The Boy in the Painting: Marcus Thomas, b.1768-d.1816

By Alice Millard, Research Assistant Please note that some of the language used in the original records includes offensive and insensitive terminology. The inclusion of these terms is not an endorsement of such language, but are there to authentically represent the original document. In August 2021, I began trawling through the transcripts of baptisms, marriages…

West Sussex Unwrapped III: Spring – Wishing You Were Here at Worthing!

“A small agricultural and fishing hamlet of lesser importance than the neighbouring village of Broadwater” is how Worthing was best described pre-1800, or at least, according to the Victoria County History. No church, no market, and with land split across several different manors and lords, Worthing sometimes does not even feature on the County’s oldest…

Cropped statistics for Chichester, St. Pancras parish

Chasing the Boxalls through the Census

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist The easy answer to 'When was the first census held?' in the British Isles can be as simple an answer as 1801. Or 1841. Or 1086. Or Roman times if you really want to stretch the purpose and definition of a census. So, let's define a census. For our purposes,…

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…

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…

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…

West Sussex Unwrapped Week 7: Country Life

John Smith PH 10/56 - View of South Harting from Petersfield Road It's difficult to look at old photos of the countryside and not get nostalgic. Even for city dwellers, images like blackberry picking are only associated with happy, warm days in the open air. Country life has certainly changed over the past century, so…

VE Day in West Sussex – Part Two: Records

By Martin Hayes, County Local Studies Librarian, with thanks to Christine Kilby for document transcriptions On this 75th anniversary of VE Day, not only do we wish to celebrate the  day, as best we can during lockdown, but also let us remember and give thanks to all those who served, died and suffered, overseas and…

VE Day in West Sussex 8th May 1945 – Part One: an Overview

By Martin Hayes and Alan Readman As we approach the 75th anniversary of VE Day, not only do we wish to celebrate that day, as best we can during this challenging period, but also we remember and give thanks to all those who served, died and suffered, overseas and at home, in the Second World…