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. Tickets cost £8.00 (non-refundable) for each talk and must be booked in advance from the Record Office.

See below for our current scheduled talks.

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.


Talks on Tuesday

By rail to Chichester 1846-2016

Talk by Alan Green, local historian and author.

The railway arrived in Chichester in 1846 as a line from Shoreham and soon extended west to Portsmouth. Later lines were built to Midhurst and then to Selsey (the legendary Selsey Tramway), making it possible to travel north, south, east and west by train - which was only to last until 1935.

In this illustrated talk Alan Green explores 170 years of Chichester's railway history (69 of which he observed first hand!) from the opening day, through expansion, contraction and electrification to today's privatised railway.

Date: Tuesday 28 January 2020

Time: 7.00pm

Tickets: £8.00 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Finding needles in haystacks: research in the Petworth House archives

Illustrated talk by Alison McCann, Archivist to Lord Egremont and the Leconfield Estate.

Date: Tuesday 25 February 2020

Time: 7.00pm

Tickets: £8.00 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Chichester in colour, 1970

Illustrated talk by local historian Andrew Berriman.

Date: Tuesday 31 March 2020

Time: 7.00pm

Tickets: £8.00 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

‘SNAPS in Sussex’: The photographs of John Smith (1852-1925)

Illustrated talk by Nichola Court.

A Croydon builder by trade, John Smith was President of the South Norwood Amateur Photographic Society (SNAPS) and hosted fellow members at the family home in Fittleworth for its annual excursion to West Sussex, during the first years of the 20th century. This illustrated talk explores the rich archive of this accomplished and prolific amateur photographer, showcasing its social and historical content, as well as its many local views.

Date: Tuesday 28 April 2020

Time: 7.00pm

Tickets: £8.00 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.


Coffee time workshops

How to start your family tree

If you're thinking about researching your family history but aren't sure where to start, this workshop will provide some helpful tips and advice, based on the resources available in the Record Office, local libraries and online.

Date: Wednesday 8 January 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

‘Granny was a pauper’: exploring poor law records

Date: Wednesday 5 February 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Getting started with Ancestry.co.uk

This workshop will incorporate a practical, hands-on computer session, giving you the chance to try out this popular website under our guidance.

Date: Wednesday 4 March 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 1 April 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) -  book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Researching the history of your house

Date: Wednesday 6 May 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Newspapers for family and local history

Date: Wednesday 3 June 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Tracing your army ancestors

Date: Wednesday 1 July 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Getting started with Ancestry.co.uk

This workshop will incorporate a practical, hands-on computer session, giving you the chance to try out this popular website under our guidance.

Date: Wednesday 2 September 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Researching the history of your house

Date: Wednesday 7 October 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) - book in advance by contacting the Record Office.

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 4 November 2020

Time: 10.00am

Tickets: £7.50 (non-refundable) -  book in advance by contacting the Record Office.



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
  • Fax: 01243 533959
  • 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.