On a recent family holiday in West Sussex recently I happened to visit the excellent Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre.
The whole site was interesting, more of which later. Of particular interest was a re-constructed Southdown Motor Bus Garage. Not only is it packed with all sorts of memorabilia, signs, equipment and spare parts (including 2 very old Leyland engines) but it also houses a fantastic collection of genuine Southdown Motor Buses from the 1920s.
Sadly none of them were active on the day of our visit but two steam vehicles were operating. A Marshall 8 ton steam roller was hauling a wagon fitted with bench seats around the site, giving free rides to visitors. Also present was a Sentinel S4 steam waggon. This is privately owned and is based at the Amberley Museum during the summer between visits to various rallies in the area.
The most fascinating displays were those which were presented by skilled, volunteer craftsmen. The printing works, engineering workshop – complete with working line shafting – and the woodworking ‘bodgers’ area were among my favourites. We spent a long time chatting to these amiable, knowledgable chaps and learned a lot about their respective crafts. I can highly recommend a visit!