West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 7 – Shoreham Harbour, The Liverpool of the South

Sitting at the mouth of the river Adur in West Sussex, Shoreham is today a well known and established harbour but when the below article was written in 1872, the port had a long way to go to be the ‘Liverpool of the South’.                                        The Brighton Gazette in 1872 Shipping records indicate that the port,…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 6 – Ancient Fairs

What separates a fair from a market? The two terms can be used interchangeably. For the purposes of this blog, markets are a monthly, weekly, or in some larger cities a daily event, dealing in fresh produce from the local area. On the other hand, fairs are traditionally cyclical and annual and tended to target…

The Remarkable Research Journey for Highdown Gardens

By Hamish MacGillivray, freelance heritage consultant Anyone for tennis? During the autumn of 2019 I spent many wow moments in the WSRO reading room discovering forgotten stories about Highdown Gardens and its original owners. Did you know that Highdown Gardens started because of a tennis court in 1909?  New plants were purchased by Sir Frederick…

Transatlantic Ties: A Juneteenth voyage to Ghana

By Jo McConville, Project Archivist Please be aware that this post covers topics that may be distressing. The original 18th century documents discussed here also contain archaic racial language and terminology which is now considered unacceptable. "Black Unity Juneteenth Celebration" by dsgetch is licensed under CC BY 2.0 If you’re reading this on Saturday (19th),…

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,…

Digging into the Past: Excavating Chichester’s Roman remains

CPS 1876/4: Roman remains at Fishbourne, 28 July 1963 By Jenny Mason, Team Leader (Collections Management) Britain’s Roman past has long captured the imagination of antiquarians and archaeologists alike and surveys and excavations of Romano-British sites have taken place since the 16th century. One of the earliest, and most famous, Roman finds in Chichester was…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 4 – A Look at Warnham Court

PH 949 - Warnham Court, c1906 Big houses are expensive. Expensive to purchase, maintain, and even sell. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, large country homes, built in the Victorian era or earlier and serving as countryside getaways for the rich and noble, were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Famous for its deer…

Explorations in the Highdown Gardens Archive

WSRO Acc 19802 - Ernest Wilson standing in the Highdown gardens By Jennifer Mason, Senior Collections Management Archivist In two prior blog posts staff at WSRO have talked about the work that they’ve been doing at home through the pandemic. Today’s blog post is just one example of how we’ve been able to continue to…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 3 – 185 years of Eastergate school

As of 2021, Eastergate school has been almost ceaselessly teaching for more than 185 years. It has served the parish, and also the surrounding localities, by educating numerous generations of West Sussex families. As you will have seen in the film footage below, the school underwent a huge transformation in 1970; turning from a traditional…

Working From Home: One Year Later – Collections

By the staff of West Sussex Record Office Did any of us expect the new decade to start off in such a manner? It has now been one year since the first announcement of lockdown was declared. Last year, staff put together a blog outlining what we had been working on from home. In hindsight,…