Title ID 7236Collection ID876
Title[Amberley: A Working Museum Part One]
CollectionB. C. Suter
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeWorking Life Transport
KeywordsLabour Industry Buildings Education Outings Motor Vehicles Trains Transport Visual Arts Workers Rural Areas Railways Passenger Vehicles Local History Cultural Heritage Trades
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionB. C. Suter
CameraB. C. Suter
NarratorB. C. Suter
ParticipantsDon; Audrey Stevens
FormatColour Sound
Duration25 min. 47 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Part One [?] of a documentary showing the sights and sounds of Amberley Museum, its working machinery demonstrated by the people volunteering at the site, and by the objects, equipment and machines on display. The film was produced in 1997 by amateur film-maker B. C. Suter, who narrates the film.


The first part of a documentary showing Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre. The film starts part way through an illustrated description of the workings of a bottle Kiln. '...To treat the lime, a fire was lit at the bottom of a bottle-shaped kiln,' explains Suter, whose narration continues throughout. A diagram of the kiln, where coal and lime is loaded from the top and shovelled out from the draw holes, is shown. 'Now to the audio-visual centre to find out more about the working history of the museum's site".

The film shows 'the main area of the museum, with a large queue for the bus at the bus shelter', where children and their teachers stand together waiting for a heritage vehicle. The commentary states 'the 1920 Southdown Leyland N type bus leaves for a trip around the site area and up to Brockham'. Other visitors sit on benches dotted around the site. The Dando wind water pump, from Pulborough Station, dominates the scene. The museum's director, Robert Taylor, speaks to camera: 'Amberley Museum was founded in 1979 to preserve the industrial history of South East England. We hope that you will find a visit to us both informative and enjoyable.' The newly restored 1914 Tilling Stevens petrol electric double-decker is also seen. Groups of visitors sit beside the small pump house building. Steps lead up to the clay pip maker's shop and lime kilns, the white pit and Paviours museum.

'How were wooden tyres fitted on to iron cart wheels?,' asks the film-maker, 'Answer: circular synching platforms!' The equipment is seen and process explained by Suter. The ironmonger is shown at work, curling pieces of iron work. David Cooper's pipe making shop is visited next, where he makes clay pipes using original moulds. Mr. Cooper explains how the pipes are made, with encouragement from the film-maker, taking a pinch of clay. Once rolled out, he puts a wire up the stem of the pipe, bends the end over to fit the mould, pushes the clay into the mould before putting the two halves into the press. He trims the excess clay off and opens the mould to reveal a clay pipe. Some of the pipes are seen on display, which visitors can buy on their visit. Views then show a selection of engines in a locomotive shed.

Tom Parker works at the print shop, drawing a spitfire in great detail, then produced as a metal dye by a specialist. At the print shop, prints are on display for the visitors. Printing machines include the Colombian Eagle of the Victorian era. Smaller printing machines, used in the home and on the railways, are on display. Mr. Parker uses the Colombian Eagle press, placing the spitfire block into the wooden block, adding ink before placing the paper squarely on top and winding the press down to make the print. Another worker sits at the Linotype hot metal machine, examining the typeset before it is tidied up and cleaned. Audrey Stevens demonstrates copperplate printing, inking the plate, wiping off the surface ink with a ball of scrim and a piece of tissue paper. Once on the press, she places a piece of damp paper and three layers of woollen blankets over the inked plate, later showing the finished print to the camera.

The metal machine shop contains a drawing office, adding machine, easels and drawing boards. The main workshop full of machines, includes the metal cutting lathes. The metal cutting lathe is demonstrated by a worker at the museum, cutting a new sleeve for a railway axle. The metal planing machine is seen and heard, working noisily in the workshop. "The machines are run from a flat belt line shafting to one large motor"; this is followed by a sequence of shots showing large traction engines, road rollers and smaller engines at work generating electricity for domestic use. A worker keeps the current and voltage steady at the control panel.

Chalky, the museum cat, takes a nap in the sun. A worker demonstrates a traction engine to a group of children. Another group look into the boat builder's shop through the doorway, where Don is working. A photograph of a boat under construction is shown. Don puts the finishing touches to the boat, using a screwdriver to drive screws into the wood.

Wide shots show Amberley narrow gauge railway station, a single platform at the back of the Wireless and Communications Exhibition. A train makes the half mile journey to Brockham, between the woods and the white cliffs. Passengers wave to the camera from the carriage as they pass along the track. A partially loaded diesel train leaves Brockham Station on its way back to Amberley. A group of school children rush to board the train at Amberley station, where the "guard gives the off".

Inside the Wireless Telegraph and Communications exhibition, shots show a large display of transmitting radio sets and equipment, the museum's own [amateur radio?] transmitter and a "mock up of the inside of a World War Two Avro Lancaster bomber showing the navigator and pilot and their equipment. Additionally shots show, radio sets, amplifiers, tape recorders, loud speakers and accessories, Television sets and radiograms on display. An exterior view shows a rural telephone exchange building before the narrator says: 'Now onto the wood turners and timber yard...'


A colour still image taken from TID 7236, shows a double deck green and yellow livery Worthing Motor services Ltd. motor bus in the open driveway at the Amberley Working museum. The open top deck of the bus has a large Kirch clothing advert on the side.

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Related resources

See [Amberly Museum Part Two] ([ca. 1997]) for the second half of B. C. Suter's hour-long documentary, journeying through Amberley Working Museum, along with several other films that Suter may have intended to cut together as one longer film.