West Sussex Airfields and the Battle of Britain 1940

By Alan Readman and Martin Hayes The Battle of Britain, fought mainly in the skies above Sussex and Kent, took place between July and October 1940 and this month marks its 80th anniversary. September 15th has been designated Battle of Britain Day to commemorate RAF Fighter Command’s decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe. Key events…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 10: Chichester

We have reached the final week (for now...) of Sussex Unwrapped! It is the turn of Chichester this week, and we thought it would be a great idea to run through the centuries to sum up the history of Chichester as a a market town and cathedral city. Let's see what has changed shall we?…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 9: The Railways

Britain's pioneering work on establishing the railway network has long been a source of national pride. Rail travel has impacted many different aspects of West Sussex life; from transporting post and essential goods across the South Downs, to popularising seaside holidays, the county has a deep and rich connection to the railways. Railways on film…

Welcome back! A ‘new normal’ for the Searchroom

Welcome back! As we begin to open the archive again we wanted to introduce you, our users, to our new searchroom procedures. You are still able to consult original documents in the reading area, search through microfilm and fiche, check maps, and use online resources such as Ancestry and Find My Past. However, we're opening…

Historic records and architectural histories: Faculties

By Tim Hudson (guest blogger) What types of historic documents do architectural historians use? Continuing with our guest written series, the once Editor of the Sussex Victoria County History and co author of the updated Pevsner guide to West Sussex, Tim Hudson, will be exploring the types of records used when researching built heritage. Each…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 8: Shippam’s

You may know Shippam's as the purveyors of meat and fish pastes which are sold in supermarkets to this day. They carry a strong nostalgic connection to those who grew up enjoying their products. The company has always had very close ties with Chichester, and had brilliant marketing to help them dominate the market. This…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 7: Country Life

John Smith PH 10/56 - View of South Harting from Petersfield Road It's difficult to look at old photos of the countryside and not get nostalgic. Even for city dwellers, images like blackberry picking are only associated with happy, warm days in the open air. Country life has certainly changed over the past century, so…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 6: Rural traditions

Peek into the history of West Sussex's traditions, some you may know and some you may not. A few are shared with other counties but others are unique to West Sussex. Traditions have, by their nature, changed with time and many are no longer practised. If you've experienced a 'West Sussex tradition' let us know…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 5: Jubilees and Coronations

Though 2020 has not really been the year for street gatherings, if there's one thing people like to do - it's have a celebration! Royal Jubilees and Coronations have been some of the easiest excuses for communities to gather together and have a bit of a party. Taking a look through the centuries, we're able…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 4: Lifeboats

Map of Sussex, and it's extensive coastline, by James Wyld, c1860, PM 124 The coast of West Sussex is beautiful, but also deadly. The sea, with its unpredictable swells and lack of shelter from squally storms, has claimed many lives and countless vessels. Although the United Kingdom is an island with a deep connection with…