West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 6 – Ancient Fairs

What separates a fair from a market? The two terms can be used interchangeably. For the purposes of this blog, markets are a monthly, weekly, or in some larger cities a daily event, dealing in fresh produce from the local area. On the other hand, fairs are traditionally cyclical and annual and tended to target…

THE CORFIELD PAPERS – A New Accession: Part Two

By Kim Leslie (with an Introduction by Nichola Court) In his first blog, Kim Leslie introduced us to some of his more colourful ancestors, whose lives – at times, dramatic - are revealed in his family papers – The Corfield Papers. In his second blog, Kim focuses on his grandfather, Dr Carruthers Corfield, whose papers…

West Sussex Unwrapped II Month 1: Crawley New Town

Today Crawley is a thriving town of over 110,000 people and is the largest inland town in West Sussex. However, what is now a bustling metropolis started life as the quiet rural villages of Crawley, Ifield, and Three Bridges. Read on to find out how and why this changed. Crawley on Film Queen Elizabeth II…

Mapping West Sussex – Part Two: County Orienteering and Plotting Estates

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist Maps are one of the most useful resources for family, local, and house historians. They can tell you about the age, changing shape and structure of properties, as well as shifting land usage and ownership. They are also worth looking at in more depth as records in of themselves. Moving…

THE CORFIELD PAPERS – A New Accession: Part One

By Kim Leslie (with an Introduction by Nichola Court, Archivist) One of the joys of working at a county record office such as WSRO is the wide variety of collections we hold and the individual documents that can be found within them. Collections of family papers can hold a surprising array of documents concerning a…

Transatlantic Ties: January 2021 Update – Inaugurations, MPs and Presidents

By Jo McConville, Project Archivist "United States Capitol, Washington, D. C." by Boston Public Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0 The day finally arrives for Joe Biden’s inauguration as 46th president of the United States, following an extraordinary few months of controversy and division since his election victory in early November, culminating in the…

Mapping West Sussex – Part One: Military Maps and Tithe Tiffs

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist Maps are one of the most useful resources for family, local, and house historians. They can tell you about the age, changing shape and structure of properties, as well as shifting land usage and ownership. They are also worth looking at in more depth as records in of themselves. Moving…

Thanksgiving: A Transatlantic Ties update

By Jo McConville, Transatlantic Ties project archivist. You can read more on the TT project here. For a long time, I didn’t really ‘get’ Thanksgiving. Perhaps not so surprising, given that it’s such a distinctively American holiday which doesn’t register on our British calendars. My main exposure to it came during my 1990s Friends obsession,…

Cropped sepia image of a river, with church in background. Two young boys sitting on bank, washing hung on line by river

A Mystery Snapper’s Sojourns Through Sussex

By Nichola Court, Archivst A few weeks ago, a series of remarkable photographs cropped up in some of my social media feeds. Dating from the 1840s, the photographs captured the inhabitants of Horsham and their surrounds and were taken by Captain Thomas Honywood, a local man with a keen interest in archaeology as well as…

West Sussex Airfields and the Battle of Britain 1940

By Alan Readman and Martin Hayes The Battle of Britain, fought mainly in the skies above Sussex and Kent, took place between July and October 1940 and this month marks its 80th anniversary. September 15th has been designated Battle of Britain Day to commemorate RAF Fighter Command’s decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe. Key events…