THIS drum which once marched miners from the Trimdon area into the Durham Miners Gala is about to come home.

It has been discovered in High Shincliffe during a house clearance and has been offered to Trimdon Parish Council. The artwork on its side says it once belonged to the Trimdon Temperance Band, but is a bit bashed and has lost its bang, but the hope is that one day it may beat again.

“It has been in my mother’s garage since she moved there 36 years ago, but I don’t know where it came from,” says Christine Murrell, of Peterborough, who is handing it over to Paul Trippett, from the council, today. “Her family were incredibly musical. They played in colliery bands and lived in the Trimdon, Fishburn area. They were Methodists and lay preachers and would have had temperance on their agenda, so it all fits together.”

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Christine’s mother, Ruth Robson (nee Ferguson) had connections into the Inchliffe family whose unusual surname is still to be found in the coalfield area.

Only a little is known about the Trimdon Temperance Band.

It is listed as winning a medal at 1929 contest in Wingate. It was also successful at a 1941 contest in Thornley when it was conducted by Edward Kitto, who won numerous medals, regional and national, during a conducting career in the coalfield that lasted from 1925 to 1968.

There’s also a picture of the band, complete with drum, taken at the 1924 gala.

The picture shows the band in front of the Deaf Hill Colliery banner – Deaf Hill is practically part of Trimdon – and the banner is draped in black to signal that the colliery is mourning a fatality which had occurred in the previous year.

According to the Durham Mining Museum, stoneman Ralph Marshall, 36, was killed by a stonefall down the pit on February 26, 1924. He supported his mother Esther, 77, and his 55-year-old brother, who was described as “mentally weak” and unable to work, and his 44-year-old sister who was simply listed as “imbecile”.

Two months after his death, his mother was awarded £295 compensation from the mineowners (worth about £16,500 in today’s values, according to the Bank of England Inflation Calculator).

Ralph is the only death listed in 1924, although on January 11, 1924, hewer Robert Joicey, 54, had his hand trapped by a stonefall. He survived, but his injury grievously bothered him for he died on October 31, 1925, in Durham County Hospital while under anaesthetic having a finger amputated.

So can you tell us anymore about the band? Can you tell us anything about the drum? The paintwork on the side says it was made by Besson of London, a famous firm of brass instrument manufacturers founded 180 years ago by cornet pioneer Gustave-Auguste Besson in Paris. How do you restore such a drum? Is true that a pre-Second World War drum like this has its skin stretched differently to modern drums and so it would make a different sound?

Any thoughts on the drum of Trimdon, please email chris.lloyd@nne.co.uk