A celebratory end to the Transatlantic Ties project!

After almost three years, our Transatlantic Ties project came to a joyful conclusion on Saturday 11th June with a symposium at the University of Chichester. With all the challenges of the last few years, we were delighted to be able to hold the event as originally intended, and the appearance of our often elusive British…

West Sussex Unwrapped III: Summer – Chichester Festival Theatre, 1959-1962

Chichester Festival Theatre, 1959-1962 Sixty years ago, in 1962, Chichester's brand new Festival Theatre opened. Looking rather like a mid-century spaceship, the theatre had come into existence so quickly it may have indeed appeared out of thin air. It was the brainchild of optician Leslie Evershed-Martin, who, in just two years, had planned, funded, built,…

Cropped image of the note written by the vicar about what happened to the register during the war.

Parish Registers of West Sussex: Finding the Rich and the Unknown

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist On the 23rd of May, the county's baptism, burial and marriage registers were scanned and uploaded to the family history website, opening up many doors for local and family historians wanting to learn more about West Sussex. With baptisms from 1538 to 1920, burials from 1538 to 1995, and marriages…

National Volunteers Week 2022: Volunteers at West Sussex Record Office

By Nick Corbo-Stewart, Volunteer Coordinator and Archivist Volunteers working in the searchroom once more! In April 2022, after two years of having been kept away from the Record Office due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the pandemic, volunteers were allowed to return. Many of our volunteers have supported the Record Office throughout this difficult…

The Boy in the Painting: Marcus Thomas, b.1768-d.1816

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant Please note that some of the language used in the original records includes offensive and insensitive terminology. The inclusion of these terms is not an endorsement of such language, but are there to authentically represent the original document. In August 2021, I began trawling through the transcripts of baptisms, marriages…

‘A Fine Manuscript Journal’ – AM 70/1

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist AM 70/1 - The first entry of 1870 AM 70/1 - Front cover of the diary Purchased for the record office in 2008, the diary of John Donald Warren covers 27 September 1869 to 3 June 1871. It’s a fantastic little diary which required some digging from staff in order…

West Sussex Unwrapped III: Spring – Wishing You Were Here at Worthing!

“A small agricultural and fishing hamlet of lesser importance than the neighbouring village of Broadwater” is how Worthing was best described pre-1800, or at least, according to the Victoria County History. No church, no market, and with land split across several different manors and lords, Worthing sometimes does not even feature on the County’s oldest…

Cropped statistics for Chichester, St. Pancras parish

Chasing the Boxalls through the Census

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist The easy answer to 'When was the first census held?' in the British Isles can be as simple an answer as 1801. Or 1841. Or 1086. Or Roman times if you really want to stretch the purpose and definition of a census. So, let's define a census. For our purposes,…

A West Sussex Winter Wonderland

By Jennifer Mason, Assistant County Archivist (Collections Management) It’s definitely feeling wintry in West Sussex as we head towards Christmas. Today’s blog looks back at past West Sussex winters and celebrates a variety of cold weather activities. View of snow on the Downs at Fittleworth, 1947 (John Smith PH 13/156) We’ve had quite a mild…