The Durham Miners Gala in Durham City

The 135th Durham Miners' Gala aka ‘The Big Meeting’ will take place this Saturday 13 July. The annual gathering has been held on the second Saturday of July in Durham City since 1871 and this weekend as always promises to be another fantastic event.

The Durham Miners' Gala in Durham City every July

Durham Miners' Gala - The Big Meeting

In the 1800’s Durham was the leading producer of coal in England, firing the Industrial Revolution and whilst Durham’s landscape today shows little signs of this once extensive industry, the heritage of coal is still very much alive in our county.
There’s a vast array of award-winning attractions throughout Durham which celebrate our proud mining past, so why not pop in and see one whilst in Durham for the Big Meeting?!

Beamish Museum 1900s Pit Village and Colliery

Beamish – The Living Museum of the North

No recreation of the history of the North of England would be complete without paying homage to the people who worked down the pits. At Beamish visitors can experience what life was like for miners and their families in the 1900s at Beamish Museum’s 1900s Pit Village and Colliery.

Explore the miners cottages, try delicious fish and chips at Davy’s Fried Fish Shop, cooked the traditional way in coal-fired ranges using beef dripping or take a trip down the drift mine and experience the reality of a miners life underground.

The Norman Cornish Trail at Spennymoor Town Hall

Durham Mining Museum

Spennymoor Town Hall, in the Vale of Durham houses the Durham Mining Museum, a dedicated memorial to the works and lives lost during the mining period across the county.
Visitors can view mining artefacts and models of mining machinery as well as experience working conditions of miners in a simulated underground coalface and tunnel. 

The Town Hall also hosts a large permanent collection of Spennymoor’s most famous artist’s work; Norman Cornish. The Coming Home exhibition features a selection of original pieces of his work, some never seen before loaned by Northumbria University, the Town Council and the Cornish Family. There is also a large selection of original work by Norman Cornish for sale.

The underground tunnel at Killhope

Killhope – The North of England Lead Mining Museum

Killhope is a multi-award winning 19th century mining museum in the heart of the stunning North Pennines AONB, where visitors can experience the life and work of lead mining families.

Famous for its iconic working waterwheel, Killhope offers families an immersive historic experience, especially if you are brave enough to enter the underground Victorian mine. Visitors can also sleep under the breath-taking starry sky of the Durham Dales in one of Killhope’s three yurts, sleeping up to 15 people.

Redhills Hall in Durham City

Redhills

Redhills is the Miners Hall in Durham City and is known as one of the finest trade union buildings in Britain and is still the headquarters of the Durham Miners Association today. Once known as the ‘pitman’s parliament’.

Redhills regularly hosts community and cultural events.Visitors can enjoy a programme pre-bookable of events throughout the year at Redhills including live music and lectures, as well as guided tours around this fascinating building. 

boys on a fence by Norman Cornish

The Mining Art Gallery

The Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland is the first permanent gallery dedicated to Mining Art in the UK. The gallery, part of The Auckland Project, is home to the renowned Gemini Collection of Mining Art, which includes works by prominent local artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish.

Visitors can enjoy the gallery’s newest special exhibition; Norman Corish – A Slice of Life. Co-curated by the Cornish family and community members from Norman’s home town of Spennymoor. This temporary exhibition offers a new and fresh insight into Norman’s work, showing how his work continues to resonate with the very same community that lives on today (on display until 5 January 2020). 

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