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

The little churches of Chichester

An illustrated talk by local historian Alan Green on the lost churches of St Peter the Less, St Martin, All Saints, St Olave & St Andrew, which had all closed by 1953.

Date: Tuesday 29 January 2019

Time: 7.00pm

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

The High Sheriffs of Sussex

A talk by Dr John Godfrey and Caroline Nicholls DL, the current High Sheriff of West Sussex, that explores the history of the office of High Sheriff and provides a fascinating insight into the present day role in the county.

Date: Tuesday 26 February 2019

Time: 7.00pm

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

The anti-slavery movement in West Sussex

An illustrated talk by Dr Richard Huzzey.

Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019

Time: 7.00pm

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

Chichester Festival Theatre

The Record Office holds the archives of Chichester Festival Theatre. This talk by Katherine Slay will showcase examples of all types of records in the collection, and also look briefly at how the catalogue was compiled.

Date: Tuesday 30 April 2019

Time: 7.00pm

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

D-Day 75: West Sussex

Marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944, retired County Archivist Alan Readman will bring this historic event to life through archive material held by West Sussex Record Office.

Date: Tuesday 28 May 2019

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 9 January 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

‘The parish chest’: exploring parish records

Parish records are amongst the most popular sources used by family and local historians, especially the registers of baptisms, marriages and burials; but other records - such as rate books, vestry minutes and parish magazines - can be equally useful to the family historian. This workshop will explore all types of parish records and explain how and why they can be useful to family historians.

Date: Wednesday 6 February 2019

Time: 10.00am

Tickets (non-refundable): £7.50 - 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 6 March 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 3 April 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Researching the history of your house

Date: Wednesday 1 May 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Newspapers for family and local history

Date: Wednesday 5 June 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Royal Navy records for family historians

Date: Wednesday 3 July 2019

Time: 10.00am

Tickets (non-refundable): £7.50 - 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 September 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Crime and punishment in West Sussex

Whether you're looking for an ancestor who got into trouble with the law, joined the police or if you simply want to find out what records are available for research, this workshop will introduce you to some of the key sources at the Record Office.

The session will include:

  • records of West Sussex Constabulary and its predecessors
  • Petty Sessions (magistrates courts)
  • Quarter Sessions
  • prison records
  • local newspapers and more.

Date: Wednesday 2 October 2019

Time: 10.00am

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

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 6 November 2019

Time: 10.00am

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


Special events

Queen Victoria Hospital Archive Project exhibition

Since 2016 West Sussex Record Office has been working in partnership with Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on a Wellcome Trust funded project to catalogue and preserve the Queen Victoria Hospital Archive and digitise selected patient case files.

The archive dates from the 1930s to the 1990s and includes records relating to the Guinea Pig Club, badly burned Second World War airmen who underwent groundbreaking plastic surgery under the supervision of pioneering surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe.

A touring exhibition has been launched to share the work of this project and the inspiring story of the hospital and the Guinea Pig Club.

This exhibition will be visiting libraries and other locations around West Sussex until May 2019:

  • Pulborough Library: 1 November to 29 November 2018
  • Horsham Library: 3 December to 28 December 2018
  • Haywards Heath Library: 10 January to 31 January 2019
  • Worthing Library: 5 February to 28 February 2019
  • Shoreham Library: 7 March to 28 March 2019
  • Chichester Library: 4 April to 30 April 2019
  • East Grinstead Library: 2 May to 30 May 2019


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.