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Sunday, 15 July 2012


It was the annual Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday, so it was the 128th year of marching bands and banners.
We got up early and drove to the park and ride and then took the bus into the City of Durham. Neither of us had been before. DJ went last year but he was unable to reach the city because it was so crowded and the buses were not able to get back to pick people up. We now know that we can walk in anyway cos it's only a couple of miles and in fact we walked back to the car at the end of today.

There were about fifty brass/silver bands and about seventy banners. Not many of the old coal mining pit banners still survive or are carried, but here are some. Don't forget to click for enlargements if you want.

And here is another band.

The dignitaries always gather on the balcony of The County Hotel and cheer the bands and banners as they pass by. Miliband and Crow are the only two I can identify. Each band stops to play a tune, so you can imagine how long it takes to get everyone on their way to the old Racecourse down by the Wear River where it all ends up. About 100,00 people go to party on and listen to the speeches.                           

It was here that I found the Murton Colliery banner and the remains of the Murton Brass Band. This colliery, like all the others is now closed. It is the pit where my uncles, grandfather, great grandfather and great uncles all worked. One great uncle was killed in a pit accident at the age of 12 years. Two other great uncles have their names on the WW1 Cenotaph in the village, so they didn't work down the pit for much longer either.    

I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the day and although I hate crowds it was bearable and everyone was doing the same thing so there was a unity in the movement of the folk. We took a picnic and ate it on the grass and left as soon as the speeches started. Heard it all before, Brothers and Sisters! 
Walked slowly but gladly back to the car a couple of miles away and came gladly home to read the Saturday papers and do the big crossword.

Cheers Gillian


Lyn said...

Looks really interesting, those banners are works of art. Thanks for sharing it with us.

carol said...

Sounds ( and looks) like a lovely day out. I would really like to hear a good brass band in the open air again. Always the pipes up here!

Gillian said...

No worries Carol, the pipe bands went through here too! I just didn't have a pic of them.
Cheers Gillian

chillsider stitching and opinions said...

Lived in Durham for 3 years, but we went away each July/August to work on a digin Wales![that husband was an archaeology undergrad].Wondered what we had missed.Thanks said...

Never been though have heard bits about it over the years from my dad and uncles. We're a bit further south and it's always been gayler!