Chosen by Matt Dell, member of staff
Although our oldest record here at West Sussex Record Office dates to 780AD, you would be mistaken in thinking that only historic records live under our roof. In addition to the collections of religious records, military records, estate papers and more, we are also home to the Records Management Service, which manages the County Council’s internal, semi-current records.
These more recent records include those of the former County Clerk’s department, and this file in particular was transferred to the County Council’s archive once its operational retention period had expired. It relates to the proposed County Council restrictions on vehicle parking in Chichester in 1936 and contains traffic orders, newspaper cuttings, committee minutes and correspondence. Many of these documents contain strong objections to the restrictions from local business owners for fear that they would hinder trade in the city centre. It is interesting that even then, in the relatively early days of vehicle use, steps were being taken by the County Council to reduce congestion in the city centre.
The County Council’s archive date back to the first meeting, held on 31st January 1889. The archives include minutes of the Council’s meetings, including those of its various sub-Committees, and other official records such as budgets, byelaws and regulations, standing orders, publications and sealed orders. Alongside these official records, the Council’s departmental records provide a fascinating insight into the workings of the Council and include letter books, plans, photographs, handbooks, internal reports and publications, circulars, newsletters and a wide array of other items; two future blog posts will also feature items from the County Council’s archives. The working files transferred from the Records Management Service continue to augment the County Council’s archive and provide vital evidence of our county’s administration.