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Durham Miners' Gala

peregrina 09 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Joe G 09 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jul 11 - 05:34 AM
Cats 10 Jul 11 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,cujimmy 11 Jul 11 - 03:20 PM
Edain 11 Jul 11 - 08:07 PM
Jim McLean 12 Jul 11 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 06 Jun 15 - 10:19 AM
Wheatman 07 Jun 15 - 04:58 AM
Mr Red 07 Jun 15 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 07 Jun 15 - 03:08 PM
Wheatman 08 Jun 15 - 04:21 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 25 Jun 15 - 06:33 AM
GUEST 26 Jun 15 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,terry c 13 Oct 15 - 02:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Oct 15 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 07 Jul 16 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Joe G 07 Jul 16 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 07 Jul 16 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Little Robyn 08 Jul 16 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 09 Jul 17 - 06:19 AM
FreddyHeadey 09 Jul 17 - 08:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 17 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,peregrina, cookieless 10 Jul 17 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 11 Jul 17 - 06:21 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: peregrina
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 03:26 PM

Today was the Durham Miners' Gala. Did anyone go?

There are songs about it by a number of Northeasterners. Here's
a link to one by Ed Pickford:
here


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 04:14 PM

I used to go every year with my auntie and uncle when I was a child - used to be the highlight of my year - unfortunately I haven't been for years.

Jez Lowe did an excellent song about it too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:34 AM

We used to go every year too until we moved to Lancashire a few years ago. I find it absurd that people would wish to write songs about it given the sheer amount of amazing music that resounds through the streets on Gala day. The closest I got was a tape collage of field recordings I made a few years back entitled Pride of Banners which distilled the cross overs of the various bands playing different tunes in different keys as the emerged from the cathedral echoing in joyful cacophany around Palace Green which has to be one of the most beautiful sounds. I was there in 1984 and it tore my heart out.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Cats
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 03:40 PM

I went to the 125th two years ago and it was amazing


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,cujimmy
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 03:20 PM

I lived in Durham for 2 years in 1990 - 92 and attended a few "Big Meetings", they are inspirational - a wonderfull day out and I would recomend going along to next years event to anyone.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Edain
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 08:07 PM

I was there, was a good day, bar a couple of bouts of torrential rain.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Jim McLean
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 01:51 PM

My wife is from Durham and I was there a couple of times in the mid 1960s. I think it was also called Durham Big Meeting Day? She has some excellent photos taken in Silver street of the banners ... and a few scuffles with the police. Also some great photos taken at the fair ground. Happy memories.


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Jun 15 - 10:19 AM

Well it's coming up again- July 11th this year- the bands are coming in to the lovely city of Durham from 8 a.m & the last ones arrive at the meeting ground as the speeches are starting about 3 pm.
There's nothing like it anywhere.....best access is by train as many roads are closed in and around the city.


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Wheatman
Date: 07 Jun 15 - 04:58 AM

Hi Jim, we will be in Durham on our annual tour of the North East at Big Meeting time. Will you be playing a banner in as last year and can we join you on the day? Will there be a practise the evening before, if so where?


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Mr Red
Date: 07 Jun 15 - 07:05 AM

Has anyone mentioned the pronunciation? Or has it reverted to received English now?

FWIW I have heard it referred to many times as a Gay La


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 07 Jun 15 - 03:08 PM

dead right- it certainly is not ' Garla'!

Hi Wheatman- yes all are welcome to join the band- musically we keep it as simple as possible, controlled by my uncle Peter's LNER Acme Thunderer whistle. It's all in G, with one or two exceptions
If you've been before, you'll know that it's an early start- say 9 oclock A.M !!! although Doreen & Bryan will give a definite time soon.
We leave with the 'Cotia banner from the DMA (Durham Miners' association) HQ at Redhills above Flass Street not far from the stationin the city.
The early start means we are often thin on the ground when we set off, but...!!

We used to have a practice on the Friday but not these days- will have a tune sheet but nothing complicated- am doing the Davy Lamp Folk Club in Washington the same evening....


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: Wheatman
Date: 08 Jun 15 - 04:21 AM

Thanks Jim, we will have the caravan at Durham. Just a question of getting the bus into town in good time. I will only have a mouthie. A trip to the Davy Lamp that evening would be good as well, it's been years since we were there. I will mail Bryan and ask for a start time. Gan Canny Brian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 25 Jun 15 - 06:33 AM

Re my post on 7 June, the departure time from Redhills DMA HQ will be 0830 this time- a bit early for most folks, but you can join the band en route.
AS I said, the DMA HQ is at the top of Flass Street, near the station but unless you are VERY early, don't try & drive there on the morning of the Gala- it's far easier to arrive at Durham station.
Look forward to marching off to 'Tipperary' at that unearthly hour!


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 15 - 04:13 AM

At the wettest of Durham big meetings
Oh how your heart it was easily won
I shouted for tunes by the Beatles,
Not that fat man from Athens they kept putting on
But the beer got me singing to his serenade
And you laughed all embarrassed in your lemonade
And I told you that one day I'd light up you sky with Greek lightning


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,terry c
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 02:36 PM

Interesting article about this in the current issue of Living Tradition....


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Oct 15 - 07:52 AM

It's a bit late now maybe, but I'm curious about that post from GUEST on June 26. Is this from a song? Is there more of it?


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 07 Jul 16 - 08:52 AM

Re my post of June last year- same info for the 2016 Gala- we'll leave the DMA HQ at Redhills by 8.30 and maybe earlier....
Join the band there or en route- it takes a couple of hours minimum & probably a lot more!
We do this in homage to miners worldwide and in particular to Jack Elliott and Jock Purdon, the two miners on the 'Cotia banner.
Anyone who remembers the actions of Thatcher and her current descendants, who are probably worse, might enjoy the left wing nature of this event.

This is a huge event.....There were 150,000 people there last year but as usual it was almost totally ignored by the UK's rightwing media. Don't expect this year will be any different.


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 07 Jul 16 - 09:44 AM

McGrath - a very late response to your query - yes it is from the Jez Lowe song 'Greek Lightning' one of my favourite songs as it happens - on the Bede Weeps CD and I dare say there will be a You Tube or other recording of it somewhere


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 07 Jul 16 - 10:45 AM

The Gala (or Big Meeting if you prefer) is on Saturday July 9


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,Little Robyn
Date: 08 Jul 16 - 02:48 AM

Jez Lowe's song.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 06:19 AM

Wasn't able to be at this year's Gala, held yesterday with the usual vast crowds and speakers Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey.

No mention of it on the BBC Today programme - never mind, there was good coverage of the Hampton Court Flower Show.... ho hum...


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 08:19 AM


"... it has no start time, no finish time and no one place of assembly.

Traditionally, the colliery bands would march though their villages starting early in the morning and the make their way to Durham from all directions and, in the main, that tradition remains today.

The main assembly point is the city centre Market Place and bands and banners start to march from there to the Racecourse from about 8.30am. Other assembly points are the Miners' HQ at Red Hill near the railway station and the New Inn on the west of the city.

The focal point of the Gala is the County Hotel at Old Elvet where the two legs of the procession converge. Here, the union leaders, invited guests and local dignitaries greet the march from the hotel balcony and the bands pause to play their "party piece" before marching the short distance to the Racecourse where there is a platform for the speakers.

The procession can take three to four hours to pass the County Hotel due to the huge numbers attending and the frequent pauses at the hotel. However, a wonderful atmosphere of street theatre is created there making the occasion more a fiesta than a march.

On the Racecourse, the banners are strapped to the surrounding fences creating a colourful tapestry of working class history.

On the riverside, there are rides for the children and stalls selling everything from books to fast food.

In the marquees, there are many exhibitions and a place where tea and sandwiches can be bought run by the Durham Labour Party. And, on a field overlooking the racecourse, there is a fun fair with some scary rides for the more adventurous.

At 1pm, the platform party arrives and the Chairman opens the meeting.

After the speeches, four or five selected bands and banners march to the Cathedral for the Miners' Service. Whether you are a believer or not, this is worth a visit for the sheer dramatic experience.

Back on the Racecourse, the banners are lifted when the various miners' lodges decide it is time to go and march back to the County Hotel where they play another tune exuberantly but, sometimes, a little less professionally due to the intoxicating effects of the day's celebratory atmosphere.

The centre of Durham is closed to traffic from 7.00 am but access is possible, for those who arrive early, to the multi-storey car park close to the Market Square. There are three large park-and-ride car parks. ..."
        

more on
http://www.durhamminers.org/gala





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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 17 - 07:05 PM

More coverage than normal - the Guardian ran a couple of stories, and the Mirror, online at least, went to town with about 20 good pictures.

The BBC had some good pictures, but treated it as a local news story, rather than national. Mind, I suspect that's more the BBC tending to see anything outside London as foreign. I'm sure there'll be lots of coverage of Notting Hill Carnival - and I reckon that could be pretty political this year, with the carnival parade passing the shell of Grenfell Tower.


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,peregrina, cookieless
Date: 10 Jul 17 - 05:59 AM

Top year this year with incredible atmosphere and the largest crowd I've ever seen for the speeches. Some say the largest attendance ever.

Speeches: Ken Loach, Angela Rayner, the head of the firefighters union, head of communication workers union, others, Jeremy Corbyn, of course. Stirring, angry, hopeful.

And yes, very very political. But also serious, peaceful, joyful and lots of fun.


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Subject: RE: Durham Miners' Gala
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 11 Jul 17 - 06:21 AM

Yes, last post a fair summary of what it's abnout....

Johnny Handle's song of fifty years back, when the collieries were still very much operating, summed it up in the last verse of his song about the Big Meeting or Gala......

'So if ye come with me next year, just get your pockets lined
Fetch the missus and the bairnies if ye have a mind
We'll hear the bands and speeches too, and spend most of wor pay
But we'll have worsels a bloody good time at Durham Big Meetin Day


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