Research Libraries and Archives

In and around Chichester

This guide presents a picture of the strengths of the public libraries and private collections in the city of Chichester and in the surrounding area, extending to Arundel and Tangmere. These are accessible to the general public on a variety of terms and these are listed under each entry.

It has been prepared and published by the University of Chichester with the support of the institutions included to encourage new research by members of local and national organisations, academic or otherwise, and private readers and researchers who wish to explore and develop their own interests.

Arundel Castle is the repository for the archives of the Earls of Arundel and the Dukes of Norfolk, and as such, it relates to their estates in over 20 English counties, as well as to their political and personal lives. Nevertheless, Arundel being the seat of the Earls of Arundel until the mid-16th century and of the Dukes of Norfolk from 1778 to the present day, much of the archive relates solely to Sussex. It is a collection rich in estate material, from manorial rolls to estate accounts, old maps and plans, early title deeds, correspondence, architectural drawings and photographs. These, together with records of castle staff and estate workers going back to the 18th century, provide a unique historical resource.

Material must be booked in advance. As a private archive without public funding, we do make a charge for research access. However, a concession for long-term research allows 10 all-day visits a year, with free car-parking. This is widely used both by students and by academic researchers who are often able to reclaim the fee from their academic institutions.

The ducal Library is an antiquarian resource and, although on view in the Castle, it is not available for general research. Its catalogue and that of the Archives can be read online, following the links on the Castle web site

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Access to the library is by appointment, visit

Cass Sculpture Foundation was established in 1992 and was conceived as a unique not-for-profit commissioning and educational organisation, providing a platform for emerging and mid-career artists to achieve new levels of ambition. The site is open to the public and home to an ever-changing display of sculptures that has included work by Antony Caro, Eduardo Paolozzi, Rachel Whiteread, Tony Cragg and Antony Gormley, as well as an exciting programme of exhibitions and educational events.

CASS's unique Permanent Collection houses over 450 maquettes and works on paper, gifted to the Foundation by artists as part of the commissioning process. These are artworks in their own right, but also reveal different artists’ approaches to this preparatory stage of the creative process, and the development of works from concept through to full-scale realisation.

The Archive provides a rich, in-depth insight into the commissioning and artistic process. It includes correspondence, sketches, photographs, documentation relating to the fabrication, sale and exhibition of works, press cuttings, ephemera, publications and audio-visual material.

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We offer archive tours, which can be booked in advance by emailing or calling 01243 538 449. For research enquiries please contact the Archivist Alice O'Hanlon on Please check our website for opening hours and further details:

The Cathedral Library, although a worthy repository of learning, has a chequered history. To quote Francis Steer, ‘Far too many books have been lost by war, salvage, fire, ignorance and indifference’. Much of the medieval library was dispersed during the Reformation; many books were lost during the Civil War. Thankfully the stock has been replenished by various donations and bequests, including the collection of Bishop Henry King.

The present library houses an eclectic collection of books, manuscripts, documents, photographs and pictures. It is rich in editions of works of the Church Fathers; many of the volumes are in their original bindings. There are many books on theology, along with early printed editions of Bibles and prayer books. Other subject represented include English and local history, topography, hymnology, liturgy and ecclesiastical and other biography.

Two examples of noteworthy texts: William Whittacker’s 1585 edition of the controversy between a leading Anglican apologist, Bishop John Jewel of Salisbury, and the Jesuit Thomas Harding. This work, printed in Geneva, has a polished calf binding inscribed in gold stamping. Also we have a beautiful Benedictine missal from 1481, ‘Office of the Holy Spirit’, here used for the cover of this leaflet. It contains some musical notation, is rubricated, and has an illuminated full-page painting of the crucifixion.

Find out more: Hours by appointment.

The Local Studies collection at Chichester library is countywide in scope and the 8000 items include books, street directories, maps, newspapers, newspaper cuttings, ephemera and periodicals. There are books covering most towns and villages in West Sussex as well as specific topics. Maps include large-scale 25inch sheets from the 1860s to the present day covering the Chichester district as well as county maps from 1575 to the 20th century. A collection of original or microfiche street directories cover Chichester, Bognor and surrounding areas and countywide Sussex directories from 1828 to 1938.

Local newspapers are available on microfilm or digitally.  Among the titles are the oldest county newspaper, the Sussex Weekly Advertiser from 1747, Sussex Agricultural Express from 1837 and West Sussex Gazette from 1860 as well as various Chichester and Bognor titles from 1860 to date.  Public access computers have searchable high resolution pdf newspapers covering all parts of West Sussex for the periods 1914-25 and 1939-45.  Ephemera and newspaper cuttings files cover topics and places across the county.  Sussex periodicals include Sussex Archaeological Collections, Sussex County Magazine and Sussex Record Society volumes and local titles such as Chichester History.

Chichester library has free internet access available via wifi or public access computers, the latter having Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.  There are also free scanning facilities plus study space.

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Further details at and search for History and Heritage. A great deal of free online resources at: Hours: by appointment.

The core of the Fishbourne Roman Palace research library was donated to the site in 2014 by Patrick Crosbie, a historian who had spent a lifetime building this impressive collection. The Crosbie collection focusses on all aspects of Roman life and Roman history, and is augmented by the Palace’s own collection of volumes on local and practical archaeology. It contains nearly 2000 volumes in total and is likely the most extensive Roman/archaeological library in the region. In addition it contains a variety of archaeological and historical journals, including a nearly complete set of Sussex Archaeological Collections.

The library includes site reports for all of the key local archaeological sites, and is complemented by the site’s own reserve collection of artefacts and paper archive from these sites.  While volumes cannot be taken off site, a research room is available and photocopying facilities can be provided by arrangement (for which a charge may be applicable).

A searchable catalogue is available at the Palace, and a non-searchable version can be found on the Fishbourne Roman Palace website:

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The library can be accessed free of charge from Monday to Friday during the site’s normal trading hours by appointment with the curator (

The Novium Museum is the collecting museum for the administrative area of Chichester District Council and cares for an estimated 500,000 items, telling the story of the district over the past 500,000 years. The collection is comprised of material consisting of archaeology, social history (including ephemera), art, photographs, geology, oral history and a small collection of ethnographic material.  The museums social history collection contains items relating to domestic, community and work life from the 17th-21st Century. Highlights include factory and advertising material relating to Shippams, material relating to significant local industries and activities including leather tanning, brewing and soft drink production, woolstapling, coach building, policing, the livestock market and the tramway.

The collections of The Novium have particular strengths in archaeology. Collection highlights include prehistoric ritual material, major late Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon cemetery groups, items from several Roman villas, and finds from urban and rural sites of all periods. The museums photograph collection contains images dating from the 19th-21st centuries in a number of different photographic media.  Highlights include photographs relating to the Graylingwell Hospital, Shippams factory, street scenes from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, depictions of local events, farming scenes and the livestock market.

The museum also contains a small collection of paintings, prints and engravings by local artists or depicting local scenes. The museums reference library contains books, journals, guides and other publications.  Subjects range from general literature on archaeology, geology, the romans and medieval life to specific publications on events, people and places within the District. We also hold publications that link to items in the museum’s collections.

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Email: Access to the collections by appointment only.

Pallant House Gallery presents new perspectives on British art from 1900 to now. The Library and Archive reflects the Gallery’s extensive and continuously developing collection of Modern British art.

The Library has nearly 19,000 volumes, with an emphasis on Modern British art and artists in the Gallery’s collection, other art periods and movements; painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking; medium, technique and method; and includes over 8,000 exhibition catalogues, rare publications, monographs and biographies, press cuttings and ephemera.

The Archive relates to the artists and collectors associated with the Gallery. Of note are Colin St John Wilson’s Papers; R.B.Kitaj and the Kelpra Press Correspondence; the Hans Feibusch Studio Archive; the Clare Neilson/Paul Nash Collection; the George Dannatt Collection; Charles Kearley Papers; and the Kit Barker Archive. These contain unique materials such as correspondence, artist’s sketchbooks, scrapbooks and notebooks, and photographs. There is also an archive relating to the history of Pallant House Gallery and its development.

Visitors to the Gallery are welcome to visit the Reading Room. Researchers wishing to use the Library and Archive need to make an appointment.

Find out more:

Email: Tel: 01243 770829

Tangmere Military Aviation Museum is located on the site of the old RAF airfield made famous in the Battle of Britain and still utilises some of the original service buildings. Since opening in 1982, the museum has expanded to include a collection of historic British aircraft and a great many associated artefacts displayed in five exhibition halls. As well as preserving historic military hardware, the museum also endeavours to tell the human story of those who have served their country through first hand stories and personal memorabilia.

For historians and researchers, the museum can offer access to its extensive library and archives not on view to the general public. These include aircrew log books, personal letters, service documents and photographs. The Peter Wright Memorial Library houses more than 4,000 books and periodicals on all aspects of military aviation, including fine collections of aviators’ biographies, squadron histories, technical manuals and wartime Air Ministry publications.

The museum is entirely staffed by volunteers, so access to both the Archive and Library requires a prior appointment. This is to ensure there is a member of the curatorial department available to provide access and assistance.

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To arrange an appointment please e-mail the Museum Archivist at For more information visit:

The University houses several notable and diverse collections that encompass numerous subjects of education; literature; performance; history and theology.  It is also the home of The Anita White Foundation: International Women and Sport Archive. These collections are complemented by materials, which document the history and development of the University from 1839 to the present day. Significant biographical collections incorporate artists from the twentieth Century namely; the illustrator and author Gladys Peto; ceramist Eric Melon; artists such as Gillian and Clarence Whaite.

Many of the theological texts belonged to the former Chichester Theological College, along with Professor James Dunn and the Bishop Kemp.  These specialist collections cover doctrinal theology of the 19th and 20th century; the life of Saint Paul; and ministerial theology respectively.  The Gerard Young Collection relates to West Sussex with specific reference to the history of Bognor Regis and its immediate area. The John Fines collection holds published works by this academic local historian. Relating to literature and performance, the Sean McCarthy Collection traces the development of the theatre and music hall, whilst the Ted Walker archives include documents relating to this local author, poet and playwright.

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Further information is available at For bookings and enquiries please e-mail:, or telephone via the main reception (Support and Information Zone) on 01243 816222.

The library contains just over 25,000 items, including books dating from the early 19th century to new publications, and current issues of journals, magazines, and newsletters. It specialises in subjects relevant to the museum’s interests in four categories: Building = vernacular architecture, conservation, building materials; Environment = local and social history, agriculture, horticulture, crafts and industries; Museums and heritage sites = policy, background, guide books from around the world; the Worshipful Company of Plumbers collection. Use of the library is by appointment – email Enquiries for information can often be answered by email by the library volunteers. A summary of the catalogue which allows searches by keywords can be found on The artefact collections - a very strong and comprehensive range of some 15,000 artefacts which cover a diverse range of subject matter, including building parts and trades tools; agriculture and land management; transport and vehicles plus many other rural trades and crafts.

A comprehensive database of the artefacts collections is currently under construction and will soon be available via the website The archive is a large collection of notes, reports, photographs, maps and other material relating to vernacular architecture including the buildings re-erected at the Museum.

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For more detailed study of the artefacts and for the archive please contact the Curator . Hours by appointment.

West Dean College, formerly home to Surrealist patron and poet Edward James, is now internationally recognised for creative arts and conservation education offering 700 short courses as well as Foundation, Diploma and Masters degrees awarded by the University of Sussex.

The Library is dedicated to supporting research and creativity in the disciplines of the creative arts and conservation. The collection is a dedicated Fine, Decorative and Applied Arts Library and principally supports the range of courses delivered at West Dean College. The Library includes approximately 11,000 books, journals and electronic resources. The collection specialises in material related to Crafts, Decorative Arts, Horology, Surrealism, Conservation and Museology.

We are a small library and will do our best to accommodate your request.  However, admission for external researchers is at the discretion of the Librarian and by appointment only. Please do not make special travel arrangements until your appointment has been confirmed. We do welcome external researchers but do request as part of the admission policy that researchers give some indication of the nature of the research interest. This ensures that we have the appropriate material and that it is available for consultation.

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Admission and Access Policy: Please consult the website for more information on West Dean College, opening hours and details on how to travel to the College.  Contact details: Tel: +44 (0)1243 818246 Email: Website:

Since 1946 West Sussex Record Office has been collecting, preserving, and providing access to unique documents relating to the history of the county of West Sussex. The eight miles of archives held by the Record Office are county-wide in scope and date back over 1200 years.

The many rich and varied collections include the great estate and family archives of the county, the Cathedral and Diocese, the Royal Sussex Regiment, the records of church and chapel, towns and villages, businesses and schools. These archives sit alongside the records of hospitals and courts, organisations and societies, personal and family papers, as well as the archives of the County Council itself. Together they tell the remarkable story of the history of West Sussex and its people from the earliest written record to the present day.

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Further information about collections, opening hours, and the Record Office's online catalogue, can be found at The Record Office also regularly blogs about collection highlights and events at