A free finding aid for West Sussex newspapers

24 Apr

A few days ago I wrote that I had to go to Chichester library to look at microfilm of a local newspaper, the West Sussex Gazette. When I first started researching (many years ago) I expected to find copies of local newspapers, whether original or on microfilm, at the county record offices, but I soon discovered this wasn’t the case.

The situation with regard to finding local newspapers in Sussex is perhaps a little confusing. Whilst the county record offices do have some holdings, the only real consolidated collection of local newspapers for Sussex is held at the British Library Newspaper Library in London.

What we find in West Sussex however are copies (usually microfilm) scattered across various public libraries in the county, usually in the library most relevant to the original coverage of the newspaper in question.

Fortunately the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) have published a finding aid to West Sussex newspapers as part of their ‘Mini-Guides’ series. It used to be available in print only, presumably it is now out of print, because it is now available for free download as a pdf from the WSCC website.

So an example, if I want to look at a particular edition of the Mid-Sussex Times I have the choice of going to the British Library Newspaper Library in London or the small (in comparison) public library in Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

Not only is it usually easier and cheaper for me to visit the small public library, but it is also a great opportunity to check out their local studies collection, which may hold material that is not to be found elsewhere.

Of course the usual caveat applies, this edition of the guide is now six years old, so check availability, opening hours and booking requirements with the library itself, contact details are on the WSCC website.

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