There is a hidden treasure in Purbeck that is known to all too few of the people but when holidaymakers discover it, they are all full of praise for what they discover.
The Purbeck Stone Museum is located in the centre of the Purbeck village of Langton Matravers. You will find it immediately behind the Church, in an old coach house, once the stable used by local clergy for their pony and trap.
The museum is run by the Langton Matravers Local History and Preservation Society and is staffed by volunteers. The museum is very tine, but is worth a visit, dedicated to the heritage of Purbeck stone as well as having a very interesting display about the development of radar.
The museum provides an explanation of the unique geology of Purbeck with fascinating examples of the various beds of stone. The topmost layer, known as Purbeck Marble, has been quarried near Langton since Roman times and may be seen in many English cathedrals as well as most of our local churches.
A free audio-visual introduction to the history of the local stone industry (which lasts 20 minutes) helps visitors to understand and appreciate the items on display, giving an explanation of the unique geology of Purbeck with fascinating examples of the various ‘beds’ of stone. There are displays of apprentice pieces; a large collection of stonemasons’ tools; samples of masons’ craftsmanship; many photographs from the past; an authentic reconstruction of a section of underground quarry working; and a rebuilt quarry capstan.
Radar in Purbeck
During the Second World War, Worth Matravers was the nerve centre for radar development in the UK. Worth was chosen as a good, cliff top site for radar testing and top radar scientists tried out new ideas for better radar systems. The Museum has a fantastic display about the areas links to radar and Purbeck’s importance as a major scientific site its role in helping to win the war.
Entry to the museum is free, but all donations will be gratefully accepted.