The woodturners at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre celebrated the official opening of their new building last week.
The group of craftspeople, made up of members of the West Sussex Woodturners, raised the funds to pay for the workshop over seven years.
Les Thorne, a local professional woodturner, opened the building on Sunday May 25.
He arrived in style, travelling through the Museum on a steam roller before speeches and cutting the ribbon into the new building, while the 85 invited guests applauded. Les unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion and turned a beautiful ash bowl on one of the lathes.
Well respected in his field, Les has a named range of tools and a collection of DVDs, regularly demonstrates for the West Sussex Woodturners and teaches across the globe.
The new 90 square metre workshop was designed and built over eight months by the woodturners themselves, with separate turning booths each with a large window so that the individual’s efforts can be seen by friends, colleagues and parents. The layout means electric lathe turning can easily be demonstrated.
The workshop was used with great success for the first time for Amberley Museum’s Santa Special days where under supervision hundreds of eager children and adults made and decorated small animal bodies and Christmas decorations. These hands on activity days were a major influence in the design of the building and there are plans for training courses and more work with Museum visitors.
Amberley Museum is a 36 acre site set in the South Downs National Park dedicated to industrial heritage, with communications and electricity exhibition halls, working printshop, stationary engines, lime kilns and more. Visitors can take a ride on the narrow gauge railway or historic bus.
The Museum is home to a variety of traditional craftspeople, such as the wheelwrights, blacksmith and potters, with a café, gift shop and nature trails. We open from mid March to October and hold many events ranging from children’s activity days to classic vehicle shows and the ever popular ale festival. Full details at www.amberleymuseum.co.uk
Report contributed by Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre.