West Sussex Record Office

West Sussex Record Office collects and preserves records relating to the county.  Its aim is to make these resources publicly accessible, and it is open to anyone who wishes to use the Archives.  These resources date from 780 to the present day, covering many different areas.

Whether you wish to trace your family history, study the history of a house, or discover more about community history you will find the documents of use.  It is also possible to view old films of the local area.  The records are also useful if you are researching for a school project or completing a university degree.

The knowledgeable and helpful staff always on hand to help should you have any questions or require assistance.

Contact Information for West Sussex Record Office

Address:

3 Orchard Street 
Chichester 
PO19 1DD

Address (Postal):

County Archivist
West Sussex Record Office
County Hall
Chichester
PO19 1RN

Telephone Number:

01243 753602

E-Mail:

record.office@westsussex.gov.uk

Collections

For information regarding their collections, please visit their Home Page and peruse their collections and archives page.  You can also search their on-line catalogue which contains details of material held.  Their resources include:

  • Bishops' Transcripts
  • Census returns
  • County and street directories 1792-
  • Electoral registers
  • Estate Maps dating from the 1600s
  • Estate papers
  • Film Archives
  • General Register Office Indexes(GRO Indexes) 1837-2008
  • Hospital records
  • Local history books

Resources also incorporate:

  • Local Newspapers
  • Marriage licences 1650-
  • Ordnance Survey maps dating from the 1870s
  • Oral History Records
  • Parish registers from 1538
  • Photographs
  • Police records
  • Poor Law records
  • School records
  • Tithe Maps - 19th century
  • Wills and other probate records

The Office also has approximately 10000 cinefilms that were created during the 20th century because they are a centre for Screen Archive South East.  You are required to book to access these resources.

Opening Hours

For their opening times, please peruse the appropriate section of their Visiting the Archive page.  


Location and Directions



The Office is located in Orchard Street, near to the Westgate roundabout.

Parking is available at Chichester Record Office, but this is limited and must be reserved.  The Office makes a charge to people using this car park. Before proceeding to the car park, you have to collect a token from reception, but can pull over in the side road next to the Office.  One designated disabled parking space is available behind the building, but this also has to be reserved. 

If you are visiting on a Saturday, parking is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to get there early.  On arrival, you have to pay the car park attendant at the barrier.

Other pay and display car parks are near to the Office.

West Sussex Record Office is approximately 10 minutes walk from Chichester train station.  Trains from London Victoria stop at Chichester, as do trains from Brighton and Portsmouth.

The nearest bus stops are on Orchard Street, West Street(Cathedral) and Avenue de Chartres.

Booking

You are not required to book before visiting.

Computers and Wi-Fi

Laptops may be used in the Office's searchroom.

Free Wi-Fi is accessible in the building, and these also provide access to websites such as Ancestry and FindmyPast.

Photography and Photocopying

You need to give notice if you wish to use a digital camera. A charge is made to people wishing to take advantage of this service and a photographic form must also be completed.  Some documents cannot be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged, and/or because of copyright laws, so it is best to ask a member of staff before taking any photographs.

West Sussex Records Office can, for a fee, make photocopies of documents on your behalf.  This is subject to restrictions because of copyright laws and because some documents are fragile and easily damaged.  You are required to fill in a reprographic request form.

For a fee, they are able to provide scanned copies of documents on plain paper, again subject to copyright laws and the condition of the document.  You have to fill in a scanning request form.

Accessibility

The facilities are fully accessible. Height adjustable seats are accessible in the searchroom.  Disabled toilets are also available.

If you wish, you are able to use a microfilm or microfiche reader with large magnification.  Information leaflets are also available in large print.

Hearing induction loops are accessible in the searchroom and at reception.

You are asked to contact the Office if you have any special requirements.

Searchroom rules

You are only allowed to use pencils in the searchroom to avoid damaging the documents.  Your papers must be carried in transparent bags.

Refreshments

Hot drinks are available in the visitors' tea room and a small selection of confectionery can be purchased from reception. You can eat your own food in the tea room, or there is a good selection of pubs and restaurants in the city centre.

Shop

You can purchase tithe maps on CD from West Sussex Record Office.  Other publications are also available for sale.

Other Services

You are able to purchase microfiche of parish registers from the Office.  These can be purchased by looking at their Parish Register Fiche List to make sure the fiche(s) you wish to order are available and by then filling in a microfiche request form.

Research Service

A research service is offered to people unable to visit in person. 

Facebook and Twitter Accounts

West Sussex Record Office has a Facebook page and a Twitter Account, both using @WestSussexRO.  Through these pages, the Office provides information regarding their collections, events held at the Office and family history and local history related news.  They also respond to visitors' queries.

West Sussex Records Office also has a blog where they write articles around some of the documents in their collections, family history and local history related news, and discuss events held by other history related establishments.

Readers' Tickets

Chichester Records Office is a member of the County Archive Research Network (CARN)



For further information regarding Record Offices in Sussex, please visit my page regarding East Sussex Archive.



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