kids encyclopedia robot

Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Amberley Museum
Amberley Museum Logo.png
1936 Bedford WTL.jpg
Motor Engineers, recreating the 1930s at Amberley
Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 420: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Former name Amberley Working Museum, Amberley Chalk Pits Museum
Established 1979
Location Amberley, West Sussex, England
Type Industrial heritage
Accreditation Association of Independent Museums, Museum Accreditation
Visitors 60,000 per year
Nearest car park Amberley Museum Car Park

Amberley Museum is an open-air industrial heritage museum at Amberley, near Arundel in West Sussex, England. The museum is owned and operated by Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, a not-for-profit company and registered charity, and has the support of an active Friends organisation. The items in the Museums collection are held by The Amberley Museum Trust

The museum was founded in 1978 by the Southern Industrial History Centre Trust and has previously been known as the Amberley Working Museum, Amberley Chalk Pits Museum, and Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre. It is located within historic chalk quarries. Chalk was extracted and processed for lime on site for more than 100 years, and the museum still houses a number of its original lime kilns. In addition, holdings and exhibitions at the museum cover a diversity of industrial and local heritage collections, including narrow gauge railways, local bus services, and a multitude of light and rural industrial subjects.


The open-air museum is 36-acre (146,000 m2), located next to Amberley railway station and dedicated to the industrial heritage of South East England and with a special interest in aspects of the history of communications and transport.

The museum is sited in a former chalk quarry where the chalk was converted into lime for use in mortar and cement, and remaining on site are several kilns, including a De Witt set, and associated buildings including offices, bagging shed and locomotive shed.

Also to be seen is the quarry tunnel, which appeared as Mainstrike Mine in the James Bond film A View to a Kill. Additional buildings have been relocated or replicated on the site and exhibition halls added. The natural history and geology of the site can be seen from a nature trail.

Exhibits and collections

Wheelwright's Shop
Seeboard Electricity Pavilion, Amberley Working Museum - - 1016145
Electricity Pavilion
Sawing Logs- Amberley Working Museum - - 722065
Sawing Logs at the timber yard

The site hosts a range and exhibitions and collections not all of which are opened every day.

  • Connected Earth telecommunications exhibition
  • Electricity Hall
  • Machine Shop
  • Wheelwright's Shop, from Horsham
  • Vintage Wireless and Communications exhibition and Amateur radio station
  • Ockenden's Ironmonger's shop, from Littlehampton
  • Timber yard and Steam crane
  • Village Garage, a reconstructed 1930s automobile repair shop
  • Paviors Hall of Road Making, located in a 19th-century iron-framed industrial building relocated from Horsham
  • Cycle Exhibition
  • Rural telephone exchange, incorporating 1940s equipment from Coolham
  • Arundel Gin Building, housing a plumbing display
  • Brickyard drying shed, late 19th century, from Petersfield, Hampshire
  • Fairmile Café, a 1930s roadside.
  • Dover Cottage Pump House, from Arundel, and water pumping display
  • Stationary engine shed, and Municipal engine house from Littlehampton
  • Fire Station, reproduction of a typical 1950s building completed in 2008 and now housing several roadworthy historic fire engines and an impressive collection of displays and exhibits primarily relating to the history of fire-fighting in Sussex.
  • Toll bridge hut, from Littlehampton swing bridge
  • Working Printing Workshop
  • Cobbler's shop, with equipment from Bognor Regis
  • Hall of Tools, with associated demonstrations by the Tools and Trades History Society


Crafts demonstrated on site include woodturning, broom-making, walking stick-making and the work of the blacksmith and potters. Special events are held regularly.

Rail and bus collections

Amberley Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Collection

Amberley Museum (28235095152)
Narrow gauge railway

The Amberley Museum Railway is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway and railway exhibition hall devoted to British industrial narrow gauge railways. There are 45 locomotives, with 8 being steam powered, 29 internal combustion and 4 battery electric, and around 80 items of rolling stock, chiefly goods wagons, based largely on the collection of the former Brockham Museum (relocated here in 1982). There is special interest in railway material from the Dorking Greystone Lime Company and also from the Groudle Glen Railway in the Isle of Man. Of the 8 steam locos, two are currently operational.

Southdown Bus collection

Amberley Museum (32600945964)
Southdown Leyland Cub No. 524 passes the Tool and Trades History Society Building

The collection completed by a reconstructed 1920s Southdown Bus garage. The depot houses working buses chiefly from the local operator Southdown Motor Services based on the collection of the Southdown Omnibus Trust

On open days the Southdown Bus collection operates bus rides throughout the day. The collection of vehicles is listed below.

Operational buses
  • 1914 Worthing Motor Services/Southdown Tilling Stevens open-top 41-seater IB 552. (Restricted use because the bus is fragile)
  • 1922 Southdown Leyland N Type open-top 51-seater CD 5125.
  • 1927 Southdown Dennis 30 cwt single-deck UF 1517.
  • 1928 Sunderland Corporation Leyland Lion LT1 single-deck BR 7132 (Privately Owned).
  • 1930 Southdown Tilling Stevens B10 A2 single-deck 31-seater UF 6805.
  • 1931 Southdown Leyland Titan TD1 double-deck 50-seater UF 6473.
  • 1931 Southdown Leyland Titan TD1 double-deck 50-seater UF 7428.
  • 1937 Southdown Leyland Cub single-deck 24-seater ECD 524.
  • Replica 1938 Shelvoke and Drewry Worthing Tramocar BP9822 single-deck. (Small bus generally used at quiet times)
Buses undergoing repair or restoration
  • 1923 Southdown Tilling Stevens single-deck CD 4867. (Chassis only, planned to be fitted with a raked charabanc-type body)