Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum

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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 museum is to enhance the visitor experience when visiting the Swanage Railway.

The museum is now open. It is built on redundant clay workings adjacent to the Norden park and ride and Station.
A typical Ball clay drift mine has been built and Norden No.7 mine Transhipment building (donated by Imerys) has been re-erected at the Park & Ride site. The building holds a display of artifacts and several videos shows the clay extraction history of Purbeck from Roman days onwards. There is also a short operational narrow gauge demonstration line around the Norden site part built on the old trackways. A diesel engine that was used on site in the 1950,s and 60,s has returned to the site and can be seen in operation on certain days of the year. There is a display of wagons used in Purbeck from the late 1800's until the late 1960'S. The Foremans Office has been rebuilt and and is the office.

There is a 20-30 minute free trailway around the outside of the site with boards describing the Ball Clay extraction activities that happened from 1800's until 1970's and pointing out the location of nearby Roman Kilns.

Vistors are able to experience conditions underground in the simulated mine and walk to the working face which has been completed with real Ball Clay - the world's finest and much in demand today!

Venue Type:

Industrial heritage site, Museum

Opening hours

See Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/purbeckmineralandminingmuseum/

Admission charges

Donations suggested minimum per audlt £1, Children free

Additional info

CarPark is operated by Purbeck District Council and there is a daily charge

At present there is a small free display at the Museum entrance of Photographs and artefacts. These include 200 year old plateway rail and sleepers, 140 year Wareham built waggon and a couple of V-skips that were used at Norden from 1948 to 1970. A short train ride away in the Corfe Goods shed Museum is 1874 "Secundus" a steam locomtive that spent it's entire working life in Purbeck on the Pikes tramway.

Collection details


Key artists and exhibits

  • Mining of ball clay in Dorset and other significant minerals extracted in Purbeck, connected with the growth and history of the Swanage Railway.

Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum
Norden Park and Ride
BH20 5DW


Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum








Museum Office

O1292 481461

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.