A REPLICA miners’ banner has been created to celebrate a community’s rich mining past and the people who lived it.

The Morrison Lodges Banner was officially unveiled last week in time to join the parade at the The 135th Durham Miners’ Gala which will be held in Durham City on Saturday, July 13.

After its first outing at the Big Meeting, the banner will be given a permanent home at Annfield Plain Library, near Stanley, County Durham.

The banner was commissioned in 2018 to commemorate the Morrison Pit, which was open between 1809 to 1964, and the Morrison Busty Pit, open between 1927 to 1973, which were both situated in Annfield Plain.

The unveiling event was attended by Councillors Katie Corrigan, Durham County Council chairman, and Carole Hampson, Town Mayor Stanley Town Council.

Alan Mardghum, president and secretary at the Durham Miners Association, and Michael Millmore from Morrison Lodges Banner Group also welcomed the banner.

Councillor Corrigan said: “The miners’ banners are not only incredible to look at, but are unique, important pieces of social history.

"It is a celebration of the local spirit, and our libraries play an important role in our communities, making it a fitting place for the banner to live.”

The design of the banner is unique in that it has two front sides.

The Morrison side is based on a 1956 banner, featuring portraits of union leaders AJ Cook and Tommy Hepburn, with the slogan Knowledge is Power.

The Morrison Busty side is based on a banner made in 1959 which originated from Lumley 6th Pit when it closed and was repainted as Morrison Busty. The design shows a biblical scene of a child with a lion and lamb and has the message 'The Reign of Peace'. The original banner was kept at Annfield Plain Central Methodist Church until it was destroyed in an arson attack in 1993.

The event was accompanied by music from the Craghead Colliery band who played miners’ hymn, Gresford.

Annfield Library is open Monday, 10am to 7pm, Tuesday, 9am to 1pm, Thursday, 1pm to 5pm, and Saturday, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

For more about local libraries visit durham.gov.uk/libraries