Every pit liked to have its own banner. These were very much revered, and were brought out on special occasions. The highlight of course, when it was paraded, accompanied by a brass band at the Durham Miners Gala, held once a year in Durham City. This was said when the Miners went ' to get their rights. The day was looked forward to , by old folk, young folk, and babes in arms, met up with friends and relations from different parts of the country, shopkeepers barricaded their windows in case of accidents. In each village early morning saw the band collecting and if there was no local one, then an outsider would be hired.

The pitmen had drawn lots for the honour - and - pay - of carrying the banner. This was not always an easy task, as well as the two poles, there were cords to be held, and if it was a windy day it became very difficult.


Apart from the actual carcuas or silk banner, there were many other parts, a crossbar where the top of the banner was attached, with a long pole at each end of the crossbar. Thick cords hung down for bearers to hold, to steady the banner, and the pole bearers were fitted with leather harness ending in cups for resting the end of the poles whilst the banner was being carried. Silk and gold was prominent, gold silk fringes, gold wool cords for holding whilst the banner was being carried.

If a fatal accident had happened during the year, the top of the banner was draped in black. An artist, using gold paint for decoration would paint particu-lars of the lodge owning the banner with a scene, sometimes religious on one side, and popular leader's photos or scenes on the reverse. Popular makers of banners were Tutill of London and Bainbridge of Newcastle.