Over 250,000 photographs, prints and drawings showing West Sussex in the past are stored at the Record Office. They include unique Victorian photographs from the 1850s, twentieth century postcards, rare prints and engravings from the 17th century and original works of art.
Of particular importance are views illustrating the social history of the chalk downland, rural life, aviation, maritime, seaside topics and architecture.
Search images online
Photographic database - Search over 30,000 photos and 5,000 digital images available to view online. To view the images in this application you will need to use the Internet Explorer browser.
Record Office online catalogue - Search photos and images of documents held by the Record Office.
Specific collections held by the Record Office
We have aerial photos dating from 1947 to 2001, but we advise you contact us before visiting, to ensure we have photos for the areas you're interested in.
Chichester Photographic Collection
This collection consists of around 15,000 glass plate negatives produced by Chichester Photographic Services Ltd, which traded from 1938-1968. A few images survive from the early 1950s but most span the period 1954-1968. Many show street scenes and events in Chichester and the surrounding area.
The Eric Gill Collection
Eric Gill (1882-1940) was a stone carver, engraver, master of lettering and writer. He came to Chichester in 1897 and drew the city's churches, doorways and buildings. We have a comprehensive collection of his work in the Record Office.
The Fletcher Collection
Consists of 1,500 glass plate negatives attributed to William H B Fletcher (1852-1941) of Aldwick Manor (now Hotham Park House), Bognor. They are mainly of Sussex buildings and views taken before the First World War, but were actually taken by his son, John Fletcher. We also have a fine collection of albums of photographs taken by John which depict old buildings in Sussex from the 1890s to 1914 (PH 26113 to PH 26121).
The Garland Collection
George Garland was a professional photographer who worked in the Petworth area from the 1920s until his death in 1978. In addition to the everyday work of photographing weddings and family portraits, he was particularly interested in rural life and crafts.
The Humphrey Collection
This collection consists of around 1,000 glass plate negatives taken by Edward Humphrey, born in 1871. He was a shopkeeper and skilled amateur photographer. Most of the images are of local inhabitants and events in the Walberton area.
The Kevis Collection
Walter Kevis worked as a photographer in Petworth from the 1870s to 1908. Some 8,000 of his negatives were saved from destruction by George Garland. Around 500 are views of the Petworth area and the rest are portraits (many sitters are named).
The Shippam Collection
This collection consists of photographs and negatives taken by Cecil Shippam of Chichester's family firm of meat and fish paste manufacturers, spanning the period 1860-1950. They include early scenes of Chichester's livestock markets in North Street and East Street.