We were supposed to start early today but it didn’t quite work out that way. I think we are quite tired from this week’s unremitting programme of excursions. Nor is it over yet as Tigger is making a courier run to Chesterfield tomorrow and I Will of course be going too.
We left home at about 9:30 and caught a bus to Kings Cross. While I went off to buy cheese baguettes on Kings Cross Station, where they are cheaper than in the more upmarket shops on St Pancras Station, Tigger continued thither to buy tickets for our trip.
The plan was to catch the Brighton train and change at London Bridge. The train was diverted, however, and missed London Bridge out altogether. We therefore stayed aboard to Three Bridges and changed there, catching the train for Amberley.
Have you heard of Amberley? Don’t feel too badly if you haven’t. Not many people have. As far as I can see, Amberley consists of a railway station, a bridge over the River Arun, some mobile homes and a clutch of pubs near the bridge. There may be more to it than that but if so, I have yet to find it.
So why did so many people beat a path to Amberley today? There was once a chalk quarry here and a lime burning works with its own railway joining onto the main line but these workings are long gone. What brings people to here today is the Amberly Working Museum that occupies the site.
What you will see if you come here depends of the day you come. If you are lucky, some of the artisans – such as the blacksmith or the potter – will be working, demonstrating their skills, selling their wares and perhaps taking commissions.
You will also find old buildings, either restored or in the process of being restored, some native to the site and some that have been carefully demolished elsewhere, brought here and lovingly rebuilt, like the Fairmile Cafe.
There is plenty to interest the technically-minded as well with large exhibits showing the history of power generation or the telephone service. There are many vehicles from cars and vans to buses and railway rolling stock. You can ride around the site on the miniature steam train, an old bus and, today, a cart pulled by a steam roller. Rides are free but donations are accepted.
Special exhibitions are also held and today it was veteran and vintage motor cycles. Owners had come from far and wide, bringing their precious machines. According to the published programme, there were 86 entries.
As it was a bank holiday, the place was crowded. It might be better to go at another time though there might then be fewer living exhibits active.
There is a cafe called the Limeburners’ Restaurant where we had a late lunch. By 4 pm, we were tired and ready to go home. Accordingly, we caught the 4:19 train to Victoria. The station, happily, is right next to the museum and connected to it by a pathway that used to be the chalk chary railway line.
Below are three of the photos I took in and around the museum.