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,…

Stories from the Parish Registers: Maria Sophia Rose, from Bengal to Ifield

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant Following on from the blog on Charles Douglass and Ann Glanville, published in October 2021, this blog explores the story behind another entry in the parish registers. This time, we are looking into the life of Maria Sophia Rose; a Bengali woman who, at a young age, was brought to…

Stories from the Parish Registers: Black residents of West Sussex

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant As part of West Sussex Record Office's Transatlantic Ties project, and ongoing work surrounding intersectionality in the archive, a survey of the county's parish registers for individuals of African, Asian, and Caribbean heritage is underway. London Metropolitan Archives undertook a similar project which began in 2000, the results of which…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 5 – South Downs National Park

Oh! the Downs high to the cool sky;And the feel of the sun-warmed moss;And each Cardoon, like a full moon,Fairy-spun of the thistle floss;And the beech grove, and a wood-dove,And the trail where the shepherds pass;And the lark’s song, and the wind-song,And the scent of the parching grass! By John Galsworthy Linseed mowing at Strood,…

The (futile) war on smuggling: Accounts from the archives

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant. In the archive, there is a report from 1806 (Add Mss 2610) which its author endorsed as "a most stupid, bombast report drawn by me for Captn. Lepper touching Smuggling." It's author, Job Gipps, was the Commander of the "Hawk" Revenue Cutter moored at Littlehampton. Gipps spent his days patrolling…

West Sussex Unwrapped: Festive edition!

Welcome back to a special festive edition of West Sussex Unwrapped! Watch Screen Archive South East's wonderful film footage featuring the Williams family of East Grinstead on Christmas Day, 1967-1970. Then discover more about West Sussex Christmases gone by through a multitude of festive records from the archives. Christmas on Film Family Christmas in East…

Thanksgiving: A Transatlantic Ties update

By Jo McConville, Transatlantic Ties project archivist. You can read more on the TT project here. For a long time, I didn’t really ‘get’ Thanksgiving. Perhaps not so surprising, given that it’s such a distinctively American holiday which doesn’t register on our British calendars. My main exposure to it came during my 1990s Friends obsession,…

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…