North East Connected

Meet the “Guests of Queen Victoria” this week

History fans will this week be taken on a journey back to the Victorian era and inside the grim walls of Durham Prison to meet the “Guests of Queen Victoria.”

The 1851 census listed 226 people as being at her majesty’s pleasure in the city and a talk this Thursday at Durham County Record Office will explore the justice system that led to their imprisonment, while examining some of their stories in detail. 

Dawn Layland, education and outreach archivist at Durham County Council, said: “The Victorian justice system is fascinating and this talk will take a look at it through the eyes of the people who were caught up in it right here in County Durham.”

The event is the first in a series of talks taking place on the third Thursday of January, March, May and August.

Future talks will feature topics including highwaymen and striking miners; letters to George Bowes; dirt, death and disease in Durham City in the 1900s; and “a bit of a historian and a philosopher: the Teesdale Hermit.”

Dawn said: “These talks are an easy and enjoyable way for local historians, or anyone with an interest in history, to find out more about our county’s past.”

The Guests of Queen Victoria talk takes place from 12.30pm to 1.15pm on Thursday 21 January.

Tickets, which cost £2, must be booked in advance by calling 03000 267626.

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