News and Events

1000 Years of Criminal Justice in Sussex

Wednesday 4 March, 5.30-6.30pm, £5

In this illustrated talk, archivist Christopher Whittick will explain, with particular reference to Sussex, how criminal justice has changed and developed over the last thousand years. The talk will deal with both crime and punishment, and describe the remarkable consistency of approach over a long period of time. He will also examine some fundamental changes in the system, not least how the balance of responsibility for prosecuting crime has shifted from the individual to the state.

More details here.

[posted 11 February 2020]

Bookbinding and conservation workshops at The Keep

Learn and perfect traditional methods of bookbinding, repair and conservation under the guidance of The Keep’s conservator Melissa Williams. In these sessions, you can choose what you’d like to work on, from repairing your own books to creating something new, and you can try anything from a simple case-binding to more sophisticated stitching designs and finishes, such as gold-leaf tooling. These sessions are suitable for beginners or those with more advanced skills.

Courses are scheduled for February, March, April and May

More details here.

[posted 11 February 2020]

Useful links

Events at East Sussex Record Office (The Keep)
Events at West Sussex Record Office
Friends of the Keep Archives
West Sussex Archives Society (Friends of West Sussex Record Office)

Vol 97: New review

We are pleased to note a further review of Peter Wilkinson’s volume of Chichester Archdeaconry Depositions, published in The Local Historian, journal of the British Association for Local History. Details here.

Limited stock clearance sale

The Society has launched a clearance sale to reduce excessive stock of a small number of titles. These are:

Littlehampton School Logbook 1871-1911 by Ruth Brown
Volume 95; year 2013.

East Sussex Church Monuments 1530-1830 by Nigel Llewellyn
Volume 93; years 2010/11.

Accounts and Records of the Manor of Mote in Iden 1441-1551, 1673 by Mark Gardiner and Christopher Whittick
Volume 92; year 2009.

East Sussex Parliamentary Deposited Plans 1799-1970 by Roger Davey
Volume 87; year 2003.

Chichester Diocesan Surveys, 1686 and 1724 Wyn K. Ford
Volume 78; year 1994.

The price of each title (to members and non-members alike) is now £5.00 only (plus P&P, or free collection from Barbican House).

[posted 24 September 2018]

Dr Elizabeth (‘Betty’) Killick

We are sorry to note the recent death of Betty Killick, who lived in Stoughton, West Sussex, and was a member of the Sussex Record Society for 25 years. She was a remarkable woman, whom The Times describes as a “Terrifying naval engineer who liked a pint and developed radar and torpedoes”. Her extensive obituary is here (unfortunately now pay-walled; the original text is here, reproduced with acknowledgement).

[updated 15 August 2019]

Advance notice: Some Transatlantic Ties: William Penn’s West Sussex Connections
Tuesday 24 September

As a precursor to the West Sussex Record Office’s new project Transatlantic Ties, Martin Hayes, County Local Studies Librarian, will describe Penn’s significant links with West Sussex, his life-changing impact on many local people and his many achievements, but also setbacks. More details here.

[posted 28 June 2019]

Chichester Archdeaconry Depositions: a Swedish excursion

SRS Volume 97, Chichester Archdeaconry Depositions 1603-1608, edited by Peter Wilkinson, gives an intriguing insight into the life, loves and behaviour of everyday people in the early 17th century. It includes vivid eye-witness accounts of incidents and events in rural Sussex and paints a unique picture of everyday life at that time.

On 22 May, Peter (R above) and his colleague Kim Fleming led a three hour research seminar for the academic staff of the English department at the Mid Sweden University’s campus at Sundsvall, where the context and operation of Chichester’s Consistory Court, and analyses of the 1599-1603 volume of depositions, were discussed.

The Society will be publishing Kim Fleming’s Witness Depositions of the Chichester Archdeaconry 1599-1603 on this website later this year.

More information here

[posted 23 July 2019]

Friends of the Keep Archives visit to Sheffield Park: provisional date 11th July

FOTKA are planning a whole day visit to Sheffield Park. This will include a visit to the house itself by private arrangement, the model farm also not for public viewing, and the cricket ground. Christopher Whittick and Sue Berry will be the lecturers. Keep an eye open here for details.

Sussex Inn Signs and Their History Wednesday 17 July Illustrated talk at The Keep

Inn signs were, and still are, much more than external advertising for food, drink and accommodation. The signs and their brackets reveal patronage, land ownership and social status, as well as local personalities and national events, opening a window to the past. Sussex inn signs are a colourful addition to our urban and rural surroundings, and they are still full of meaning today.

‘Sussex Declaration’ goes to London.

For the State Visit to the UK of President Donald Trump, the WSRO copy of the American Declaration of Independence — the only contemporary parchment manuscript copy outside the USA National Archives — was on display in 10 Downing Street. County Archivist Wendy Walker gave a brief presentation to President Trump and Prime Minister Mrs May.

(L-R Theresa May, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Philip May, Wendy Walker)

More details here.

[Posted 5 June 2019]

Calling Blighty: University of Brighton Sunday 16 June 2019

The Calling Blighty series of 12 minute films, made in 1944-46, shows servicemen (and a very few women) in the Far East recording a message to be seen by their families and friends in local cinemas back home. The North West Film Archive (NWFA) is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Screen Archive South East (SASE) and Imperial War Museums (IWM), bringing five Calling Blighty films back to Brighton! 23 men and one woman send their very personal messages home to family and friends – they are partly stilted, occasionally emotional, but mostly stiff upper lip testimonies, sometimes funny, and always very moving.

For more details, and how to book a free ticket, download the pdf here.

[posted 24 May 2019]

AGM 2019

The 2019 Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held on Saturday 8 June at Cliffe Hall, Cliffe High Street, Lewes. All members will be welcome.
Further information, the agenda and papers can be downloaded here.

[posted 20 May 2019]

Sussex Military Heritage Symposium at WSRO Monday 20 May 2019

West Sussex Archives Society in partnership with the Friends of The National Archives is organizing a one day symposium focusing on the collections and research from The National Archives, West Sussex Record Office and the Royal Sussex Regiment. This will enable people to find out more about national and local military archives, the military history of the county and the rich and varied heritage of the Royal Sussex Regiment. A series of Royal Sussex Regiment archives and museum objects will be on display during the day.

More details here

[posted 18 April 2019]

WSRO project celebrating transatlantic links awarded a $100,000 grant

West Sussex Record Office has been awarded a grant of $100,000 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York for its new Transatlantic Ties project . The project will explore and promote the close historical connections between America and West Sussex through the wealth of archival material for the county.

Transatlantic Ties will celebrate and open up access to the wealth of historical resources relating to American history dating from 1701-1865. The project will include:

  • the development of an American collection of digital resources using original archives at the Record Office
  • a new Transatlantic Ties website providing access to all of these research resources on both sides of the Atlantic
  • the development of online teaching and learning resources for schools, colleges and universities
  • a public outreach programme, exhibition and other activities culminating in an international symposium.

Further coverage here, here and here

[posted 18 April 2019]

WSRO: National Archive Service Accreditation

West Sussex Record Office has been awarded National Archive Service Accreditation, putting it in the top 6% of archives in the country. National Archive Service Accreditation is the UK quality standard for archive services, awarded to a select number of Record Offices, which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. It helps archives to manage and improve their efficiency and effectiveness through external validation, and by identifying good practice.

More details here

[posted 23 March 2019]

Exploring Manorial Records
East Sussex Record Office at The Keep 20 March 2019

Manorial records form some of the oldest and most interesting of our holdings, and were given special legal protection in 1923. Whether you are interested in the history of a village or a house, want to find out more about your ancestors and where they lived, or push your family history back further than parish records will take it, manorial records might well provide the answer. In this workshop, County Archivist Christopher Whittick will describe and interpret the records; there will also be a display of original material from our archives.

More details here

[posted 4 March 2019]

WSRO Tuesday Talk: The High Sheriffs of Sussex

Caroline Nicholls, the current High Sheriff of West Sussex, and Dr John Godfrey will be giving a talk at the West Sussex Record Office on 26th February on The High Sheriffs of Sussex.

Dr Godfrey will be talking about the history of the office, using materials from the Record Office’s collections, and Caroline Nicholls will be speaking about her year in office and what it means to be a thoroughly modern High Sheriff in the 21st Century. The talks will be illustrated with images of documents and events.

More details here

[posted 15 February 2019]

Behind the Scenes at The Keep 14 February 2019

The next opportunity to visit The Keep Behind the Scenes will be Thursday 14 February. The tour will include the Reference and Reading Rooms, the conservation and digitisation studios, and the archive repositories.

Further details here

[posted 27 January 2019]

Britain on Film: Railways
Screening at The Keep Tuesday 16 January 1430

Take a trip back in time with a nostalgic screening of films from the BFI archive. Dating from 1898 to the 1970s, this cinematic journey captures the romance and freedom of train travel, as well as the social, political and economic changes of the 20th century. Film duration: 83 minutes

Details here

[posted 11 January 2019]

West Sussex Record Office:
Programme of workshops for 2019

West Sussex Record Office has published its programme of workshops for 2019.

Details here  and here

[updated 1 January 2019]