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About Us

History of Sandy Hill Arts


Tony Viney created the opportunity for an arts centre at Sandy Hill when he acquired the Sandy Hill site from the Moss family in 2008.

Sandy Hill Arts was set up to take on his vision of not only securing the future of this complex of artist studios but to provide a venue for broader arts activities, as well as making this lovely wooded valley an amenity for visitors in its own right.

Site History

We have started researching the industrial history of Sandy Hill. We know that the site was a United Dairies milk processing plant – known locally as the ‘milk factory’ – until the closure of the Swanage branch line in the 1960s made the plant unviable. We think the earliest activity was around 1911 although the current buildings appear to date from the 1930s and 1950s.

We would love to find out more and welcome any contributions that show how the site was developed, what it was like to work here, what it looked like, etc.

History of Sandy Hill
Tony Viney at Sandy Hill Arts

Tony Viney

Tony Viney was born in 1933 and ran his own publishing agency for fifteen years in London before moving to Dorset. He lived in an isolated old stone barn, generating his electricity from the wind and the sun at Worth Matravers within easy reach of the quarries where he sourced his stone.

His set up his workshop at Sandy Hill in 1984 in the shadow of Corfe Castle with a view to extending the use of the local stone beyond its traditional role as a building material and for church furniture. In the course of the next few years he developed his own techniques for turning polished stone plates and bowls to individual designs which could be cut as thin as a ceramic. He sold his output throughout the world including America and Japan where a short film was made about him. 

Tony passed away on 16th February 2024.  He was a huge presence in the local arts and music scene and was responsible for setting up, and running, many of the local arts organisations and projects. He was also of course a founder member of the  Boilerhouse Gallery and the reason Sandy Hill Arts exists – his generosity and foresight securing  the Sandy Hill Studios site to ensure the arts had a base and a long future in Purbeck.

Our Team

Sandy Hill Arts is managed by a board of Trustees who bring together a wide range of experience from visual and performing arts to general business and charity management, as well as forming links to other Purbeck Arts organisations. 

Current Trustees

Melissa Viney Chair

Richard Jeffery Site Manager

Frances Pollard

Sue Lansbury

Sue Western

Emma Ormond