The museum was founded in 1979 by the Southern Industrial History Centre Trust and has previously been known as the Amberley Working Museum, Amberley Chalk Pits Museum or plain Amberley Museum.
The museum is a registered charity and has the support of an active Friends organisation.
It is a 36 acre (146,000 m²) open air museum, next to Amberley railway station, 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
- BT Connected Earth telecommunications exhibition
- EDF Energy Electricity Hall
- Vintage Wireless and Communications exhibition and Amateur radio station
- Amberley Museum Railway: a narrow gauge railway (2 ft (60 cm) gauge) 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 engines only one is currently operational but a further three are undergoing overhauls of one form or another.
- Southdown Bus garage, a reconstructed 1920s depot housing working buses chiefly from the local operator Southdown Motor Services based on the collection of the Southdown Omnibus Trust
- Wheelwright's Shop, from Horsham
- Machine Shop
- Ironmonger's shop
- 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 metal foundry
- Brickyard drying shed, late 19th century, from Petersfield, Hampshire
- Concrete Exhibition
- Fairmile Café, a 1930s roadside building partly housing the Ted Page collection of domestic and agricultural artefacts
- Dover Cottage Pump House, from Arundel, and water pumping display
- Stationary engine shed, and Municipal engine house from Littlehampton
- Fire station, reconstruction of a 1950s building
- Toll bridge hut, from Littlehampton swing bridge
- Printing Shop
- Brewery and Laundry (the latter with Victorian equipment from Warnham)
- 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, caning (furniture) and the work of the blacksmith and the stained glass maker. Special events are held regularly.
Southdown Bus collection
On open days the Southdown Bus collection operates bus rides throughout the day. The collection of vehicles is listed below.
- Operational Buses
- 1914 Southdown Tilling Stevens Open Top 41 seater IB-552. (Restricted use because the bus is fragile)
- Replica 1938 Shelvoke and Drewry Tramocar BP9822 Single Deck. (Small bus generally used at quiet times)
- 1927 Southdown Dennis 30cwt Single Deck UF 1517.
- 1931 Southdown Leyland Titan TD1 Double Deck 50 seater UF 4673.
- 1931 Southdown Leyland Titan TD1 Double Deck 50 seater UF 7428.
- 1929 Southdown Leyland Titan TD1 Open Top 51 seater UF 4813.
- 1927 Thames Valley Traction Tilling Stevens Single Deck MO 9324.
- Buses undergoing repair or restoration
- 1922 Southdown Leyland N Type Open Top 51 seater CD 5125. (Undergoing repairs)
- 1923 Southdown Tilling Stevens Single Deck CD 4867. (Chassis only, planned to be fitted with a raked charabanc type body)
- 1930 Southdown Tilling Stevens B10 A2 Single Deck 31 seater UF 6805.
Amberley Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Collection
- Main article: Amberley Museum Railway
The museum host various themed events during the year each highlighting part of the collection and supplemented by outside visiting exhibitors.
Some of the exhibits from the museum visit other events in the south coast area and the Great Dorset Steam Fair to promote the museum.
- Arundel Museum and Heritage Centre
- List of museums in West Sussex
- List of British railway museums
- British narrow gauge railways
- 278722 AMBERLEY CHALK PITS MUSEUM, Registered Charity no. 278722 at the Charity Commission
- Amberley Working Museum (2005). Amberley Working Museum.
- Dean, Ian (1981 Summer), "Chalk Pits Museum", Yesteryear Transport (9): 12–15.
- Owned by the Pepper Family for 30 years Times 24/2/04 Obituary of Ginny Fiennes (née Pepper)
- Aldsworth, Fred (1979). Limeburning and the Amberley Chalkpits. Chichester: West Sussex County Council. ISBN 0-900800-33-X.
- "Connected Earth". Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Gordon, Bob (1981). One Hundred Years of Electricity Supply 1881-1981. Hove: Seeboard.
- Amberley Chalk Pits Museum (1984). Industrial Railways of the South-East. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 0-906520-09-6.
- Dean, Ian (1984). Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications. ISBN 0-85263-752-7.
- Cork, Gerry (2001). The Amberley Museum Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Collection. Amberley Museum.
- "Narrow Gauge and Industrial Railway Collection". Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Smithers, Mark (1995 September), "The Railway Treasures of Amberley", Railway World 57(664): 33–5.
- Smith, D.H. (1983-4), "Brockham Metamorphosis — at the Chalk Pits Museum", Narrow Gauge (101): 1–6.
- Townsend, J.L. (1980). Townsend Hook and the Railways of the Dorking Greystone Lime Co. Ltd. Betchworth: Brockham Museum. ISBN 0-9504720-4-2.
- Smith, David H. (1989). The Groudle Glen Railway. Brighton: Plateway Press. ISBN 1-871980-00-X.
- Southdown Omnibus Trust (c.2004). The Amberley Collection.
- "Southdown Bus Garage Project". Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Lamb, Philip (2003 July), "Before Mary Was Queen", Bus & Coach Preservation 5(8): 6–11.
- "Crash Gearbox: the website of the Southdown Omnibus Trust". Retrieved on 2007-05-13.
- Fermer, Hugh (1995). Machine Tools: a history 1540-1986. Amberley Museum. ISBN 0-951932-91-8.
- Museum website
- Photographs and Description
- Amberley Narrow Gauge Railway
- Museum photo gallery, mostly buses and trains
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