Delve into Sunderland and Durham’s mining history

Durham Big Meeting
Durham Big Meeting
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A PUBLIC talk aims to delve deep into the rich history of the region’s miners’ banners.

The colourful homages to our industrial heritage and their history will be the topic of a public meeting at Grey College, Durham, on Sunday, February 16.

The talk, called Banners of the Durham Coalfield, by Norman Emery, will also commemorate the 132th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange mining disaster in which 69 men and boys lost their lives.

Mr Emery, whose father was a pitman, and who is an archaeologist at Durham Cathedral, has written books about miners and their traditions, including Coalminers of Durham and Banners of the Durham Coalfield.

He said: “Banners are the miners’ battle-standards, proclaiming graphic messages of hope and calls for social justice; recording more vividly than any other art form the history of the struggle for working-class rights.”

In addition to their social background, Mr Emery will talk about the wide range of banners of the Durham coalfield: their manufacture, the inspiration behind their designs, their mottos and their use from the formation of the Durham Miners’ Association in 1869 to the strike of 1984/5 and the subsequent destruction of the coalfield.

The display of 100s of miners banners at the Durham Miners Gala now regularly attracts more than 100,000 people to the city every July.

Prior to the talk, Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band will perform in Fountains Hall, Grey College, from 2.15pm. Admittance is free.