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

Our Coffee Time Workshops are perfect if you want to research your family tree but don't know where to start. It doesn't matter if you are new to the subject, unsure of computers or want to look beyond the obvious sources. You will be introduced to the incredible range of archive material available at the Record Office.

Sessions take place at 10.00am on the first Monday or Wednesday of the month (except July and December) and run for 1-2 hours, depending on the topic. Each session costs £7.50 (tickets non-refundable) and places are limited.

To book a place on any of the sessions contact us. Workshops are subject to last-minute cancellation if there are insufficient bookings (we will notify you of any change at least the day before).

See below for our current scheduled workshops.


Talks on Tuesday

Bernstein, Hussey and the Chichester Psalms

An illustrated talk by Nigel Simeone.

The lively exchange of letters between Dean Walter Hussey and Leonard Bernstein about the commission of a choral work for the 1965 Southern Cathedral Choirs Festival in Chichester makes for fascinating reading. 

Find out about the story behind the work, and its surprising origins in the music for a Broadway show, in an exploration of the history of the 'Chichester Psalms'. Nigel Simeone's talk will focus on the Hussey and Bernstein correspondences, as well as manuscripts and documents in the Library of Congress in Washington. 

About the speaker

Nigel Simeone is a writer, broadcaster and teacher with a particular interest in Leonard Bernstein. He is editor of 'The Leonard Bernstein Letters' (Yale, 2013), described by Marin Alsop as "an incredible collection". This was launched at the Library of Congress where Nigel worked on the many thousand items of correspondence in Bernstein's personal archive.

Nigel is also the author of a book about the genesis of Bernstein's 'West Side Story' as well as acclaimed studies of Messiaen and Janácek, both of which have won international prizes. He is currently working on 'The Janácek Compendium' for Boydell Press.

Date: Tuesday 18 September 2018

Time: 7.00pm

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

Returning home: Exploring the First World War's aftermath in West Sussex

Illustrated talks by Emma Worrall and Professor Keith Grieves, focusing on the experiences of soldiers returning home from the front, and the sometimes lively debates in local communities about the best way to honour the fallen.

Date: Tuesday 30 October 2018

Time: 7.00pm

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

West Sussex women: A centenary of suffrage

An illustrated talk by Lauren Clifton.

Date: Tuesday 27 November 2018

Time: 7.00pm

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


Coffee time workshops

Discovering wills and other probate records

Date: Wednesday 4 July 2018

Time: 10.00am

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

Beginners guide to Ancestry.co.uk

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

Date: Monday 3 September 2018

Time: 10.00am

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

‘Granny was a pauper’: exploring poor law records

Date: Wednesday 3 October 2018

Time: 10.00am

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

Reading old handwriting

Date: Wednesday 7 November 2018

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:

  • Crawley Library: 26 April to 31 May 2018
  • Bognor Library: 1 June to 28 June 2018
  • West Sussex Record Office: 3 July to 3 August 2018
  • East Grinstead Museum: 10 August to 26 September 2018
  • Littlehampton Library: 1 October to 25 October 2018
  • 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.