MacDonald Gill: Charting a Life

By Caroline Walker, Guest Speaker This autumn the West Sussex Record Office is celebrating the life and work of Sussex-born artist MacDonald Gill. 'Max' - as he was known to friends and family - was an architect, mural painter, letterer, and graphic artist in the first half of the 20th Century, best known for his…

Two sepia photgrpahs side by side. They are of penguin colonies on an icy beach. White mountains are visible in the background.

It started with a Penguin…!

By Imogen Russell, Searchroom Supervisor Penguins and Glass EP I/98 Aldingbourne Faculty, 12th May 1954 A little curiosity we have in Aldingbourne Church is a stained glass window located in the Lady Chapel. This is not your typical stained glass window depicting saints, sinners and heroes, but something far more intriguing: a submarine and –…

Photographic Survey of West Sussex: Rediscovering an overlooked collection during the time of Covid

By Nick Corbo-Stewart, Volunteer Coordinator and Archivist Front cover of the EAHY photographic survey booklet The outbreak of Covid-19 and the introduction of lockdown in March 2020 saw a radical change to how staff at West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) worked. Normally based in the office full time, we moved to working from home. The…

“The best bunch of lads possible”: Anthony Antunovich and his war time photography

It is often the most unexpected searches that lead one down a rabbit hole. In my recent search for a suitable image for Canada Day (i.e. the anniversary of Canadian Confederation on the 1st July 1867) I came across and – in a phrase – fell in love with two photograph albums which had recently been catalogued under PH 29950 and 29951. The albums cover a short period in the life of a naval pilot during the Second World War through photographs of his friends, his training, and his travels.

Cropped image of the note written by the vicar about what happened to the register during the war.

Parish Registers of West Sussex: Finding the Rich and the Unknown

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist On the 23rd of May, the county's baptism, burial and marriage registers were scanned and uploaded to the family history website, opening up many doors for local and family historians wanting to learn more about West Sussex. With baptisms from 1538 to 1920, burials from 1538 to 1995, and marriages…

A West Sussex Winter Wonderland

By Jennifer Mason, Assistant County Archivist (Collections Management) It’s definitely feeling wintry in West Sussex as we head towards Christmas. Today’s blog looks back at past West Sussex winters and celebrates a variety of cold weather activities. View of snow on the Downs at Fittleworth, 1947 (John Smith PH 13/156) We’ve had quite a mild…

Once Upon A Time… a 75th anniversary retrospective of the places we have called ‘home’

By Nichola Court, Archivist 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of West Sussex Record Office [WSRO]. Although we now occupy purpose-built premises in Orchard Street, Chichester, the Record Office has had a number of other homes – not all of which have been very glamorous! Read on to discover more about our former homes… Door plaque…

Logo for International Men's Day, November 19 2021

International Men’s Day 2021: a celebration of Charles Corbett, campaigner for women’s rights

By Nichola Court, Archivist The theme for 2021’s International Men’s Day is ‘building better relations between men and women’ and few men embodied this mantra more than the barrister and one-time Liberal MP for East Grinstead, Charles Corbett. Today’s blog explores the life and work of this now little-known campaigner and politician. Portrait of Charles…

Stories from the Surgeon’s Table

By Jennifer Mason, Assistant County Archivist (Collections Management) Acc 14373 - Guinea Pig Club Christmas Magazine, 1948: Drinks with McIndoe! ‘The entrance fee is something most men would not care to pay and the conditions of membership are arduous in the extreme’ These words from renowned plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe describe the famous Guinea…

Colour photograph of five jars of Shippam's spread (chicken, salmon, sardine, crab, beef).

The Story of Shippam’s: so much more than paste!

By Nichola Court, Archivist Shippams 4/1/2, export price list (c1900) Acc 16974, advertisement for Shippam's meat and fish pastes (c1955) One of our county’s best loved brands, Shippam’s enjoyed international fame thanks to its immensely popular, high quality potted meat and fish pastes. However, Shippam’s pastes were only a small part of its business and…