East Sussex Record Office holds documents relating to the area dating back 900 years. The Keep, where the Office is based, also offers access to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Local History Collections and the University of Sussex Special Collections.
These records include written records, maps and plans, prints and drawings, photographs and films, oral histories and digital and electronic records.
Whether you wish to research the history of a house, discover more about the history of your local community or research your family history, you will find the documents held of use. The knowledgeable and helpful staff on always on hand should you have any questions or require assistance.
East Sussex Record Office
For details of their opening hours, please visit their opening hours page.
The Office has a car park where there is space for 57 cars and one coach. There are also 10 disabled spaces.
Falmer Railway Station is the closest railway station to the Archive. If coming from Brighton, you have to go through the gates on platform 2 and then use the green coloured bridge to cross the railway.
You then have to go through the gates on platform 1, and proceed down the pathway and then turn right. There is a small tunnel which you walk under and then if you turn left The Keep is ahead of you. If coming from Lewes, follow the directions from platform 1.
Buses 23, 25, 28 and 5B stop nearby.
You are advised to book before visiting on a weekday, this being essential if you wish to visit on a Saturday to avoid disappointment when you arrive. Booking is especially important for people travelling a long distance.
As some documents are held off-site, you need to complete a viewing request form to tell the Archives what documents you need to access, and this should be done at least a week in advance of your visit.
You are able to use your own camera in the Office, but they make a charge to people taking advantage of this service. Some documents cannot be photographed because they are fragile and easily damaged.
Photocopies can be taken of documents and books, but restrictions apply as some books are fragile.
You are able to bring your laptop with you to the Archive, and can access their Wi-Fi. All desks are fitted with power points.
Several desktop computers are also available, providing access to many websites, including Ancestry, FindmyPast, British Library Newspapers Archive, The Times Archive and The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The building is fully accessible, with the reference and reading rooms situated on the ground floor. Access to all areas is step-free, and wheelchair accessible. A disabled toilet is also available.
Magnifying glasses can be accessed in the reading room, and guide dogs are welcome.
If you have any additional requirements, you are advised to contact the Office in advance of your visit.
You are welcome to eat your own food in their refreshments area. A vending machine dispensing hot and cold drinks and snacks is also accessible.
If you wish to have a more substantial meal, the Bridge Cafe is approximately 5-7 minutes walk from the Archive.
The Office offers a research service for people unable to visit in person.
The Office has a Twitter Account, @TheKeepArchives. They use this account to provide information regarding special events, their collections and any other family history related news.
You can also peruse their Facebook page at @thekeeparchives. Information regarding events and local and family history related news is provided on this page. They also respond to visitors' queries.
The Office is NOT a member of the CARN (County Archive Research Network), so you will need to register as a Reader before you can access any documents, but you can pre-register for a card before you visit so that you can order documents in advance.
On arrival at The Keep, you are required to go to the reception desk to complete your registration. Two pieces of ID are required to complete this process, one being a photo ID such as a passport or driving licence and the other providing details of your name and address like a bank statement, official letter, or utility bill. Your photograph will then be taken so that you can be issued with a card.
For further information regarding Record Offices in Sussex, please visit my page regarding West Sussex Archive.