Tools & Trades History Society

Amberley Tool Collection

Hall of Tools at Amberley

The Hall of Tools at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, near Arundel in Sussex, houses the Society's tool collection. It is a purpose-made building erected and fitted out in 2001 by local members of the Tools and Trades History Society with the help of a grant from the Worshipful Company of Carpenters.

The collection consists of tools of the wheelwright, shipwright, leatherworker, plumber, surveyor, carpenter, cabinetmaker and silversmith as well as tools associated with agriculture and horticulture. One section is devoted to mechanical engineering tools including a tool-chest that belonged to a man who worked on Spitfires during World War II. There is also a comprehensive library of technical books and members there are happy to identify tools or artefacts brought in by visitors.

The collection has steadily grown and an enthusiastic group of local TATHS members constructed a second building which houses an interesting collection of treadle and hand operated machines. These include two metal turning lathes, a wood-turning lathe, a planing machine, various grind-stones, jig saws, a spindle grinder and a sewing machine together with some other displays of domestic activities.

In 2014 a third building was completed. This was built from scratch by the local group who cleared the site,  cast a concrete base, built the timber frame and fitted it out. The ground floor houses a workshop which includes a Boxford Lathe while the first floor is used to store exhibits and donated tools for restoration.

The Museum wanted a façade with a feature for the visitors so the group constructed a saw-doctor's workshop showing how saws were sharpened in the old days, with an adjoining paved area where craftspeople can carry on their trades under the canopy of the first floor. The project was funded entirely by small donations and the TATHS organisation. All the man-hours were free, all the work being carried out by TATHS volunteers.

The group run demonstrations and hands-on sessions throughout the museum's open season, helping make a visit interesting for the whole family.