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, which usually run for 1-2 hours, 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

Battle over West Sussex

The story of the Battle of Britain as it was fought in the skies of West Sussex during the Second World War.

Andy Saunders' talk will look at specific events and incidents and tell the story of individual episodes of courage and drama. Dozens of incidents will be brought to life in this illustrated talk, and will particularly emphasise the human stories behind these episodes - including the story of participants, survivors and local civilians who were caught up in the dramatic events of 1940.

Andy Saunders is a freelance writer and researcher specialising in military aviation history, especially the Battle of Britain and Blitz period. He is the author of over 25 published books, with more writing projects currently underway.

He is a regular contributor to the aviation press and news media on a worldwide basis and is frequently an adviser for TV and film productions and regularly appears as a contributor for various documentary programmes.

He has recently worked on programmes such as ‘Guy Martin’s Spitfire’, ‘Digging the Great Escape’ and ‘RAF 100 with Ewan McGregor’ and is currently working for Netflix on a 12 x part documentary project. He was a founder and the first Curator of Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, currently the most successful independent aviation museum in the country.

He was the editor of the leading military history magazine ‘Britain at War’ for several years and currently edits an innovative new German military history magazine ‘Iron Cross’.

The talk will last up to an hour, with an opportunity to ask questions (via the chat box for our remote audience).

Venue: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
Date: Tuesday 25 October 2022
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 (attending in-person, £7.00 for WSAS members). £5.00 (attending remotely via Zoom).
Booking: To attend in person, please phone 01243 753602 to book and pay. To attend online, please book via Eventbrite.

Rails to Midhurst

In the 1860s Midhurst had a population of just 1,500 and yet had two railway stations and was a junction for three railway lines linking the town with Chichester, Pulborough and Petersfield.

Come and hear the tales of the rails to Midhurst at an illustrated talk, together with film footage, a photographic display and original documents.

The talk by local historian Bill Gage will last up to an hour, with an opportunity to ask questions (via the chat box for our remote audience).

Venue: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester PO19 1DD
Date: Tuesday 29 November 2022
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: To attend in person, please phone 01243 753602 to book and pay. To attend online, please book via Eventbrite.


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 two-hour workshop will provide some helpful tips and advice, based on the resources available in the Record Office, local libraries and online.

Date: Wednesday 11 January 2023

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 February 2023

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 1 March 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 5 April 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Old photographs: How to identify, date and care for them

Date: Wednesday 3 May 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Tracing your army ancestors

Date: Wednesday 7 June 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Newspapers for family and local history

Date: Wednesday 5 July 2023

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 6 September 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Discovering wills and other probate records

Date: Wednesday 4 October 2023

Time: 10.00am

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

Researching the history of your house

Date: Wednesday 1 November 2023

Time: 10.00am

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


Special events

Exhibition on Macdonald Gill

A free exhibition entitled 'Macdonald Gill: Charting a life' can be viewed in the reception area at the Record Office until 15 October.

MacDonald Gill, known as Max (1884-1947), lived in Sussex and was a talented graphic artist, best known for creating a distinctive range of decorative map posters for the Post Office and London Underground.

This fascinating display is based on research carried out by Caroline Walker, the artist’s great-niece 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.

Please visit during our normal opening hours to view the exhibition:

Monday - 9.15am to 4.30pm (Searchroom closed)
Tuesday - Friday 9.15am to 4.30pm
Saturday - 9.15am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.00pm
Sunday - Closed


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.