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…

In Remembrance – Driver George Slater – Graylingwell War Hospital – WW1

I had assumed that every patient who died in a UK war hospital during World War 1 would have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstone, but I was wrong….. I am cataloguing the records of Graylingwell Hospital in Chichester, among which are some items about Graylingwell War Hospital (1915-1919). There are no existing formal…

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…

‘All the fun of the Fair’: A history of Chichester’s oldest surviving fair

From the 18th – 21st of October this Year, the Chichester Festival Theatre car park at Northgate will be closed for Chichester’s annual Sloe Fair, representing a tradition that has lasted for over 900 years It is the longest-running, and last surviving of five ancient fairs in the city, as the right to hold the Sloe…

Wild Was the Wind in West Sussex: The Great Storm of 1987

‘Earlier today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t’ Many will remember the immortal words of weatherman Michael Fish, whose casual dismissal of the approaching storm left the UK public completely unprepared for the weather front that…

Family History Fun Day – A genealogical extravaganza for all the family!

Come along and join us at Horsham Library on Saturday 21 October, 10:00- 4:00pm for a West Sussex Libraries Family History Fun Day! There will be an opportunity to meet experts from Sussex Family History Group, West Sussex Record Office, Times Digital Archive, Guild of One Name Studies and others. Information Librarians and Archivists will be available to…

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…