Free Talk on Dickson Archer Thorp Jan. 10th 2019 . Book Now

Posted: 08.11.18

Sue Wood the Head of Collections at Woodhorn will be giving a talk on the fascinating Dixon Archer Thorp Project


             Attendance is free but numbers are strictly limited so book now 

                        For details and  to book go here 


A touring exhibition of one of the most important archives of Northumbrian social history is coming to Bailiffgate Museum & Gallery from 16th November.


The Dickson Archer & Thorp collection of documents spanning 200 years is rich in social, political and economic detail and uncovers many forgotten local stories. The tale of the scandalous Beresford Lisle, son of a prominent, wealthy family drunkenly abducting two Alnwick girls in 1907 and taking one against her will to Belgium. Tales of petty thieves transported to Australia in 1831: George Turnbull for 14 years for the theft of a ‘great coat’ and John Fletcher for 7 years for stealing 5lbs of mutton.


Dickson, Archer & Thorp was a solicitor’s practice set up in the late 18th Century in Alnwick. The practice had a wide client base from families with modest means to county families and the Dukes of Northumberland and the firm also dealt with criminal trials and provided advice to bodies such as the Overseers of the Poor. After the last partner, Reginald Thorp, died in 2003, over 400 archive boxes of documents were auctioned and Northumberland Archives was able to purchase the collection with grant funding.


Robert Thorp, Reginald’s son, recalls visiting his father’s office in General Lambert’s House on Narrowgate: “it was such a large building with plenty of dry storage rooms upstairs where so many of the old documents were kept. I remember hearing that some documents were recycled during the second World War but apart from that, very little was destroyed. I always felt like I was stepping back to Dickensian time when visiting my father at his firm”.


A Heritage Lottery Fund grant allowed a team of staff and volunteers at Northumberland Archives to catalogue the collection, prepare this touring exhibition and write a project blog. Jane Mann of Bailiffgate said “we are delighted to be able to host this exhibition so that local people and visitors can catch a glimpse of Alnwick social life over the last 200 years”.


The exhibition opens on 13th November until 20th January 2019. On 16th November there is a special free Private Viewing of the exhibition at 6pm which is open to Friends of the Bailiffgate and to members of the public. Booking is essential for the Private View. Please telephone Bailiffgate on 01665 605847 to secure a place. Places will be allocated on first come, first served basis.


A talk on this fascinating topic, by Sue Wood, Head of Collections at Northumberland Archive, will take place at the museum on January 10th at 7pm. Places are free but must be reserved on line at the museum, by calling in to the museum or ringing 01665 605847.