HomeEvents → Bury 2019 10 23 Wed Talk

Wednesday Talk: ‘Billy and Charley Forgeries’ by Robert Halliday

Billy Smith and Charley Eaton were ’mudlarks‘ in Victorian London, who searched the Thames for historic items they could sell to antique dealers and collectors. After doing this for several years they had the idea of forging antiquities.

Though the objects displayed a fantastic variety of errors and bore wholly nonsensical inscriptions, many leading experts were convinced of their authenticity, to a point where the debate led to a court case. The fraud was finally exposed by duplicitous skullduggery on the part of sceptical archaeologists.

Billy Smith and Charley Eaton’s productions, which resemble nothing made before or since, are now collector’s items, called ’Billys and Charleys‘ or ’Billy and Charley Forgeries‘. Come along to learn more about these historical figures and the crimes they committed.