In 1988 the Dorset County Council showed an interest
in commemorating the significance of the radar
development work done in the Isle of Purbeck during
World War II. They asked Bill Penley (a wartime radar
researcher) and Tony Viney (a Worth Matravers Parish
councillor) to help them. The county was exploring
collection of wartime reminiscences and of placing
stone markers with inscriptions on paths at Worth.
While these ideas came to nothing, Tony and Bill
decided that the significance of the wartime radar
work deserved a local, permanent record available to
the general public.
Bill was already assembling a list of the research
workers who were at Worth Matravers in 1942. He wrote
to about 200 surviving staff requesting their
reminiscences of that time - and also asked at the
annual (TRE) radar re-union of wartime staff. Some of
the responses have been assembled in the Penley Radar
drawings of proposed museum in Leeson
At the same time, David Strange, a farmer at Worth
Matravers, offered space for a radar display in a barn
conversion he planned for a local history exhibition.
Difficulties with planning approval and funding meant
that this did not go ahead. However, Bill and Tony
decided to look for other possible sites and set up a
small group. This was named the Purbeck Radar Museum
Trust at an inaugral meeting in February 1991.
became a registered charity in 1993 with general
objectives of increasing public awareness of
wartime radar development, its importance in World War
II and subsequent legacies.
In the following years the Trust explored a number of
possible locations and collaborations to establish a
public exhibition about the early development of radar
in Purbeck. These included: the Leeson House dairy
buildings, Abbascombe Farm sheds, Durlston Country
Park visitor centre and the Top Shop (in conjunction
with Langton Historical Society). Eventually a small
display was set up in the corner of the Worth
Café & Craft Centre - quite close to the
original radar research sites at Worth Matravers.
In 2005 the Trust received a bequest from Harry
Spencer - one of the wartime radar researchers.
This enabled a complete re-design of the Worth Café
& Craft Centre exhibition, a new
brochure and leaflet on early
radar development at Worth, publishing this website www.purbeckradar.org.uk,
and publication of a new booklet Secret
War in Purbeck.
When the Worth Café & Craft Centre closed in
March 2007, Sq Ldr Mike Dean created a cut down
version of the radar
exhibition for the Swanage Museum & Heritage
Over the years, members of the Radar Trust have
been involved in various activities to raise awareness
of the wartime radar work and its significance - see a
list of major milestone