Gigs will help secure the future of Durham miners' hall

The Pitman's Parliament is to play host to a series of gigs as its leaders work to return it back to the community who founded it.

Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd January 2018, 10:30 am
The hall of Durham Miners' Association in Redhills, which will be restored.

A campaign is under way to preserve the 102-year-old Redhills building in Durham for future generations and restore it to its original glory.

As part of the appeal, Durham Miners’ Association is raising funds to cover the cost of the work to its headquarters.

Richard Dawson. Photo by Sally Pilkington.

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The venue is preparing to host a night of music starring North East folk singer Richard Dawson and Pity Me punk band Onsind, which will be held on the evening of Friday, February 2.

Ross Forbes, who is managing the restoration project, said: “These concerts are all part of the renewal of Redhills.

“This is a project which will breathe new life into the historic miners’ hall.

“The aim is to return the hall to the coalfield community whose money paid for it in the first place, and to make it a place of performance and practice for musicians and artists of all kinds.

The outside of Redhills in Durham, which is the home of Durham Miners' Association.

“The council chamber - or Pitman’s Parliament - is a natural and spectacular theatre space.

“We aim to hold many fundraising events throughout 2018 to raise money for its restoration.”

February’s event is being put on in partnership with the Empty Shop, a non-profit organisation based in the city, under its Seagull and Circle gig promotion project, and fellow promoter Down By The River, led by Graham Grundy.

Carlo Viglianisi, of the Empty Shop, said: “The Redhills project has a lot of similar aims and values as Empty Shop - it’s very much community focused and is pretty much the definition of ‘by the people - for the people’, so we are really supportive of what they are trying to achieve and will be helping out where we can.

Onsind, illustrated by Jack Fallows.

“It’s also great for the city to have another usable space - especially one of this size.

“We will be using the building a lot more as a venue and helping them develop their offer as they aim towards a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for the preservation of the building itself.

“In true Empty Shop style it’s a collaboration.

“Down By The River is a local promoter who we’ve built a relationship with at Empty Shop HQ.

Richard Dawson. Photo by Sally Pilkington.

“We love Graham’s ethos, he’s in for the right reasons, and always delivers great shows that work for the artist and audience alike.

“When thinking about the bill we wanted something that brought traditional and contemporary sounds together, and which reflects a truly authentic North East voice - in that sense you won’t find better than Richard Dawson and Onsind.

“Redhills continues to be a powerhouse in terms of its political significance.

“There’s obviously a careful balance needed there for it to work for all audiences, but it’s important to embrace the working class heritage that runs through the veins of the place.

“At the same time, above all it needs to be an awesome gig. Richard Dawson and Onsind are two incredibly switched-on acts and we feel they are a perfect fit to kick off this first show.”

More details about the gig can be found via the Down By The River Facebook page and information on the Redhills restoration, which includes a seat sponsorship drive, can be found through

The outside of Redhills in Durham, which is the home of Durham Miners' Association.
Onsind, illustrated by Jack Fallows.