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…

International Women’s Day: West Sussex Women and the Centenary of Suffrage

Between the centenary of the Representation of the People Act on 6th Feb 2018, which granted the first women the right to vote, and International Women's Day on 8th March, we have been using Twitter and Instagram to share some of the notable West Sussex women involved in the campaign for suffrage. Using the tag #WestSussexWomen you can follow…

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…

Witchcraft and the ‘Wicked Women’ of Sussex

Prior to the British Witchcraft Act of 1735, the infamous witch trails of the Early Modern period saw widespread moral panic sweep through a religiously unstable Europe, resulting in the horrific punishment of individuals for their supposed sorcery. Although no instances of witch drowning or burning have been evidenced in West Sussex, accusations of witchcraft still led to the persecution…

‘All the fun of the Fair’: A history of Chichester’s oldest surviving fair

From the 18th – 21st of October this Year, the Chichester Festival Theatre car park at Northgate will be closed for Chichester’s annual Sloe Fair, representing a tradition that has lasted for over 900 years It is the longest-running, and last surviving of five ancient fairs in the city, as the right to hold the Sloe…

Wild Was the Wind in West Sussex: The Great Storm of 1987

‘Earlier today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t’ Many will remember the immortal words of weatherman Michael Fish, whose casual dismissal of the approaching storm left the UK public completely unprepared for the weather front that…

Record of The Month

Forgery and Scandal at Chichester Old Bank I first came across the story around this month’s record when volunteering at Chichester District Museum (now the Novium). The Social History Curator at the time said that sometime in the early 1800s a man -John Binstead, a drawing teacher, was charged with forging a bank note from…

The Selsey Tram – the Bumpity Bump

One hundred and twenty years ago a light railway opened during the August Bank Holiday of 1897 and it became known as the noisiest and most rickety railway in England. This was the Selsey Tramway, although its official name was the Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramways Company Ltd and it operated from Chichester down…

All roads lead to WSRO..

Vehicle licensing records aid Classic Car restoration We can receive all manner of enquiries here at the Record Office, and while some may assume that our reach is bound by county borders, and primarily focussed on local history, we are always eager to highlight that the simplest of records can have far-reaching effects. We recently received…