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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

What's on

Information about family history and local history events in the Record Office.

See Events in our online shop for latest details of forthcoming courses and talks.

Family History courses

Family History for Beginners is a three-week course that runs on weekday mornings or evenings throughout the year. Perfect for budding genealogists looking for some help to get started, each course is led by an archivist and costs £30. All sessions run for 1.5 hours.

Branching Out sessions are designed for people who are  happy with the family history basics. They run on weekday mornings and evenings throughout the year.

Each two-hour session combines an introduction to popular topics, such as Parish Registers or Tracing 20th Century Relatives, with about an hour of browsing time, when you can use the microfilm and computers, browse the library and explore the Record Office in a structured and supportive environment. Branching Out sessions cost £10 each.

You'll find full details of forthcoming courses and how to book on the Record Office online shop.

Third Thursday talks

Our programme of 'Third Thursday' talks offers fascinating new insights into the archive collections at Durham County Record Office. Presented by local archivists and guest speakers, this is your opportunity to hear experts sharing their discoveries about the archive collections they know and love.

Talks are held in the Record Office search room on the third Thursday of alternate months.

Lunchtime talks run for 45 minutes, from 12.30pm to 1.15pm, and are free (donations welcome on the day).

Evening talks run for 1.5 hours, from 6.30pm to 8pm, and cost £5.

See Events in our online shop for latest details.


There are two free exhibitions in the corridor leading to the Record Office search room.

Treasures from the archives

On the right hand side there's a permanent exhibition showcasing some of the treaures from our archive collections, including charters, estate maps, pit pony photos, an illustrated travel journal and the vivid artwork of a Durham Light Infantry First World War chaplain.

NHS 70

On the left hand side you'll find a temporary exhibition which is usually on display for several months. Our current exhibition 'NHS 70' celebrates the National Health Service's achievements since its foundation in 1948.

Group of district nurses at a Queen's Institute of District Nursing medal presentation ceremony, County Durham c. 1928 (D/X 803/5)

Arranged in three sections, the first part presents the audience with health problems typical for the area, caused by difficult housing conditions in so called 'Category D' villages. It is also interesting to note that by the 1950s special diets for obesity were already in existence. We have included various statistics showing the health issues in our region and how County Durham compares with the rest of the country.

The second part focuses on the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS with a timeline of the most important changes and achievements over the years. We have also added some interesting facts about the NHS and health in general.

The third part takes us back in time before the NHS was established to show how society organised itself to support the poor and the sick without any nationwide system in place.

The NHS is made up of extraordinary people and the 70th anniversary is a great opportunity to celebrate them. Under 70s, who have never known life without the NHS, may be interested to see how previous generations managed before the introduction of free, universal healthcare. The exhibition also shows that many of the problems the NHS faces now are not as recent as we may think.

This will be on display until the end of 2018.

Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.