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

The Pallants: Chichester's town within the city

Local historian Alan Green explores the history of the four ancient streets in the south east quadrant that became, in Georgian times, the most select address in the city.

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 28 February 2023
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:

Building-by-the-sea - an architectural history of the West Sussex seaside

In this talk Dr Kathryn Ferry will explore how three centuries of architectural change have shaped our coastline and created the distinctive holiday backdrop of our resorts.

She will set the county’s seaside buildings in their wider national context and discuss how the leisure priorities of successive generations fed the demand for architectural novelties. From the Georgian houses of Sir Richard Hotham at Bognor Regis and the Victorian piers, hotels and convalescent homes along the coast, to the Edwardian bungalow town at Shoreham, the 1930s bandstand at Worthing and the huge 1960s resort of Butlins at Bognor Regis.

This talk will also include smaller structures, such as beach huts and shelters to show how our seaside is continually evolving.

Kathryn is an author and historian who specialises in the architecture and culture of the British seaside. Her books include titles on beach huts, bungalows and the official history of Butlins. She is on the committee of the National Piers Society, a founder member of the new Seaside Heritage Network and also regularly contributes to television and radio programmes.

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 April 2023
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 (attending in-person, £7.00 for West Sussex Archives Society 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:

The Women’s Land Army - a Sussex connection

Ian Everest's mother was one of the 80,000 Land Girls during WW2 and his talk includes some of her personal memories and a potted history of the role of women on farms during the two world wars. Vital to this was Lady Gertrude Denman and her Balcombe Place home in West Sussex.

Venue: West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD
Date: Tuesday 31 October 2023
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 including refreshments, £7.00 for West Sussex Archives Society members.
Booking: Please phone 01243 753602 to book and pay by debit/credit card.

Chichester in colour 1973

Local historian Andrew Berriman journeys back to Chichester and its buildings, exactly half a century ago.

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 28 November 2023
Time: 7.00pm
Tickets: £8.00 (attending in-person, £7.00 for West Sussex Archives Society 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:


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

Explore your archive 2022

A free introduction to the Searchroom at West Sussex Record Office and its resources.

Family and house histories, online resources, military and hospital records, the archives of estates and manors, churches and schools, businesses and charities. Knowing where to start with your research can be overwhelming!

For Explore your archive week, West Sussex Record Office is opening its doors on Monday 28 November to anyone interested in an introduction to our Searchroom, collections and online resources, or for those wanting a refresher after all the disruption of the last two years.

A member of our team will give a short tour of our Searchroom facilities, an introduction to our resources on Ancestry.com, as well as having the opportunity to look at some of our favourite records and the work our Conservator does to preserve them. You will also have the chance to sign up for an Archives Card, enabling you to visit in future to access all of the resources you could ever need.

Throughout the day there will be several opportunities to join in this free 45-minute introduction to the Record Office.

Bookings for slots is essential and can be made by phoning 01243 753602 or emailing us at record.office@westsussex.gov.uk.


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.