Murton Miners were pioneers in the formation of the Miners Union in County Durham. They were represented by Mr. T. Colledge at a meeting called at the Half-Way House
(a public house, later to become the Crossways) near Thornley on the 23rd September 1869.
The next meeting was held on Saturday 20th November 1869 in the Market Hotel in Durham City and is considered to be the real beginning of the Durham Miners Association (D.M.A), Murton Miners were again represented by a delegate at this meeting.
At a meeting held in Durham on the 12th February 1870 two Murton Miners, Mr. Martin Thompson and Mr. W. Anderson were appointed to the Executive Committee of the newly formed Durham Miners Association.
The first Murton Miners Banner (D.M.A.) recorded was carried at the 1872 Gala, it showed a miner with a pick and lamp and a coal owner with the lines “MASTER GIVE UNTO YOUR SERVANTS THAT WHICH IS JUST AND EQUAL, KNOWING THAT YE ALSO HAVE A MASTER IN HEAVEN” and “MANHOOD SUFFERAGE WE DEMAND”. The reverse showed a widow at the graveside and the line “OPRESS NOT THE FATHERLESS OR THE WIDOW”.
The Second Murton Miners (D.M.A.) Banner made in 1884 showed John Wilson Agent of the Durham Miners Association presenting a petition to Gladstone with McDonald, Crawford and Lloyd Jones present.
The third Murton Miners Banner (D.M.A.) Banner was made by George Tuthill in 1925 and was unfurled at Murton by Mr. Robert Dobson President of the Durham County Enginemen’s Association on the 18th July 1925. It had portraits of Ramsey McDonald, James Robson, James Grey and Rees Williams (Lodge President). The War Memorial and Aged Miners Homes were on the reverse. The portrait of Ramsey McDonald was painted over probably about the time of his involvement with the National Government in 1931.
We have do not have any photographs of these first three recorded banners or any knowledge of other Murton Banners that may have been made in the early years following the formation of the Miners Union. If you have any photographs or written accounts from the time please Contact Us.
The fourth Murton banner 1932 D.M.A. Banner made by George Tuthill at his City Road Works shows Murton War Memorial and Aged Miners Homes on the front with Conishead Priory Miners Convalescent Home on the reverse.
When the Durham Miners Association became part of the National Union of Mineworkers (N.U.M.) the banners after this time reflected the new title.
The fifth Murton Miners banner was made in 1955 by the Tuthill Company at Chesham and was unfurled by Lord Lawson of Beamish on the 15th July that year. It was designed by a local miner W.E.Ridley, it shows a Miner holding a book inscribed “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” and standing over the Houses Of Parliament with the words ” THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS”. The reverse shows Conishead Priory Miners Convalescent Home.
When a colliery closed it was traditional that the minute books, lodge stamp and the last banner were presented to the Durham Miners Association at their HQ at Durham. The banners were stored or sometimes given to other working collieries in need of a banner.
Around 1971 Murton Miners Lodge received its fifth (N.U.M.) Banner from Durham HQ which was previously from the Handen Hold Colliery, near Chester-le-Street (the colliery having closed in 1968).
It was made by the Tuthill Company for Handen Hold Miners Lodge in 1961.
It has a portrait of Aneurin Bevan on the front with the words “ANEURIN BEVAN, LOYALTY AND ENDURANCE” .The reverse shows the Wheat Sheaf, the co-op symbol with the words “ALL FOR EACH – EACH FOR ALL”. The banner was restored and the name changed by Tuthill in June 1972. It was carried into the Cathedral by Murton Miners at that year’s Durham Miner's Gala.
On the 10th April 2007 in the Murton Colliery Inn public house this banner was presented to a community group from West Pelton ( the Handen Hold Banner Group), by representatives of the Murton Miners Lodge in the presence of David Hopper the General Secretary of the Durham Area National Union of Mineworkers.
The banner will be restored and displayed in West Pelton School close to the site of Handen Hold Colliery. Their group having been successful in receiving Heritage Lottery funding to restore the original banner and to create a replica which they proudly carried for the first time into the Durham Miners Gala in 2008.
The seventh Murton Miners N.U.M. Banner made by Turtle & Pearce (circa 1977) repeats the 1955 design of the Miner standing over the Houses of Parliament with a book inscribed “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER” and the words “THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS”. The reverse shows the central figure of a Miner holding a Bannerette inscribed “NUM UNITY IS STRENGTH” flanking him are Bannerettes inscribed “A SECURE FUTURE” and “HEALTH AND SAFETY.
The eighth Murton Miners Banner (N.U.M. North East Area) was made by Chippenham Design and unfurled by John Cummings M.P. in Murton Colliery Inn on the 13th July 1990.
It has a painting of Murton Colliery with the message “PRODUCTION FOR USE / NOT FOR PROFIT”. The scene is flanked by smaller cameos of the local “CENOTAPH”, “COLLIERY INN”, “MURTON WELFARE HALL” and the “AGED MINERS HOMES”.
The reverse has a large portrait of Thomas Heburn with the words “THOMAS HEBURN PIONEER OF MINING TRADE UNIONS” and the text below, “THE TIME WILL COME WHEN THE GOLDEN CHAIN WHICH BINDS THE TYRANTS TOGETHER WILL BE SNAPPED, WHEN OWNERS WILL BE LIKE ORDINARY MEN AND WILL HAVE TO SIGN FOR DAYS GONE BY. THOMAS HEBURN 1832”.
Around the portrait are four smaller scenes, a miner behind bars “VICTIMISED” a baton wielding mounted policeman bearing down on a protester, “STATE VIOLENCE” Miners carrying their previous Banner, “FORWARD” and a canteen scene “SUPPORT GROUPS”.
This Banner also has the distinction of being the first to show “NORTH EAST AREA” after the re organisation of the N.U.M. in November 1988.
This is the current banner (2008) which is used at various functions, including the Durham Miners Gala on the second Saturday in July of each year.
The last four surviving banners are on display in the Heritage Room upstairs in the Glebe Centre Murton and the Handen Hold banner at West Pelton School, Chester-le-street.
Any information or photographs of any of our banners past or present would be appreciated. Please Contact Us.