West Sussex Unwrapped III: Spring – Wishing You Were Here at Worthing!

“A small agricultural and fishing hamlet of lesser importance than the neighbouring village of Broadwater” is how Worthing was best described pre-1800, or at least, according to the Victoria County History. No church, no market, and with land split across several different manors and lords, Worthing sometimes does not even feature on the County’s oldest…

Cropped statistics for Chichester, St. Pancras parish

Chasing the Boxalls through the Census

By Abigail Hartley, Searchroom Archivist The easy answer to 'When was the first census held?' in the British Isles can be as simple an answer as 1801. Or 1841. Or 1086. Or Roman times if you really want to stretch the purpose and definition of a census. So, let's define a census. For our purposes,…

A West Sussex Winter Wonderland

By Jennifer Mason, Assistant County Archivist (Collections Management) It’s definitely feeling wintry in West Sussex as we head towards Christmas. Today’s blog looks back at past West Sussex winters and celebrates a variety of cold weather activities. View of snow on the Downs at Fittleworth, 1947 (John Smith PH 13/156) We’ve had quite a mild…

Once Upon A Time… a 75th anniversary retrospective of the places we have called ‘home’

By Nichola Court, Archivist 2021 marks the 75th anniversary of West Sussex Record Office [WSRO]. Although we now occupy purpose-built premises in Orchard Street, Chichester, the Record Office has had a number of other homes – not all of which have been very glamorous! Read on to discover more about our former homes… Door plaque…

Logo for International Men's Day, November 19 2021

International Men’s Day 2021: a celebration of Charles Corbett, campaigner for women’s rights

By Nichola Court, Archivist The theme for 2021’s International Men’s Day is ‘building better relations between men and women’ and few men embodied this mantra more than the barrister and one-time Liberal MP for East Grinstead, Charles Corbett. Today’s blog explores the life and work of this now little-known campaigner and politician. Portrait of Charles…

Trafalgar Day 2021

By Imogen Russell, Searchroom Supervisor https://youtu.be/L_dGs0xVM9o Battle of Trafalgar in the Archives: West Sussex Snippets by Imogen Russell AM 760/1/126: Letter from Lady Hamilton written some time after the Battle of the Nile, 1798. ‘Lady H hopes to have the happiness and honour of your company’ Lady Hamilton wrote some time after the Battle of…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Worthing Library Photograph Collections, 1850s to date

By Martin Hayes, County Local Studies Librarian Over the past couple of years some remarkable and extensive photograph collections have been deposited at the Record Office, prompted by a refurbishment project at Worthing Library. Photographs and postcards have been collected by West Sussex CC Library Service for over 100 years and include some of the…

Stories from the Surgeon’s Table

By Jennifer Mason, Assistant County Archivist (Collections Management) Acc 14373 - Guinea Pig Club Christmas Magazine, 1948: Drinks with McIndoe! ‘The entrance fee is something most men would not care to pay and the conditions of membership are arduous in the extreme’ These words from renowned plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe describe the famous Guinea…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 8 – Sussex Cinemas

PH 30788/112 - The Olympic Theatre in Chichester occupied what is now a warehouse on Northgate. Defining the first ‘film’ to be shown in West Sussex can be tricky. Nowadays, many of the earliest films put on display would be the equivalent of our modern-day computer gifs – short in length, no sound, and playing…

West Sussex Unwrapped II: Month 7 – Shoreham Harbour, The Liverpool of the South

Sitting at the mouth of the river Adur in West Sussex, Shoreham is today a well known and established harbour but when the below article was written in 1872, the port had a long way to go to be the ‘Liverpool of the South’.                                        The Brighton Gazette in 1872 Shipping records indicate that the port,…