QUIRKY historical records will come alive when monthly history talk sessions resume at Durham County Record Office.

Real accounts of adventure, arrest and a suspect sailor will be brought to life in the first session of the year on Thursday.

Keen historians won’t be disappointed, it promises a remarkable exploration of ‘Arrest on the High Seas – On the trail of a 19th-century embezzler.’

Led by David Butler – archivist at Durham County Record Office, the session will recount the arrest of William Robinson for embezzlement in 1851. Historical records reveal the intriguing case that ensued around the then evolving railway network.

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.

Mr Butler 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.”

Third Thursday Talk takes place on Thursday January 16 2020, from 12.30pm to 1.15pm.

Donations welcome, to book in advance. Book online at https://recordofficeshop.durham.gov.uk/pgEventResult or call 03000-267619.