Depositing records at the Record Office

Find out how to deposit your records with us.

1 Overview

Please make an appointment with us before visiting to deposit records.

The quality and range of our collections is founded on the generosity and forethought of many organisations and individuals who, over the past 70 years, have chosen to deposit their records with us.

We would like to hear from you if you have records relating to people or places in and around West Sussex that you would like to preserve and make available to the public. 

We are also pleased to receive information concerning the whereabouts of such documents.

Please contact us by emailing before bringing in documents or sending them to us. Once we have confirmed that we wish to accept them, you can arrange an appointment to bring them in or send them to us.

2 What we are interested in

Documents we are interested in include:

  • records of West Sussex organisations such as churches, businesses, schools and charities
  • documentation relating to an individual or family within the county, such as correspondence, diaries, title deeds and estate records
  • books, pamphlets, maps and other printed material relating to the county
  • photographs and postcards of West Sussex scenes or people.

We accept documents in accordance with our Collecting Policy and we will gladly advise people if another repository is a more appropriate home given the nature of the material.

Additional information

3 How to deposit your records

You can either give us your records as a gift (our preferred option), or deposit them with us on loan.

All archives in our care, whether gifted or deposited, will be:

  • stored in environmentally controlled strongrooms
  • securely protected by fire and intruder alarms
  • catalogued and indexed
  • made available to the public under supervised conditions in our searchroom.

If you are depositing records on behalf of a parish, please refer to the Church of England's 'Keep or Bin - The Care of Church Records' guidance on what should be transferred to the Record Office.

Please refer to our terms of deposit for further information about deposits.

4 Withdrawing your records

If you decide to loan us the records, we are happy to discuss their temporary withdrawal, for the purpose of exhibition for example.

We also recognise that there may be rare occasions where an owner wishes to permanently remove records.

Please refer to our terms of deposit for further information about withdrawals.

5 Terms of deposit

  1. West Sussex Record Office acquires, preserves and makes accessible the archives relating to the county of West Sussex in accordance with its collections policy. West Sussex Record Office accepts private records by way of gift, purchase, bequest or indefinite loan. This statement sets out the terms under which the Record Office accepts deposited records on indefinite loan.
  2. Where documents are deposited, the depositor retains ownership together with the right to withdraw all or part of the collection upon reasonable notice in writing, subject to any special conditions agreed upon at the time of deposit. In the case of permanent withdrawals, reasonable notice shall consist of a period of time sufficient to allow the Record Office to make copies of the documents for the purposes of research and private study. In the case of temporary withdrawals, this shall be for a period of no more than three months.
  3. Although records are deposited on indefinite loan it is assumed that the period of deposit will be, other than in exceptional circumstances, not less than 25 years in order that expenditure incurred by the Record Office on conservation and cataloguing can be justified. If a deposit is withdrawn permanently, the depositor may be required to make a financial contribution towards the costs incurred during the period of deposit.
  4. The Record Office reserves the right to undertake any repair or conservation work deemed necessary for the preservation of the material in accordance with our conservation programme.
  5. The Record Office reserves the right to make copies of deposited records for the purposes of preservation and in order to improve access. Ownership of such copies shall be vested in the Record Office.
  6. The Record Office may take such measures deemed necessary for the administration and security of deposited documents such as their rearrangement, stamping and marking.
  7. The deposited material will be stored in secure accommodation and the Record Office will take all reasonable steps to ensure the long term preservation of the records by protecting them from damage from climatic extremes, flood, fire, theft or physical misuse. However, should damage or loss occur the County Council cannot be held liable for compensation.
  8. Documents will be produced for consultation by researchers under supervision in accordance with the Record Office rules for public use of archives, subject to any statutory restrictions or any special conditions agreed between the depositor and the Record Office at the time of deposit. In the event of any access restrictions agreed with the depositor, the Record Office will only produce these records with the written permission of the depositor. The Record Office observes the principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
  9. The copying of documents by photography or photocopying is permitted for the purposes of private and unpublished research, subject to any restrictions agreed upon at the time of deposit and in accordance with current copyright regulations. People to whom copies are supplied for research purposes will be required to sign a declaration of compliance with the current copyright legislation. For any other purposes, including publication, the consent of the owner or depositor will be sought.
  10. The Record Office may place any of the deposited material in an exhibition on its own premises, subject to any restrictions on access applicable to the deposit and under such conditions as are reasonable for the exhibition of such material. Requests from other institutions for the loan of records for temporary exhibitions will be referred to the depositor for approval.
  11. We reserve the right to dispose of duplicate and non-archival material (by destruction as confidential waste if necessary), unless you have previously indicated a wish to have such documents returned.
  12. Private depositors: Let us know of any subsequent change of address or contact details. On your death, your documents will become the property of your personal representatives, or of anyone to whom you leave them by your will. We will need firm evidence of your death and of your wishes before we will treat any other person as the owner of your documents.
  13. Non-private depositors: Let us know of any changes within your organisation, such as the name of the current contact, or changed address.
  14. West Sussex Record Office is the Diocesan Record Office for the Diocese of Chichester and accepts parish records in accordance with the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 (amended 1992).
Last updated:
5 April 2024
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