Bees, Falcons, Gothic Alterations and Collapsing Cathedrals – the Story of Chichester’s Fallen Spire

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist I, like many others, watched heartbroken as the roof and spire burned during the recent fire at Notre Dame de Paris.  Thankfully, many of the artworks and relics were rescued, no visitors were harmed, and the facades and majestic bell towers are structurally stable.  I took this as a sign…

The Little Churches of Chichester

In the first Tuesday Talk of 2019, Alan Green will be talking about the fascinating histories of what became known as The Little Churches of Chichester. Chichester was once the most pious of cities. In Pre-Reformation times there were nine parish churches, three chapels, a cathedral and two friaries all within its walls. Of these…

Historic baking – Little almond cakes

Like most people I like baking and cooking, so when Lauren (our Searchroom Archivist) set the challenge to try some historic recipes from the archives, I jumped at the chance to have a go. One thing I noticed when going through the recipe books held at the Record Office was that over the centuries, there…

Historic baking – Spanish puffs

On hearing about Lauren’s idea for a blog series based on trying out historical recipes, I was keen to sign up – as a lover of both history (which rather comes with the territory as an archivist…) and, well, food in general it seemed right up my street. After a week or two of procrastination…

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…