West Sussex Record Office History in the Making

Despite the challenges we are all experiencing, we have a unique opportunity to work together and record the events that we are all living through. We are therefore asking for your help and hoping that you might like to join us and be a part of this.  Would you like to record a diary of your experience of the pandemic and how it is affecting you, your family and friends and your local community? You could record your experiences, thoughts and feelings either on paper or on your phone as an individual, as part of a family project within the same household, as a creative outlet or simply as a daily record.

West Sussex Record Office is joining forces with our partners at Screen Archive South East (SASE), who look after all the moving image archives for the region.  We have diaries at the Record Office dating back over 300 hundred years while the SASE collections cover life and leisure, work and travel, events and story-telling from the 19th century to the present day. Together they give us a unique window into the past and bring history to life before our eyes. Help us to record this extraordinary period in our lives and add your own story to the West Sussex Archives.

We would also like your help in collecting other material that you might come across such as:
• Leaflets/flyers/posters from District Councils and other local government institutions about the pandemic
• Material from local business relating to closures or changes to how they operate
• Advice from local organisations about hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation
• Information about community efforts to help vulnerable and isolated persons
• Information from local schools regarding closures and home-schooling

Photographs which show the pandemic’s impact*
*Please note that when photographing you should ensure that anyone who may appear in the image is either happy to be photographed or is unidentifiable.

With your help we would like to build a community archive of all your diaries, and other pandemic related records, which will be catalogued, stored, and ultimately available to the public for research. In this way we can actively preserve the history of this event and its impact on West Sussex for the future. We ask that material for deposit at WSRO should be written, printed, or digital. We are unable to accept objects into the archive. Video diaries can be included as part of the archive and will be preserved and made accessible by SASE.

It is important that you do not risk your own or anyone else’s health whilst gathering this material. All government guidelines regarding hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation should be followed: www.westsussex.gov.uk/coronavirus

As we aren’t able to take in these records at the moment, we ask that you hold on to any documents until we re-open. Perhaps, if you can, put them aside in a folder or envelope marked ‘for WSRO’. Please contact us about the best way to transfer your digital files.

For further information please contact Jenny Mason at the West Sussex Record Office.
Email: record.office@westsussex.gov.uk

To find about more about the Record Office collections go to: www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/history-and-heritage/west-sussex-record-office/
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