New beer raises a glass to magnificent miners’ hall and Silksworth pitman
A new beer has been launched with a special significance for one of the people producing it.
As well as pleasing the pub-goers’ palate, Redhills Red Ale is being made to highlight the appeal to renovate Redhills, the magnificent miners’ hall in the City of Durham, which was the heart of the mining community of the Durham coalfields.
The beer has great personal significance to David Snaith from Sunderland business manager at the Barnard Castle Brewing Co which is producing the 4.3% ABV ale.
David’s father Matthew Snaith, who died in 2008, was a lifelong miner who worked at Silksworth Colliery and later Wearmouth Colliery, where the Stadium of Light now stands.
Matthew was also an accomplished musician as a trombone player and dedicated member of the Silksworth Colliery Brass Band, the band became Third Section National Brass Band Champions in 1982.
David, a former Ryhope Comprehensive pupil, was also a member of the band as both cornet player and drummer, then later for the Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band, where he met and struck-up a friendship with Kevin Carr, the brewery's head brewer and another Sunderland lad.
The Grade II listed Redhills Durham Miners’ Hall first opened in 1915. Construction was funded by 150,000 members of the Durham Miners Association (DMA). It houses the Pitman’s Parliament, where elected delegates met for generations.
From Redhills, the DMA created a social system across County Durham, which then included Sunderland, providing education, sickness and unemployment benefits, retirement homes, medical care, community centres, libraries, and sports fields.
David Snaith said: “We’re delighted to take this opportunity to produce a beer that promotes the Redhills Appeal; a building that signifies the shared mining heritage of families all around the North East of England."
In April the crumbling Durham Miners’ Hall was given a “life-saving” £4.5 million grant to preserve it and help continue the history of the North East’s colliery culture.
Durham County Council is providing £1.1 million of matched funding toward the £7.25 million project, with the DMA raising the remaining £1.65 million from trades unions and other supporters.