Film ID:
NEFA 20524



Visitor Tabs


A complete catalogue of Durham Miners’ Gala events and activities recorded in and around the City of Durham by Edward Roberts: the film includes footage from Big Meetings between 1951 and 1955, and shows the miners’ banners, bands, speeches, and fun fair revelry.

Credit: Durham County Education Committee
Title: Durham Miners’ Gala 1951-1955
Credit: Filmed and Produced by E. Roberts County Inspector of Schools
Title: “The Big Meeting”

Title: On the eve of the gala new banners are unveiled

Title: At Ferryhill Mr Sam Watson unveils a new banner for Dean and Chapter Miners’ Lodge.

View of the official banner unveiling ceremony, performed in front of a big crowd on top of a stage. In the background, a banner stands, “Workers of the World Unite”. View of the banner as it is unrolled: “National Union of Miner Workers / Durham Area Dean and Chapter Lodge”, depicting a white and a black worker shaking hands.

A uniformed brass band plays.

Title: Miners’ representatives from the SOVIET UNION present a token of greetings and receive presents.

A small red velvet banner is unveiled. Speeches are presented.

Title: Local M.Ps. are present.

Close-up on the newly unveiled banner, at the bottom is painted, “Fellowship is Life, Fellowship for All”. People pose for the photographer around the banner. The small banner gifted by the miners’ representatives from the Soviet Union is held up beneath the larger one. It reads, “Fraternal greetings to the miners of Durham from the miners of the Soviet Union”.

Title: Scenes in the streets as bands and banners arrive.

A procession of miners gather alongside a road; they stand in line behind a banner. A policeman directs the scene.

Views of the marching groups through Durham’s city streets. A huge crowd is gathered at Alexander’s Corner. Amongst the crowds, groups of people dance, arms linked together.

Close-up of a banner, “Universal Brotherhood”, “Help in time of need”.

Title: At the County Hotel

View of the balcony of the County Hotel as speeches are made. A huge crowd is gathered beneath.

The march continues: brass bands, dancing.

Title: On the racecourse.

Panoramic view of the huge crowd assembled on the racecourse.

Views of the march at the Waterloo Hotel. Aneurin “Nye” Bevan stands on the hotel balcony and waves.

The procession continues below: bagpipers, banners.

Clement Atlee stands on the balcony of the County Hotel.

Down in the march, revellers wear party hats.

View of Herbert Morrison on the balcony of the County Hotel; also Hugh Gaitskell.

A group of men in drag costume lead a group of marchers. They wave balloons.

Morris dancers.

Scenes of the crowds at the racecourse.


Crowds are gathered at racecourse food stalls, “WATCHEER, the Gala’s favourite drink sold here”, “Ham sandwiches”, “Hot pies, chips, pasties, sausage R[…]”.

View of the “Mobile Chip Van” selling chips for “6d per bag”. View of Over’s Snack bar, where there are pies, teas, and hot dogs for sale.

Three men pose of the camera wearing plastic party hats.

Scenes at the racecourse. Huge crowds, picnickers. A Rea’s Ice Cream van in the background.

Title: Typical lodge banners

Close-up views of miners’ lodge banners from: Peterlee, Brandon, Thornly, Mainsforth, Chilton, Philadelphia, Usworth, Easington (depicting Keir Hardie and Robert Smillie), Chopwell (depicting Karl Marx, Lenin, Keil Hardie, a hammer and sickle emblem, and a Labour Party emblem), Ryhope, Tudhoe, and Crookhall.

View of the lost children area, where children play together on the grass with toys. Each child has a blue paper label pinned to their back.

At the ‘AMBULANCE’ station, nurses stand outside a tent in uniform. View of St John’s Ambulance staff.

Portrait shot of a girl wearing a “SQUEEZE ME TIGHT” plastic party hat.

Title: Many visit the Gala to hear speeches

Views of speeches being presented from a platform: Nye Bevan, Herbert Morrison.

Views of picnicking on the racecourse. An airship-style helium balloon is for sale.

Views of Clement Atlee, Barbara Castle.

Title: Massed bands play “Gresford” a memorial hymn for those who lost their lives in the mines.

Views of uniformed brass bands.

Speeches are given, stood next to a BBC microphone: Barbara Castle, Herbert Morrison, Clement Atlee.

A family sit on the grass: their two children wear plastic party hats, and one plays with a toy bow and arrow.

Title: The Fun Fair

Views of the various rides, attractions, and side-shows: dodgems, a waltzer, a coconut shy. Side shows include, “The Wonder Horse”, “A dog with 5 feet”, “Cockerel with 4 legs”, “Eve the living sleeping beauty”, “Palace of Continental Dreams: The Nude Look”.

Portrait shot of a little girl wearing a party hat, “Kiss me quick, say what a smasher”.

Children ride on a roundabout carousel: one in a miniature traction engine, “GOING TO THE FAIR”; another on a Northern Bus.

Title: Along the Banks

Views of rowing and boating on the River Wear.

Title: The City Cricket Club arrange a home fixture for Gala Day (Durham batting against Boldon)

Panoramic view of the cricket pitch, and brief views of the match in play.

Title: A special service is held at the cathedral.

Crowds walk towards the cathedral: banners, brass bands. Choristers process into the cathedral.

Title: Going home

View of a banner being rolled up.

Title: THE END