Who are the Friends?
The Friends are people who use the Record Office or who wish to help and support its work of preserving the wonderful archival heritage of West Sussex. They play an important role in raising funds and purchasing documents to add to WSRO collections.
Founded in 1973
President: Lord Egremont
Chairman: Richard Mant
Aims of the society:
- To arouse and stimulate interest in historical records and increase awareness of the need for their preservation.
- To assist in the work of West Sussex Record Office by fund-raising, working parties and any other means.
- To seek out material of historical interest and persuade owners to ensure its preservation.
- To arrange outings, lectures and other activities to foster interest in the history of West Sussex.
Why should I join WSAS?
Anyone with an interest in their heritage can join WSAS. There are many benefits of becoming a member:
- Workshops twice a year led by archivists from the Record Office with opportunities to learn about and handle original documents such as manorial records, wills, literary archives, Quarter Sessions and Poor Law records.
- AGM held in the spring at different venues with lunch and a speaker afterwards.
- Conference held in autumn at various venues and focusing in depth on a different aspect of West Sussex history each year.
- Outdoor Events during the summer often including tea at the end! We have enjoyed events such as a trip on the Wey and Arun Canal, a walk in the Arun Valley to learn about the lime industry and guided tours of Shulbrede Priory and the Land Settlement Association smallholdings at Sidlesham.
- Talks on a wide range of West Sussex topics that have included Halnaker House, Graylingwell Hospital archives, the Selsey Tram, the history of Chanctonbury Ring and the archaeology of Petworth Park.
- December Get-together A festive morning at the Record Office with mince pies, wine and coffee; an opportunity to put questions to the County Archivist and an introduction to new aspects of West Sussex history.
Members receive our highly respected annual Journal of West Sussex History and the Society welcomes the submission of material for inclusion.
Our illustrated newsletter The Researcher is sent out quarterly, keeping members up to date with forthcoming events, reports of recent meetings and news from the Record Office.
WSAS plays a major role in supporting the work of the Record Office and helping acquire West Sussex documents that come up for sale in auction rooms and dealerships across the country.
Since 1974, WSAS has been able to contribute towards the purchase of many important historical records that might otherwise have disappeared into private hands at home or abroad. These include deeds, estate records, letters, diaries, business records, maps and plans dating back over 500 years, which have now been added to the collections.