Site Home

History of Ball Clay Mining
Museum Purpose
Museum Progress
Museum Location
Museum Finance
Museum Volunteers
Museum Wants
Mineral Extraction in Purbeck
Support  the Museum -
 The easyway



The Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum

The Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum Group was formed to consider establishing a permanent mining museum at Norden to exhibit artifacts primarily connected to the mining of ball clay in Dorset and other significant minerals extracted in Purbeck, which were intimately connected with the growth and history of the Swanage Railway. The aim of the museum is to enhance the visitor experience when visiting the Swanage Railway and to record the History of Ball Clay extraction in the local area.

The museum is predominantly an outdoor educational facility and is based on redundant land adjacent to the park and ride and Station. The desire has been to re create a working environment typical of the clay mining industry, including a short operational narrow gauge demonstration line around the Norden site. This  provides moving interest using an industrial diesel loco (or steam loco when available) and a set of skip wagons. This area also permits the display of a static rake of mining rolling stock. 

A typical Ball Clay drift mine has been reconstructed and Norden No.7 mine Transhipment building (donated by Imerys) has been dismantled and has been re-erected at the Park & Ride site. The building is the centre focus for the Mineral Museum and permanent location for all exhibits.

Before the Museum opened, many people visited the free Entrance Display at Norden which includes the 1920's Foreman's Office. A significant number have learnt for the first time what Ball Clay is and that one of the few places that it exists is in Purbeck. Many ex Clay workers have visited the museum and given their advice, photographs and donated personal equipment. We are extremely grateful to them.

Roy Welsh (Clayworker and son of Midge Welsh Foreman) with his son Keith and grandson meets Brian Langdown

The future development of the museum will be the erection of a building capable of housing artifacts that include very old books, artwork and rare items of clothing etc. in a controlled atmosphere. The museum also need an education centre.  It will look to the construction of a passenger railway line to take visitors around the nearby clay pits. All this will enable people to learn of the history of one of Britain's important industries that change the shape of the world we live in.

Join us and help recreate this view:

'Tiny' the Lewin of Poole 0-4-0T engine crossing the Skew Arch bridge at Norden in August 1938 R.W. Kidner



Site Home

Contacts:- Museum  Telephone :- O1929 481461         The Curator - Dr Clare Randall              Website queries ( John Rowley)             The PMMMG Chairman (Peter Sills)