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Funding bid to transform Durham miners' hall into industrial museum
DURHAM Miners’ Hall could be turned into a heritage centre and interactive archive devoted to the region’s industrial past, under ambitious plans unveiled today (Thursday, March 7).
The Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) is putting together a £600,000 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to transform Redhills, the landmark green dome-topped Edwardian building in Durham City.
Dave Hopper, general secretary of the DMA, said HLF officials had shown an interest in the project, further work was being carried out and a meeting between the DMA and the HLF was planned for later this month.
The proposed new attraction would feature colliery banners, archive photographs and videos, union records and more.
The colliery banners, of which hundreds remain, would be displayed on rotation.
Mr Hopper said it would be a resource for the public and visiting researchers.
In addition to the HLF cash, other funding is being sought – making the project a substantial investment for the region.
“We feel the hall should be a heritage centre which pays tribute to what’s gone before – the role the union and coal mining played in Durham, from its inception,” Hr Hopper said.
Redhills opened in 1915 featuring a 300-seat council chamber plus a gallery for visitors and the press, modelled on a Methodist chapel. The hall also provided handsomely panelled rooms, designed to be suitable for meetings with wealthy mine owners.
The ethos was to put miners on an equal setting with their employers.
Its treasures include a letter signed by Russian leader Joseph Stalin.
In the garden are statues of union leaders.
The Listed building was refurbished for the national conference of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1990.
Today, Redhills is home to the DMA, the office of Roberta Blackman-Woods MP and several charitable projects.
Last summer, a cast of The Miner, a sculpture of a miner’s head by Arthur Fleischmann, was added to the foyer.
To contact the DMA, call 0191-384-3515.
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