop
This workshop, operated by the West Sussex Woodturners, demonstrates a range of historic lathes and tools. Hand-turned objects are for sale.

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