Discover our county’s history at open day

West Sussex County Council's Record Office will be showcasing the past on 12 November


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Take a step back in time on 12 November when West Sussex Record Office holds an open day to celebrate its 70th birthday.

The Open Day will run from 10am to 4pm at the Record Office’s purpose-built premises at 3 Orchard Street, Chichester. Entry is free of charge and refreshments will be available.

During the day visitors will have the opportunity to meet staff, find out more about their work, and explore behind the scenes.

They can discover more about the historic archives of our county, which date back to 780AD – and how they can help people to trace their family tree, research the history of their house, and find out more about their local area.

A fascinating selection of local records will be on display throughout the day, including documents that bring the 1940s - when the Record Office was formed - back to life.

There will also be a chance to tour the strongrooms where the collections are stored and visit the workshop where conservation treatments are carried out.

Set up in 1946, the Record Office was originally based at County Hall in Chichester before moving to Edes House in 1968 in order to accommodate the growing collections. In 1989 a new purpose-built Record Office was opened in Orchard Street where it houses over eight miles of archives dating back more than 1200 years.

Even though their business is the past, archivists have turned to new technology to showcase some favourite historical treasures.

They asked customers, depositors, volunteers, supporters and staff to explore the archives and nominate their favourite document.

The 70 most-loved have been posted on a blog and Facebook page, giving an insight into the broad and colourful history of the county, celebrating the collections that the Record Office has been caring for over the past 70 years.

Each has its own story to tell and each illuminates a very different aspect of the archives.

Find the blog at and visit the Facebook page by searching West Sussex Record Office.

A free booklet featuring the 70 documents chosen to mark the anniversary has also been published. Copies are available from the Record Office and local libraries.

West Sussex Record Office is at 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, PO19 1DD.


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