A new museum in Purbeck is set to finally open later today, one which has taken volunteers more than a decade to complete.
Called the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum, it stands as a great testament to the history of the region and is sure to offer a delightful day out for those staying in one of the country cottages in Dorset this summer.
Documenting the history of Purbeck Ball Clay mining, it stands on the site of old clay works that were demolished back in the 1970s at Norden, near Corfe Castle.
12 years in the making Volunteers who worked on the project are sure to be rejoicing about its opening, especially as it took 12 years of hard work for it to become a reality. The creation of the museum has been made possible thanks to a £100,000 EU grant from the Chalk and Cheese foundation, as well as further donations totalling to £40,000.
Purbeck Ball Clay has been used for thousands of years all over the world, most notably in the 27,000 ceramic tiles that made up the outer skin of NASA’s Space Shuttle. Its use in fine pottery is unprecedented, with figures suggesting that 80 per cent of all fine pottery ever produced in England contains Purbeck Ball Clay.
The site was partly opened to visitors in May last year and features a reconstruction of an underground mine tunnel, as well as a rebuilt clay trans-shipment building and a section of gauge railway. It will be officially opened later today (6 June) in a ceremony attended by Paul Atterbury, the ceramics expert for BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.
If you are already looking forward to a getaway in one of the region’s countryside holiday properties, be sure to come along to the museum and enjoy a great day of leaning about the Dorset’s mining heritage.