Durham Miners' Gala

(redirected from Durham Big Meeting)

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
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
He was to the end the driving force that helped to galvanise and maintain support and pride of place for the Durham Big Meeting in the calendar of great working class gatherings.
Dan says: "All the artwork and music videos are based on the former mining communities and their village banners - and Dave has spent a great deal of time, with the help of local artists and heritage film archives of the Durham Big Meeting, in getting the message of the band across."
"The brass band members play at Durham Big Meeting each year so this is something different for them and the brass-loving public to enjoy."
Distinctively, I relished the Durham Big Meeting once a year as this banner, to a child, seemed to come alive and was paraded along the whole of Derwent Street at the head of a brass colliery band blasting out wonderful, stirring tunes.
Up to 100,000 attended Saturday's 128th Durham Big Meeting at which Ed Miliband was among the speakers, the first Labour leader to address the gathering since Neil Kinnock in 1989.
At the Durham Big Meeting next Saturday children from the school will march with their parents and teachers through Bowburn when the village's larger new banner will also be on parade for the first time
Audiences from Auckland to Wellington, Canberra to Sydney will be regaled with tales of Durham Big Meeting, the Easington Mining Disaster and Coal Town Days when Jez Lowe tours Australia and New Zealand in February and March.
It is due to go on display in the town's Millennium Centre before its first public outing at the Durham Big Meeting on July 8.
BIG PARTY LABOUR leader Ed Miliband won't be there, but that won't spoil the party for the tens of thousands flocking to the 127th Durham Big Meeting today.
Doreen and husband Bryan wrote to Mr Benn, the former MP for Chesterfield, asking him to perform the ceremony and he agreed as he was in the region for today's Durham Big Meeting. Jack, who worked at Cotia all his life, is featured on the banner alongside Jock Purdon, a pit deputy who set up his home in Chester-le-Street after moving from his native Scotland.
A UNION boss challenged a Labour MP to a public debate on compensation for miners and on his own salary at the Durham Big Meeting on Saturday.
Last year at the Durham Big Meeting 50,000 miners' families and supporters met in celebration of the collective spirit of Trade Unionism and to remember with pride a remarkable past.

Full browser ?