Film ID:
NEFA 22429



Visitor Tabs


Amateur footage recording the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band performing and marching alongside the Bearpark Lodge banner through the villages of Esh Winning on Friday night and Bearpark on Saturday morning before the 1983 Durham Miners Gala on the 15th July. The band with their banner also participate in the gala and proudly march through the city passing The County Hotel where current and future Labour Party leaders Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock are in attendance. The 1983 gala was important as it was their centenary year.  

The film opens on the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band performing on a small raised covered stage conducted by David Young. The band of young men and women perform a number of pieces, a tuba player stands at a lectern for a solo. A watching crowd applaud and a second younger man comes forward to play a solo on a cornet. A female trombone player come forward and performs from the lectern.

The film changes to the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band standing on a road preparing to march through the village of Esh Winning. A drum begins to beat and the band begins to march through the village past a number of onlookers. At the front of the band two younger boys carry a small banner for the band, at the rear the larger banner for Bearpark Lodge is carried by a number of older men accompanied by a number of women and small children. A small crowd follow the band through the village.

In the centre of the village, near the Marble Top Café, the band with their banner have stopped, as the band prepares to perform. Taking their cue from David Young on trombone they begin to perform ‘The Blaydon Races’ and other tunes for a watching crowd.

The band and their banner march again making their way through a housing estate accompanied by a number of locals. They stop again but following the drum beat they start again playing a new tune.          

The following morning in the village of Bearpark a crowd of local people, both old and young, gather around the banner that is being held in the middle of the street. More locals watch from the nearby grassy kerb. The brass band begin to perform once again being conducted by David Young. Many local people listen while sitting on the near kerbside grass. An older man wipes his nose, a young woman takes photographs of the event. Two men standing on the kerbside are drinking pints of beer.

The march gets underway again with the band performing ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’. A number of older men march beside the banner alongside a small boy. A number of older women sit on deckchairs or stand outside their homes watching proceedings.

In the middle of the road two men hold the bottom edges of the colliery band banner. Local people sit on a brick wall listening to the band performing a solemn tune before marching on again. Standing in the middle of the road David Young and a number of other trombone players perform, nearby an older woman rests against a metal gate listening.

Once again the band head off through the village, walking in front of the colliery banner a number of women walk arm-in-arm, one holding a majorette's baton. The band march through another housing estate, a number of young men march out in front while others walk beside them along the pavement.

A large crowd of adults and children walk in front or accompany the band as they turn onto a road making their way down the road which has an incline. The band comes to a stop half-way down but continues to perform as a crowd gathers around them. After a couple of tunes they get underway again playing ‘The Blaydon Races’ and other tunes accompanied by a crowd of local people.   

The march comes to an end and the banner is carried away. A large crowd make their way inside a local social club, a number of television camera crew stand nearby recording the event. The bands brass instruments and drums are laid out on the grass beside the building.

The film changes to show band members on a coach making their way towards Durham. Some of the members look on and smile at the camera while others around chat.

On a street in Durham the Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band in blue blazers and caps begin to march. At the front a man in a bow-tie leads the band along the road. The band march along onto North Road in Durham making their way towards the Framwellgate Bridge. Behind them come other colliery bands with their banners all playing music for the accompanying crowds following them along the route. At one point the crowd can be heard shouting ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out’.

At the County Hotel along Old Elvet a crowd on a balcony applaud and wave the procession of banners. The passing crowd looks up at those on the balcony as The Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band pass by. Amount the crowd a man in traditional African dress. Policemen hold back crowds of onlookers behind metal barriers as another band passing the County Hotel. On the balcony then current Labour leader Michael Foot stands beside future leader Neil Kinnock and wife Glenys all waving at the crowds, beside them is Tony Benn.

The banners continue to be proudly marched past the hotel including a banner from South Wales. Underneath the balcony a colliery band performs for the crowds. More bands and banners make their way along Old Elvet toward the old racecourse followed by large crowds. A number of the bands come to a stop outside the County Hotel and perform for the crowds and those on the balcony above. Michael Foot picks up a dog and holds it up to the crowds.

On the racecourse a woman lays napping under a blanket as the crowds walk past. Beside their banner a number of musicians sit enjoying their lunch.  A large crowd has gathered on the racecourse near to a number of large marquees. Another colliery brass band marches past platin a tune, its members wearing red jumpers. Following on behind comes their colliery banner. The Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band perform for the crowd. They then march in front of their banner followed by a crowd.

The colliery band seen previously in red jumpers play Ilkla Moor Baht’At’ in front of their Yorkshire area banner. The film changes to shows them marching back along Old Elvet towards The County Hotel. In front of them a bare chested man, possibly slightly drunk and holding a bottle of beer, pretends to lead them. Behind them march other colliery bands with associated banners passing crowds lining the route. Four young men dance along the route, their arms locked around each other’s shoulders, a number of women dance behind them in front of the next band. The crowds fill Old Elvet from the racecourse to the County Hotel.

As the procession turns out of Saddler Street and Durham Market Place into Silver Street a number of young people dance happily past the camera. The next colliery band and banner march past playing ‘The Blaydon Races’. Crossing back across Framwellgate Bridge some of the crowds following The Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band dance, some in groups of three of four with their arms locked together. The film ends with a woman leading the crowds and colliery band in a dance back up North Road out of the city.