West Sussex Record Office

What's on at the Record Office

3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD

Find out about events coming up at the Record Office.

Tell me more

We hold regular evening talks on Tuesdays and family history workshops on the first Wednesday of each month.


About our events

Talks on Tuesday

'Talks on Tuesday' cover a wide range of fascinating subjects presented by our experts. All talks start at 7.00pm and last 1 to 2 hours, including refreshments. 

For on-site talks, tickets cost £8.00 (non-refundable) per person and must be booked in advance from the Record Office. Online talks are either £5.00 per person or free of charge.

See below for our current scheduled talks and ticket prices.

Coffee Time Workshops

Do you want to research your family tree but don’t know where to start? Would you like to research the history of your house or learn how to read old handwriting? If so, sign up for our coffee time workshops.

On the first Wednesday of each month, our special mid-morning sessions will give you the opportunity to learn from the experts in a relaxed atmosphere.

We will introduce you to the incredible range of archive material available at the Record Office - dating from 780 AD to the present day - and how best to use the sources for research.

At West Sussex Record Office you can be assured of a warm welcome from our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We hope you will join us, whether it's for one session or all of them!

See below for our current scheduled workshops.

Special events

Tranatlantic Ties symposium

Join us to celebrate the culmination of a major research project to explore the many fascinating connections between America and West Sussex.

For the last two and a half years the Transatlantic Ties project, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, has been exploring the close historical connections between America and West Sussex through the wealth of historical resources in the archives. The Transatlantic Ties symposium will be a day of lectures and presentations exploring the shared history of West Sussex and the United States.

Our keynote speaker will be Emily Sneff, a PhD candidate in the Harrison Ruffin Tyler Department of History at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Before graduate school, she was the Research Manager of the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard University. In collaboration with Danielle Allen, she conducted research on the Sussex declaration held at West Sussex Record Office.

Also speaking will be Anthony Howe, Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of East Anglia, and novelist Francis Spufford, who will be giving a reading from his novel Golden Hill, set in 18th century New York.

Arrival will be from 9.30am for a 10.00am start and the day will finish at 4.30pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

A detailed copy of the programme will be emailed to you in advance of the symposium.

Date: Saturday 11 June 2022
Time: 10.00am-4.30pm
Location: University of Chichester
Tickets: Free
Booking: Please book via Eventbrite.


Talks on Tuesday

Was Chichester a city of culture in 1962?

An illustrated talk which explores the city’s social and cultural landscape prior to the opening of Chichester Festival Theatre in 1962.

Thanks to the success of the Festival Theatre, Chichester is well known as a centre for arts and culture - but was it always so?

Join Archivist Nichola Court to find out more about the city’s cultural and social history during the build up to the opening of Leslie Evershed-Martin’s ‘Impossible Theatre’. Was a modest market town nestled at the foot of the South Downs a natural home for such an ambitious project?

Venue: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
Date: Tuesday 31 May 2022
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 (in-person attendance, £7.00 for WSAS members); £5 (remote attendance via Zoom)
Booking: For in-person attendance, please phone 01243 753602 to book and pay by debit/credit card. For remote attendance, book via Eventbrite: Was Chichester a City of Culture in 1962?

West Sussex unwrapped live: a celebration of Chichester Festival Theatre’s history

This online event from West Sussex Record Office, Screen Archive South East and Chichester Festival Theatre will explore a fascinating series of films, photographs and documents about Chichester Festival Theatre from its foundation onwards. Join the archivists and curators as they delve into the archives to uncover the story of Chichester Festival Theatre as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

The talk will last up to an hour, with an opportunity to ask questions via the chat box.

Date: Thursday 16 June 2022
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: Online only
Tickets: Free - book via Eventbrite: West Sussex Unwrapped Live.

MacDonald Gill: Charting a Life

An illustrated talk by Caroline Walker, Andrew and Angela Johnston.

MacDonald Gill, known to all as Max (1884-1947), lived most of his life in Sussex: in Brighton, Chichester, Bognor and West Wittering.

The son of a clergyman, he was the younger brother of the well-known sculptor and type designer Eric Gill. He trained as an architect but developed into a versatile and talented graphic artist, turning his hand to a wide range of commissions, from lettering to murals.

He is best known for creating a distinctive range of decorative map posters for organisations like the Post Office and the London Underground. His painted works adorn the Houses of Parliament and the preserved Cunard liner Queen Mary, as well as many churches and stately homes, while his alphabet design can be found on war graves in churchyards and cemeteries across the world.

This fascinating talk is based on research carried out by Caroline Walker, the artist’s great-niece, author of MacDonald Gill: Charting his Life, and Gill’s nephew Andrew Johnston and his wife Angela, who discovered a treasure trove of memorabilia and artwork in the remote Sussex cottage they inherited in the 1980s.

Some items from this unique collection will be on temporary display at West Sussex Record Office.

Venue: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2022
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 (including refreshments), £7.00 for WSAS members.
Booking: Please phone 01243 753602 to book and pay by debit/credit card.


Special events

Transatlantic Ties

Join us to celebrate the culmination of a major research project to explore the many fascinating connections between America and West Sussex.

For the last two and a half years the Transatlantic Ties project, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York, has been exploring the close historical connections between America and West Sussex through the wealth of historical resources in the archives. The Transatlantic Ties symposium will be a day of lectures and presentations exploring the shared history of West Sussex and the United States.

Our keynote speaker will be Emily Sneff, a PhD candidate in the Harrison Ruffin Tyler Department of History at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Before graduate school, she was the Research Manager of the Declaration Resources Project at Harvard University. In collaboration with Danielle Allen, she conducted research on the Sussex declaration held at West Sussex Record Office.

Also speaking will be Anthony Howe, Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of East Anglia, and novelist Francis Spufford, who will be giving a reading from his novel Golden Hill, set in 18th century New York.

Arrival will be from 9.30am for a 10.00am start and the day will finish at 4.30pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

A detailed copy of the programme will be emailed to you in advance of the symposium.

Date: Saturday 11 June 2022
Time: 10.00am-4.30pm
Location: University of Chichester
Tickets: Free
Booking: Please book via Eventbrite: Transatlantic Ties Symposium.


Record Office friends

A regular programme of events is also organised by the West Sussex Archives Society. For more information, visit their website.

Contact details

  • Email record.office@westsussex.gov.uk
  • Tel: 01243 753602
  • Address

    3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
  • Additional information

    Our address for correspondence is: County Archivist, West Sussex Record Office, County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RN

Find us

By car

We are based in the heart of Chichester, very near to County Hall. The A27 trunk road runs through Chichester for links to Brighton and Portsmouth, while links to London are provided by the A23 and A24. Chichester is approached from the north via the A286 from Midhurst; and the A285 from Petworth.

By train

We are about a 10 minute walk from Chichester train station, which is served by a regular train service from London Victoria. There are also services from Brighton and Portsmouth.

By bus

The closest bus stops are at Orchard Street, West Street (Cathedral) and Avenue de Chartres.