What’s on: 2018 at the Record Office

Happy New Year to all who follow and support West Sussex Record Office!

We have a lot planned for 2018, and thought we would use the start of the new year to highlight some of our upcoming talks and events that may interest you in the coming months.

Our regular ‘Talks on Tuesday’ series will continue with ‘Learning by Rote’ – Going to school in Victorian West Sussex, an illustrated talk by Ruth Brown, on Tuesday 30

Ruth Brown and Andrea Martin, a descendant of headmaster Thomas Slatford, who kept the school logbook

January. Ruth’s talk will expand on the subject of Victorian schooling as explored in her Sussex Record Society publication Littlehampton School Log Book 1871-1911. Previously featured on this blog as one of our favourite 70 records celebrating WSRO’s 70th birthday, the Littlehampton Log Book provides a fascinating insight in to the daily lives of pupils, parents, and teachers in Victorian West Sussex.

On Tuesday 27 February, former WSRO Archivist Dr Caroline Adams will be giving an illustrated talk on West Sussex’s collection of Quarter Sessions records, and the work volunteers have been doing to open up access to the collection. ‘A Slice of Life’ – Exploring the Quarter Sessions records, will highlight the records as a valuable but underused resource for local and family historians. It was in these courts that Justices of the Peace sat in judgement over minor criminal cases – anything from theft and poaching to assault and vagrancy. Amongst their many civil responsibilities, the JPs also supervised the poor law, oversaw relationships between apprentices and masters, and licensed alehouses.

You may have previously read on this blog about the collection of pioneering surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe, who treated and rehabilitated injured WW2 airmen who called themselves the ‘Guinea Pig Club’. In 2015 West Sussex Record Office and the Queen

Sir Archibald McIndoe and members of the Guinea Pig Club, Christmas 1948 (Acc.14373)

Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were awarded a grant from the Wellcome Trust to preserve this nationally and internationally significant archive. Working in partnership with the Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, East Grinstead Museum and the Guinea Pig Club, this funding has enabled the Record Office to catalogue and conserve the archive  and to digitise the patient case-files of the Guinea Pig Club so that these records can be made accessible for medical research and for future generations. On Tuesday 27 March 2018, one of the project Archivists who has been cataloguing the collection will give the talk ‘Stories from the surgeon’s table – Exploring the Queen Victoria Hospital archive’, and highlight the fascinating and unique archive at the centre of this project.

Later in the year, we will see events focussed around the Representation of the People Act (1918), which gave some women the right to vote in the UK for the first time in history, along with our ongoing First World War commemorations and the changing role of women in society. We will be looking at the impact and aftermath of the Great War, and how West Sussex welcomed its returning soldiers, and mourned those that did not return.

Our monthly ‘coffee time’ workshops will also be continuing throughout 2018, offering introductions to family history resources online, as well as a more in-depth look at dating photographs, reading old handwriting, house histories, wills and other probate records. These popular workshops are held on the 1st Monday or Wednesday of every month, and often sell out, so book a spot early to avoid disappointment!

Our full schedule of events can be found online, and tickets can be booked by calling the Record Office on 01243 753602.

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