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.
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.
Tony Viney was born in 1933 and ran his own publishing agency for fifteen years in London before moving to Dorset. He lives in an isolated old stone barn, where he generates his electricity from the wind and the sun at Worth Matravers within easy reach of the quarries where he gets 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 sells his output throughout the world including America and Japan where a short film was made about him.
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.
Melissa Viney Chair
Richard Jeffery Site Manager