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Sussex’s rare copy of American Declaration of Independence displayed for POTUS at Downing Street

The Sussex Declaration – a rare copy of the American Declaration of Independence – has been displayed in No 10 Downing Street during the Presidential State Visit to the UK.

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The Declaration is one of only two contemporary handwritten ceremonial parchment manuscript copies, the other being the signed copy housed in the National Archives in Washington D.C.

Wendy Walker and Louise Goldsmith examining the Sussex Declaration.

West Sussex County Archivist Wendy Walker will be delivering a short presentation to Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump about the document and its historical significance.

Wendy said:
“It is a huge privilege to speak to the President about this important piece of West Sussex history. It further demonstrates the close ties between the UK and the US spanning more than three centuries.”

Great efforts were taken to transport the document from the Record Office in Chichester to Downing Street this week. A conservation expert from the National Conservation Service was involved and a specially-designed exhibition case, previously used for the Magna Carta, was loaned by Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust to display the historic document.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: 

“West Sussex County Council is the guardian of the county’s history and we are all so proud of the considerable work the Record Office does to protect, conserve and preserve the heritage of West Sussex. The significance of the Sussex Declaration cannot be underestimated and we are thrilled it has helped in demonstrating the country’s transatlantic ties. It’s a historical treasure that we are very honoured to house in West Sussex.”

In the event of celebrations to mark 250 years since the declaration of independence, the Record Office is keen to explore options for this important historical document to form part of the commemorations in 2026. We look forward to being part of future work with both the UK and US governments and academic institutions, to celebrate transatlantic ties and the richness of our shared heritage.

Education

Crawley school honoured to be visited by Holocaust survivor

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Students from The Gatwick School were fascinated to hear from a survior from the Holocaust when he made a visit to the school earlier this week.

Survivor John Hajdu, who was born in 1937, came to the school to speak about his experience of the Holocaust in Budapest, Hungary.

His forty minute talk fascinated the students who were clearing moved by what he had to ssay.

The testimony was followed by a question and answer session to enable students to better understand the nature of the holocaust and to explore it’s lessons in more depth. 

The visit was part of the Holocaust Educational Trust Outreach Program

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