A to Z search:

Victorian West Sussex

About Victorian West Sussex

The Victorian West Sussex content has been created by West Sussex County Council Library Service. It is the first product of the West Sussex History elearning Project.

The content supports the following QCA History Schemes of Work at Key Stage 2:

  • Unit 11 What was it like for children living in Victorian Britain?
  • Unit 12 How did life change in our locality in Victorian times?

Principal topics with learning activities are:
Census, Leisure, Portraits, Poverty, Schooling, Town Trails, Trade & Industry, Transport, Work and Summary of Changes (early/later Victorian period).

There is additional material in the Source Gallery (including film clips) pertaining to Clothing, Cottage Life and Music.

Learning activities

We provide classroom-ready learning activities, arranged by topic, for teachers of Key Stage 2 History based on QCA Schemes of Work (see Introduction above for details). Each activity consists of digitised local history sources plus supporting resource documents. Every local history source and resource document can be downloaded, saved and printed. 

The digitised local history sources include images and original documents such as advertisements, census returns, guidebooks, maps, newspaper articles, posters, trade directories, plus audio versions of printed or written sources and specially created video clips.

Resource documents include Starter, Main and Plenary Activities (effectively lesson plans), Teachers’ Notes supporting each learning activity, and Children’s Activity Sheets. Background For Teachers provides historical notes for each topic. All resource documents can be saved in MS Word, enabling you to adapt them to your own needs.

How to use learning activities

To find learning activities for use in the classroom, use the navigation on the left, and click on ‘Topics’. This displays the following topics: 

Leisure, Portraits, Poverty, Schooling, Work (Unit 11)
Census, Town Trails, Trade & Industry, Transport, Summary of Changes (Unit 12)

Click on any of these topics to look at an introductory page to this topic, for example, Leisure. This page contains downloadable Word documents:

  • Background for Teachers, containing several pages of information about the subject, West Sussex developments and often facts and figures
  • Summary of Activities in this topic, containing a 2 or 3 line summary of the educational aims and relevance of each activity within this Topic

Click on the box with the Activity name; such as Victorian Toys. This page contains everything you need to teach a lesson using this activity:

  • Starter Activities: usually several alternative suggestions on how to begin the lesson.
  • Main Activities: several alternatives for more substantial learning activities.
  • Plenary: one or more ways in which you can conclude the lesson and summarise the information obtained and analysed by the children.
  • You can download and print a copy of all the Starter, Main and Plenary Activities by clicking on the Word icon to their right.
  • Sources: below left, thumbnails of local history sources which are used in this activity: click on any thumbnail or icon to view, save and/or print an enlarged version of the source; this version also has a link to the ‘whiteboard' option which displays images without the border and in a larger size that can be projected onto the whiteboard. Note: To save time and paper you can view, save and print smaller versions of all of the sources for a particular Activity by clicking on the link ‘View and print all sources’.
  • Resources: on the right are Teachers’ Notes, Children’s Activity Sheet(s) and occasionally an Extension Activity such as Schooling: Attending School - Absenteeism. These have been written for the particular activity, listing the specific local history Sources used and providing further information.

Our Technical Help section details advice on downloading documents, images, audio and video files.

Source gallery

The source gallery contains all local history sources used in the learning activities, together with many additional images and other material. The Gallery may also be searched by keyword to locate particular sources. Try searching by place, for example Bognor, or by topic, for example train. The sources found can be re-sorted by type by clicking on the phrase top right; for example try searching for Worthing and then re-sorting the sources by type. Note large numbers of sources found may take over 10 seconds to display – please be patient!

The Gallery - anyone who does not wish to follow the learning activities suggested to download any of the hundreds of sources on the site for use in their existing lesson plans.

Similarly, non-teachers are welcome to download, save and print any of the sources for private research. See Copyright statement below.



Partners in the project include the County Record Office, Heritage Lottery Fund, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) Children’s Services, WSCC Schools Library Service and West Sussex Museums Development Team.

The following museums and other institutions kindly supplied images and information: Amberley Working Museum, Chichester District Museum, Arundel Museum, East Grinstead Town Museum, Marlipins Museum (Shoreham-by-Sea), Mechanical Music and Doll Museum (Chichester), The National Archives (formerly Public Record Office), Petworth Cottage Museum, Petworth House (Lord Egremont), Steyning Museum, Weald and Downland Open Air Museum and Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.

  • Paul Frattaroli, Project Officer     
  • Gill Tucker, Project Officer     
  • Caroline Adams, West Sussex Record Office
  • Emma Ball, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery   
  • Martin Bazley, elearning consultant
  • Arabella Chippindal-Higgin, audio recordings    
  • Nick Clark, Screen Archive South East    
  • Victoria Cook, teacher consultant, Chesswood School
  • Jane Dore, WSCC Library Service, audio recordings 
  • Martin Hayes, Project Manager, West Sussex County Council Library Service
  • Ron Iden, West Sussex Record Office, town trail  
  • Timothy J. McCann, West Sussex Record Office, audio recordings
  • Dave Martin, history consultant     
  • Phoebe Mattocks, teacher consultant, Chesswood School
  • Mike Morten, WSCC Library Service, audio recordings
  • Jane Nash, West Sussex Museums Development Team
  • Hilary Newman, West Sussex County Council Schools Library Service 
  • David Nicholls, photographer 
  • Kate Rose, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery
  • Mally Wastnage, WSCC Library Service, audio recordings
  • Tim Watts, teacher consultant, St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School 
  • Alun Williams, ICTS, West Sussex County Council
© Copyright 2016 West Sussex County Council, County Hall, Chichester PO19 1RQ.

  • Bengali
  • Hindi
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu
  • Pashto
  • Gujarati

Privacy policy | Disclaimer | Site map
Site implementation by Unified Solutions Logo Unified Solutions Ltd