Museum looks forward to a season of celebration for 40th year

A former Worthing Motor Services bus from 1914, one of the vehicles used for rides at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre today

Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre is preparing for a season of celebration to mark its 40th year.

Set in 36 acres of the South Downs National Park, the museum is dedicated to the industrial history of the south coast and is home to a wealth of exhibits, knowledge and heritage from the region.

The gathering of historic transport in 1978, a showcase for the museum prior to its opening

The idea came in the early 1970s and after several years of planning, it officially opened in May 1979 as Amberley Chalk Pits Museum.

It is located 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 then lay derelict until the museum was developed. The original kilns and other associated buildings, including offices, bagging shed and locomotive shed, are still on display today.

Established to reflect the history of working life in the region, the museum aims to show how changes in technology have affected people’s lives, with exhibits from around the mid-1800s right up to the present day.

The Autumn Historic Vehicle Gathering on October 8, 2017

The first big event was a gathering of historic transport in 1978, designed as a showcase for the museum prior to its opening.

From this, the annual Autumn Historic Transport Gathering was born and its 40th anniversary will be celebrated on October 7 this year.

The museum now hosts more than 50 events each season, such as classic car shows, rail galas and children’s activity days.

The museum opens for the season on Wednesday, March 7, and will be open daily until Sunday, October 28. For more information on events, or the education programmes, visit

Celebrations include a competition running throughout the 2018 season, for a chance to win a family annual membership for 2019 and the chance to join in the 40th birthday celebrations on the late May bank holiday next year.

To enter, share your favourite memories of Amberley Museum over the last 40 years. There are three categories, favourite memory from a past visit, most memorable event you attended and most memorable school trip. Send an email to with a short description and the images attached.

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