Durham Miners' Gala

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Durham Miners' Gala

Second Saturday of July
With the emergence of coal mining in the 17th century, England began enjoying the fruits of a lucrative industry. But the miners did not always receive fair compensation. Soon after founding the first union in 1869, a group of mine workers in northern England initiated a campaign to lobby their pit bosses, who met regularly to set mining wages at the Royal County Hotel in the city of Durham.
Soon an annual tradition developed in which mine workers arrived at the hotel in grand style, bringing with them brass bands and colorful silk banners that identified their unions. What began as a formal protest became a grand party, and by 1871, the first official Durham Miners' Gala was held.
Today, the gala is less political in nature. It has become more of a heritage celebration of coal mining, an industry that has steadily decreased over the years. The event usually features about 30 community brass bands, which march through the streets of Durham with banners representing member organizations of the National Union of Mineworkers. The procession ends at the Racecourse of Durham University, where attendees gather to hear speeches from trade union leaders and politicians.
CONTACTS:
Durham Mining Museum
c/o Thornley Community Centre
Hartlepool St.
Thornley DH6 3AB UK
References in periodicals archive ?
THE Durham Miner's Gala, pictured below right, belongs among those great memories of history never to be forgotten - a brave contrast and 'smack on the face' for the ruling elite.
Mr Wilson took part in the Durham Miner's Gala on Saturday.
THERE was a time when the Durham Miner's Gala was - among other things - a demonstration of the unity which existed between the National Union of Miners and Labour MPs.
IN two weeks, Ed Miliband is due to become the first Labour leader to attend the Durham Miner's Gala in 23 years.
And there is still a week's worth of live music and films to go, including the Durham Miner's Gala on Sunday, July 14.

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