Old Ordnance Survey Maps of West Sussex

This page summarises the local government organisation of West Sussex since 1889.

  • West Sussex County Council was formed in 1889, and in 1894 a network of boroughs, urban district and rural district councils was formed across the county.
  • West Sussex had two Municipal Boroughs dating from 1836 (or before): Arundel and Chichester. Worthing became a Municipal Borough in 1890.
  • From 1894 there were also 4 Urban Districts: Bognor, Horsham, Littlehampton, New Shoreham (renamed Shoreham-by-Sea in 1910). New urban districts were created for Southwick (1899) and Crawley (1956). Urban Districts had similar powers to boroughs but lacked the powers to appoint mayors or aldermen.
  • In 1929 Bognor became Bognor Regis.
  • There were also 8 Rural District Councils covering the areas outside the major towns. These were: East Preston*, Horsham, Midhurst, Petworth, Steyning West*, Thakenham*, Westbourne*, Westhampnett* Rural Districts. Most Rural Districts were initially based on the Poor Law Unions, with meetings held at the workhouse.
  • In 1933 there was a reorganisation and the Rural Districts marked * were abolished. They were merged into adjacent districts, including 3 new Rural Districts: Chanctonbury, Chichester, and Worthing RDCs.
  • In 1974 major reorganisation saw the urban and rural districts abolished and a 2-tier structure established, with the County Council and 7 Districts: Adur, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex, and Worthing. Mid Sussex was largely formed of Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath, which were transferred from East Sussex.
  • In 1974 West Sussex and East Sussex became separate ceremonial counties.
  • The county town is Chichester, which has city status.
  • For a list of our West Sussex maps go to the West Sussex page, or for East Sussex to the East Sussex page. For a full list of English maps, return to the England page

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