South East News

40 years of Amberley Museum

Set in 36 acres of the South Downs National Park, you will find a Museum dedicated to the Industrial history of the South coast. Celebrating its 40th season in 2018, the Museum is home to a wealth of exhibits, knowledge and heritage of the region.

The idea of the Museum started in the early 1970’s and after several years of planning it officially opened on the late Bank holiday weekend in May 1979, as the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum. Subsequently becoming the Amberley Working Museum, it is now known as Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre.
The Museum is situated in a former chalk quarry, which was once one of the largest limeworks in the region. By 1876 John Pepper and Son had taken over the business and the family continued to run the site until its closure in the 1960s. The site lay derelict until the idea of the Museum was born in the early 1970s. The kilns and other associated buildings including offices, bagging shed and locomotive shed are still on display at the Museum today. Established to reflect the history of the working life in the region, the Museum aims to show how changes in technology have affected people’s lives. Not being set in a particular period of time, the Museum houses exhibits from around the mid-1800s up to the present day.
In 1978, the former quarry site hosted its first event, with a gathering of historic transport as a showcase for the Museum prior to its opening in May 1979. From this the annual ‘Autumn Historic Transport Gathering’ was born, which celebrates its 40th anniversary on the 7th October 2018. Today the museum hosts over 50 events each season, from Classic Car shows, Rail Gala’s and children’s activity days. The Museum is open 7th March to 28th October 2018. For more information on events, or the education programmes, please visit their website
As part of the Museum’s 40th season celebrations, they are running a competition throughout the 2018 season. For your chance to win a family annual membership for the 2019 season, and to join in the 40th Birthday celebrations, on the late May bank holiday in 2019. Share your favourite memories of Amberley Museum over the last 40 years.
There are three categories for the competition:
·         Favourite memory from a past visit.
·         Most memorable event you attended.
·         School days – most memorable school trip.

To enter the competition, please send an email to and attach any images of your memory with a short description of why you enjoyed your visit. Make sure you supply your address and contact details along with your entry. Please visit the Museum website for more information on the terms and conditions of the competition The Museum will use your images throughout the season, and will display as many as possible at the 40th birthday celebration in 2019.