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…

Sussex and the US: Closer than you think

In the final instalment of our American-themed blogs to celebrate Independence Day, we are looking at the many and varied connections between famous faces in America’s history and the county of Sussex. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, thirteen British colonies on the east coast of North America declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of…

Record of the Month

Chichester City Treat Committee (ChiCity/CAL1) On Tuesday 21st June 1887, the nation celebrated Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Events were held up and down the country to mark the occasion, and Chichester was no exception. The archives of Chichester City Council – held at the Record Office – feature a beautifully illustrated and detailed minute book…

Victorian Christmas Traditions in the Archive

Many of our modern-day Christmas traditions are famously attributed to the Victorian period and the influence of Prince Albert, who bought German customs and festive celebrations to the UK. This new way of marking the Christmas period saw the introduction of many festive traditions we continue to enjoy today, from elaborate decorations to gingerbread, lavish Christmas menus,…

Memorandum book of Thomas Osborn of Tangmere, 1797-1807 (Add Mss 48413)

                      Chosen by Gillian Edom, former member of staff When I was searching for material about the history of Tangmere parish for the Joining up our Heritage project I came across a brief entry in the WSRO catalogue. All it said was Memorandum Book of…

The Queen visits Chichester, West Sussex Gazette, 3/4/1986

Chosen by John Godfrey, researcher In light of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday this year, a Loyal Address was delivered by the Lord Lieutenant on behalf of the people of West Sussex. Celebrating the many occasions The Queen has visited the county, the book highlights her connection to West Sussex through the decades of…

‘Swing Riots letter’, 2 Dec 1830 (Goodwood Mss 1446 fA18)

Chosen by Susan Millard, member of staff This anonymous letter was addressed to the Duke of Richmond and was sent to his estate at Goodwood. We can see from the reverse page that it was considered important enough to be forwarded to his London home. Such letters, written during the agricultural disturbances in the winter…

‘Parham in the War’, 1940-1947 (Parham 1/4/10/3/3)

 Chosen by Lady Emma Barnard This remarkable notebook was kept by my great-aunt Veronica, the daughter of Clive and Alicia Pearson, who lived at Parham. Veronica deposited it with West Sussex Record Office before her death in 1993; it is a moving record of wartime life on the estate, a vignette of an extraordinary time.…