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…

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,…

Plan of East Preston workhouse, 1872 (WG9/56/1/2 no.3)

Chosen by Nichola Court, member of staff The 1601 Poor Law Act created a national system for managing the poor. It was superseded in 1834 by the New Poor Law, which compelled unions of parishes to build that most Victorian of institutions: the workhouse. In a bid to keep the poor rate to a minimum,…