The Burnhope Banner

Burnhope BandThe Banners of North East Collieries are large silk sheets painted on both sides with various designs and icons. Banners can be either portrait or landscape shaped and would have a 'device' painted in either a roundel or rectangle. The sheet would be supported by two carrying poles joined by a cross-member and held steady with four guide ropes. All the banners were different and were coloured boldly and richly textured.Harton & Westoe Colliery Banner

Although the banners are a main feature of the Durham Gala, they were used for other occasions, these could include.

Banner images

The earliest banners from the Victorian period contained a great deal of imagery, from religious and socialist  themes to portraits, even poetry and mottos were included. Some banners included images of classical mythology, an attempt to prove that miners were not uneducated savages.

The portraits were often of subjects who were important to the miners and their welfare such as local and national union leaders or politicians. This latter group included local M.P.'s and national politicians such as the Liberal Gladstone or Labour leaders such as Keir Hardie or Harold Wilson. There were also representations of Marx and Lenin on banners from mines of a more radical political view-point.
Some banners did include non-political subjects such as Burns and Shakespeare, there is only evidence of one banner showing a woman, that of Bowburns's which had a portrait of Nurse Edith Cavell on it.

Many banners included a religious theme on the opposite side, this may have been as a direct result of strong religious beliefs among the miners and their leaders or may have represented a hidden faith in the union leaders. Many religious themes included well known subjects such as 'Suffer The Little Children' or 'The Good Samaritan' although in some cases a prominent church or cathedral - such as Durham is depicted.

Past Banners

Past Banners c. 1920's

Past Banners c. 1930's

Burnhope Banner c. 1950's