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…

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…

A Slice of Life – The Quarter Sessions records

Back in January 2012, West Sussex Record Office Conservator Simon Hopkins and I thought up a plan to make the Quarter Sessions rolls more accessible. These are local government records: essentially the business of the courts which ran the administration of the county before the advent of the County Council.  The earliest ones are fascinating…

Queen Victoria Hospital Archive project: Introducing the project

        As regular readers of this blog will be aware, since 2016 WSRO has been engaged in a major project involving the archive of the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, which became known during the Second World War as the centre for the treatment of the ‘Guinea Pig Club’, the RAF…

Women’s Suffrage in West Sussex

This month sees the centenary of a major success for women’s suffrage. When the Representation of the People Act became law on 6th February 1918, women over 30, who were occupiers of property or married to occupiers, became entitled to vote for the first time in British history. West Sussex Libraries have been finding out…

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…

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…