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…

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 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…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 2: Nursing

Arguably, the profession of nursing offered the same essential experience for every nurse. Yet, it was the experiences born from a specific place and time which gave each nurse their own unique story, and West Sussex has been home to a number of historically significant institutions. From the medieval hospitality of St Mary's Hospital in…

West Sussex Unwrapped: A Sussex Summertime

With around 50 miles of picturesque coastline, it's no surprise that West Sussex has been a popular summer destination since the 1700s. As a result, resort towns like Bognor, Littlehampton, Worthing and the Witterings developed rapidly and have all been home to beachfront villas, donkey rides, boarding houses, bathing machines, and of course ice cream!…

Diary of a Horsham Land Girl: 1939-1942

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant Doreen Peskett (née Strange) was an avid diary keeper throughout the Second World War. So avid, in fact, that this blog focuses on her entries up to December 1941. She was one of many thousands of women who joined the Women's Land Army and provided much needed agricultural support. The…

Five Weeks Working From Home: An Update

By The Staff of West Sussex Record Office Photograph by Abigail Hartley. Featuring trusty coworkers Mr Brown and Rex the Dog. Last week Immie gave a wonderful update to what she had had been working through in the time since the Record Office staff have been working from home. We thought we would give other…

‘Snapping the centuries’: the photographs of John Smith

By Nichola Court, Archivist West Sussex Record Office is fortunate to hold the collections of a number of professional photographers and studios, including those of George Garland, Walter Kevis and Chichester Photographic Studio. These collections provide an immediate visual representation of the past, albeit – usually – a carefully managed and planned representation, according to…

History in the Making: Help to play your part and add your story to the West Sussex Archives

This is such an extraordinary period in our recent history with events impacting on our lives in ways that we could not have imagined. West Sussex Record Office has had to close its doors for the first time in over 70 years but our work goes on. We are keener than ever to document the…