A series of Durham history talks by Durham County Record Office resumes for 2020 with a look at a fascinating historical Durham court case.

The first Third Thursday Talk will bring to life a tale of adventure, arrest and a suspect sailor, entitled "Arrest on the High Seas - on the trail of a 19th Century embezzler".

The history talk series resumes for the New Year on Thursday January 16 2020, from 12.30pm to 1.15pm.

Led by archivist David Butler, the Durham County Record Office Third Thursday Talk history sessions will recount the arrest of William Robinson for embezzlement in 1851. Historical records held in the Durham County Record Office collection reveal the intriguing case that ensued around the evolving railway network.  

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Quirky details include a police officer disguised as a sailor, the secret boarding of a clipper bound for New York and an ingenious defence which failed to convince the jury.

David Butler, archivist at Durham County Record Office said: "Our archives are full of unique encounters and William Robinson's is certainly an exciting one. I discovered his story by chance when I was looking at the prisoners in Durham Prison on census night 1851, and William's case stood out as being a bit different from the run of robberies and assaults.

"I am excited to share not only the stories I encountered but to showcase how documents from our rich collection can bring to life people and experiences from the past."

Durham County Record Office Third Thursday Talks are free to attend although donations are welcome on the day. Places should be booked in advance. Book online at recordofficeshop.durham.gov.uk/pgEventResult or call 03000 267 619.

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