Durham Miners Gala Week History Programme 1 – 7 July

Miners’ Hall, Red Hills, Flass Street, Durham City, DH1 4BE.

All events and activities are open to everyone and are free.

Saturday 1 July. 10am – 3pm. Redhills Open Day

Come share and celebrate Durham’s mining heritage. Explore the ‘Pitman’s Parliament’ and beautiful grounds.  Guided tours 10.30am; 12pm; and 1.30pm.  Exhibition of children’s work from Great Lumley Juniors’ School exploring their mining heritage. Free. Refreshments (Tea, coffee, biscuits, scones, etc.) will be available for a small donation. For further information or to book a bespoke guided tour contact:


Tuesday  4 July. 1.30– 3pm. Workers Education Association:

history & heritage branch

A tour of the building will be followed by a presentation by Kath Connelly on the work of Education 4 Action, followed by a meeting to formalise the constitution of the WEA History & Heritage Branch.

Followed by 3– 5pm. Film Screening – Asunder

A film by Esther Johnson. Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover just what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballer. The narrative moves from and Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress.  In the battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror.

6-7pm. Tour of the building followed by Sid Chaplin’s Durham: a voyage around my father

Talk by for Michael Chaplin for North East Labour History Society.

Last year Michael edited a new collection of Sid’s poems, short stories and essays written in the 1940’s when he was a pitman at Dean and Chapter in Ferryhill. It was published in the autumn to mark his birth centenary. Born in County Durham Michael Chaplin is a theatre, radio, television and non-fiction writer and former television producer and executive.

Thursday 6 July. From 5pm. Strikes, Protest & Solidarity

Evening of literature, music, talks, film and poetry

5–6pm. Book Launch: Justice Denied: Friends, Foes and the Miners’ Strike

Book written by former miners and radical academic researchers, the majority of whom were participants in the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Britain.  ‘It is particularly welcome today as calls intensify, despite the attempts by the establishment to silence them, for a public enquiry into the policing of picketing at Orgreave.  Not only is it a marvellous account of the bravery of the men and women and their allies during one of the longest industrial strikes in British history, it is also testimony to the resilience of mining communities in the face of state repression.’

6–7pm. Pit Camps

Flis Callow and Caroline Poland, who were active in Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures in 1984/85, and in the 1992/93 struggle to keep the pits open after Heseltine’s announcement to close 31 more pits, will present and share their experiences of the Houghton Main Pit Camp in 1993. They are currently gathering archive material and stories about Houghton Main Pit Camp in Yorkshire, as well as the other 6 pit camps set up in 1993. This is a little known story they hope to tell in a book written in conjunction with Gary Rivett and Sheffield University’s ‘History of Activism’ project. They will be interested to hear from anyone involved in any of the other pit camps.

7-7.30pm. North East Socialist Singers

7.30pm – 9.30pm. Mining the Memories  

The ‘Mining the Memories’ project supported ex-miners and former colliery community members in South Yorkshire to write and produce a series of short films which tell their stories of the 1984/85 miners strikes and the continued legacy the decline in the coal mining industry is having on their communities. In total 5 original short dramas, 1 original animation and 2 documentaries. One documentary focuses on the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and their continued fight for justice, the other focuses on Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire.

Friday 7 July. From 2pm. Poverty is Political

Exploration of  Red Hills, followed by talks, film and lecture exploring issues about inequality.

4.30– 5.30pm. Hunder Pains

Author Kayleigh Garthwaite volunteered with a Teesside food bank for two years, a time which inspired her acclaimed book ‘Hunger Pains’. Kayleigh shall share her work and research exploring food bank culture and poverty within austerity Britain. You are invited to share your thoughts and experiences.

5.30–6.30pm. The Davy Hopper Memorial Lecture with Ken Loach

6.30–7pm. The forgotten workers: low paid work and multiple employment

Dr Jo McBride (Newcastle University) and Dr Andrew Smith (Bradford University) will talk about their concerns relating to low-paid work, wage inequalities, the rise of unstable jobs and in-work poverty.

7.30pm. Film Ke Loach’s The Spirit of 45

For more information about the Friends of the Durham Miners’ Gala, please visit



About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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