West Sussex Unwrapped II Month 1: Crawley New Town

Today Crawley is a thriving town of over 110,000 people and is the largest inland town in West Sussex. However, what is now a bustling metropolis started life as the quiet rural villages of Crawley, Ifield, and Three Bridges. Read on to find out how and why this changed. Crawley on Film Queen Elizabeth II…

Mapping West Sussex – Part Two: County Orienteering and Plotting Estates

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist Maps are one of the most useful resources for family, local, and house historians. They can tell you about the age, changing shape and structure of properties, as well as shifting land usage and ownership. They are also worth looking at in more depth as records in of themselves. Moving…

THE CORFIELD PAPERS – A New Accession: Part One

By Kim Leslie (with an Introduction by Nichola Court, Archivist) One of the joys of working at a county record office such as WSRO is the wide variety of collections we hold and the individual documents that can be found within them. Collections of family papers can hold a surprising array of documents concerning a…

Transatlantic Ties: January 2021 Update – Inaugurations, MPs and Presidents

By Jo McConville, Project Archivist "United States Capitol, Washington, D. C." by Boston Public Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0 The day finally arrives for Joe Biden’s inauguration as 46th president of the United States, following an extraordinary few months of controversy and division since his election victory in early November, culminating in the…

Mapping West Sussex – Part One: Military Maps and Tithe Tiffs

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist Maps are one of the most useful resources for family, local, and house historians. They can tell you about the age, changing shape and structure of properties, as well as shifting land usage and ownership. They are also worth looking at in more depth as records in of themselves. Moving…

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,…

Cropped sepia image of a river, with church in background. Two young boys sitting on bank, washing hung on line by river

A Mystery Snapper’s Sojourns Through Sussex

By Nichola Court, Archivst A few weeks ago, a series of remarkable photographs cropped up in some of my social media feeds. Dating from the 1840s, the photographs captured the inhabitants of Horsham and their surrounds and were taken by Captain Thomas Honywood, a local man with a keen interest in archaeology as well as…

Historic records and architectural histories: Estate Brochures

By Tim Hudson (guest blogger) What types of historic documents do architectural historians use? Continuing with our guest written series, the once Editor of the Sussex Victoria County History and co author of the updated Pevsner guide to West Sussex, Tim Hudson, will be exploring the types of records used when researching built heritage. Each…