The ‘Sussex Declaration’ of Independence held at West Sussex Record Office

Many of our followers will recall the news last year of the 'Sussex Declaration', an early copy of the US Declaration of Independence, and the only other ceremonial copy of the Declaration known to exist besides the signed 1776 copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Although the manuscript has been catalogued and stored here at West Sussex Record…

Historic Baking – Date and Walnut Cake

I decided to try the recipe from a pamphlet entitled ‘20th Century Cookery – how to cook by electricity’. As a recent convert at home from gas to electricity I was keen to give it a try. However the instructions were rather vague when it came to the temperature settings, referring to the initial oven…

Historic baking – 19th century cinnamon biscuits

When Lauren suggested a series of blogs based around historical recipes I went straight for this recipe for cinnamon biscuits from a book belonging to a Mrs Goacher of Jessops Farm, Ashurst, and dating from 1867 (Add Mss 14940). I love anything cinnamon flavoured and with only five ingredients this sounded like my kind of…

A Call to Arms! – The Royal Sussex Regiment Heritage Project

West Sussex Record Office are developing an exciting new project to catalogue, digitise and provide access to the historic collections of The Royal Sussex Regiment dating back over 260 years. This will be a ground-breaking opportunity to use the combined collections to develop innovative ways for people of all ages across the UK and beyond…

Historic baking – 18th Century Sponge Biscuits

At West Sussex Record Office, our aim is to make our extensive archive collections ‘come alive’ for our researchers, and engage them with the history of the county they call home. Many records create a vivid image of what life was like for our ancestors, but none do the job quite like the commonplace books…

The Women of Bishop Otter College and the University of Chichester

The University of Chichester (previously known as Bishop Otter College) has a rich history of female leaders - starting with Sarah Trevor, the college's first female principal in 1873, to Professor Jane Longmore, the University’s present day Vice-Chancellor. Sarah Trevor (1873-1895) became principal when the Bishop Otter College reopened as one of the country's first…

Queen Victoria Hospital Archive Project: the history of the hospital

      The story of Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) begins in 1863 with its founding as a cottage hospital on Green Hedges Avenue, East Grinstead, in the home of Dr John Henry Rogers. It was only the fifth cottage hospital to be established in England – from its earliest days the hospital was a…

A Slice of Life – The Quarter Sessions records

Back in January 2012, West Sussex Record Office Conservator Simon Hopkins and I thought up a plan to make the Quarter Sessions rolls more accessible. These are local government records: essentially the business of the courts which ran the administration of the county before the advent of the County Council.  The earliest ones are fascinating…

Queen Victoria Hospital Archive project: Introducing the project

        As regular readers of this blog will be aware, since 2016 WSRO has been engaged in a major project involving the archive of the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, which became known during the Second World War as the centre for the treatment of the ‘Guinea Pig Club’, the RAF…