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

Online exhibition - Hetton Coal Company, 1820

'Adventurers and Pirates - The Hetton Coal Company, 1820' complements our recent Third Thursday Talk by John Banham

Thank you to everyone who joined us on 19 November for our Third Thursday Talk by John Banham: 'Adventurers and Pirates - The Hetton Coal Company, 1820'. About 90 people participated online, from as far afield as the USA and Japan. It was great to reach new audiences and we now have a better plan to manage unforeseen technical difficulties at the start of future online sessions.

Hetton Colliery railway, c.1823 (NCB I/X 37) - Copyright © Durham County Record Office.

At the end of John's talk we told you that we would publish an online exhibition to complement his research and this is now live on our website:

'Adventurers and Pirates' - Hetton Coal Company, 1820.

Enjoy a virtual look at some of the great archives in our collections.

Two hundred years ago, the Hetton Coal Company created the breakthrough that allowed the development of the East Durham Coalfield. It also built a railway which used George Stephenson's steam locomotives three years before the opening of the Stockton & Darlington railway.

However, the business methods employed were sometimes questionable and this talk will look at the men who were seen as "adventurers and pirates" by one contemporary.

The Hetton partners are not well-known figures but they had a big impact on the history of County Durham.


We expect to announce more online events for 2021 in the near future.

Thank you for supporting us through these unusual times.

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