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A feast for the eyes as West Sussex Unwrapped launches

This Sussex Day (Tuesday 16 June) sees the launch of an exciting new venture exploring the history and heritage of West Sussex, courtesy of the West Sussex Record Office and Screen Archive South East.


Delving deep into the county’s past, this multi-media mix of films, photographs, blogs, posters, folksongs, saucy postcards and rare documents have been combined into an entertaining and illuminating visual experience.


From the rolling Downs to sun-filled beaches, the ten-week series will give everyone the opportunity to traverse the length and breadth of West Sussex through the ages.


The films will include:

  • Encounters with indomitable members of the Women’s Institute at Treemans in 1954, along with a glimpse of their famous ‘Operation Produce’,
  • Ex-Goon Harry Secombe being greeted by nurses in Haywards Heath in 1959,
  • Crawley celebrating the Jubilee of George V in 1935,
  • The official launch of the Selsey lifeboat in 1937,
  • A frenzy of Morris Dancers invading the quiet streets of Horsham in 1989,
  • Memories of Shippams’ paste sandwiches at a tea party in 1955,
  • The delights of the Bognor Regis Show in 1950,
  • And a train ride along forgotten pre-Beeching lines.


The first video available on Sussex Day focuses on an exciting day trip to Littlehampton – where children and grown-ups from a Sunday School in Three Bridges hit the beach in woollen swimwear, licking ice-creams with soggy wafers and being enchanted by the delights of Punch & Judy.


Cllr Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for fire and rescue and communities, said: “The West Sussex Record Office’s partnership with Screen Archive South East has always been a remarkable and unique collaboration, allowing visitors to see another facet of history.




“You can get lots of information from records, diaries and photographs, but the extra dimension of film brings everything to life and gives a unique view into how people lived.


“The launch of West Sussex Unwrapped on Sussex Day will be a fantastic opportunity for residents who live across West Sussex to get a glimpse into some unique moments in history allowing people who can’t visit the Record Office at the moment  the opportunity to delve into the archives virtually.”


Dr Frank Gray, the director of Screen Archive South East said: “The West Sussex Record Office began its relationship with Screen Archive South East and the University of Brighton in 1992, and its Chichester premises is now the home of Screen Archive South East’s Conservation Centre and a large collection of original films, tapes and files.


“This valuable relationship between both organisations has enabled Screen Archive South East to create and care for a collection dedicated to films made in the county, many of which date from the early 20th century. A number of these films now appear in our new and very exciting joint venture, West Sussex Unwrapped – which will, for the first time, demonstrate how our collections can combine to reveal the county’s multi-media history.”


A new episode will be available every Tuesday from 12 noon beginning on June 16, with the final film being uploaded on Tuesday, August 18.


Watch the film, visit the West Sussex Record Office blog and follow the fun every week on these channels:


Posted in News, What's On.