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 –…

“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…

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…

The anti-slavery movement in West Sussex

“Father came, in a great bustle for some slavery papers which he has to distribute,” wrote Rhoda Hack, from Chichester, in April 1824. This domestic update in her surroundings came as she penned the latest letter in her regular correspondence with her sister-in-law, Priscila Tuke (nee Hack). “What are you doing with this subject at…

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…