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Houghton Colliery's 7 NUM Lodge Banners

Between 1872 and 2004 Houghton Colliery has presented no less than seven banners at the Durham Miners’ Gala. The lifespan of a banner can be short – many are made from delicate silk and some were even stored with no thought for their care, often rolled up when damp following a wet Big Meeting. Two of Houghton’s seven banners survive – the fifth, which dates from around 1939, and the seventh, a new banner from 2004. The old relic can be seen on display in Wetherpoon’s Wild Boar pub, while the younger sibling is still presented each year at Durham. Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

Copyright © Books of the North 2012.

The 5th Houghton Colliery banner at the Big Meeting - Durham Miners Gala - in the 1940s

1872 - Houghton Colliery banner (1st) was described in the Durham Chronicle as having an arbitration scene on one side, while the other had a picture of a group of miners engaged in conversation.

1910 – A new banner (2nd) for Houghton Lodge was purchased.

1923 – Houghton Colliery banner was replaced with one made by G. Tutill of London. This banner (3rd) featured a portrait of Thomas Husband and the Newtown Aged Miners’ Homes (located on Seaham Road).

1932 – Another Houghton banner (4th) was unveiled by a James Robson on July 21st 1932, featuring a coastal sunrise design by Houghtonian Vera Nichols.

c1939 - A 5th Houghton banner existed and was described as having been made by Tutill's of London, around 1939. It featured scenes showing the bundle of sticks fable and injured miners seeing a doctor and measured around 10 ft square. The banner was made from blue and silver Damask silk with an orange border.

The 5th Houghton Colliery banner at Claypath, after the Durham Miners Gala, 1950.

1957 – Houghton Colliery banner was replaced with an NUM banner (6th) previously used by Westerton Lodge, Spennymoor.

The 6th Houghton Colliery banner at Durham Miners Gala, 1957.

1965 - On July 17th 1965, Houghton Colliery banner (6th) was draped in black and paraded at Durham Miners' Gala in memory of Ray Pickering.

c1988 – The former-Westerton Lodge/Houghton banner (6th) is thought to have perished in a fire at Houghton Comrades Club, though some debate this.

The 5th Houghton Colliery banner at Houghton Feast 2000.

2000 – The 5th Houghton Colliery banner was displayed in St Michael’s Church during the Millennium Houghton Feast.

2004 – A new Houghton Colliery banner (7th) was commissioned using funds raised by George Rowe, Pat Simmons and their team at the Houghton & Lambton Banner Group. The banner was made by Dr Aidan Doyle of Great Northern Banners and featured icons from the 1957 version, including the book, ruler, pen and ink, set-square and compass, accompanied by a miner (based on George Rowe) and two children (George’s grandchildren). Paul Lanagan, grandson of Houghton Miner George Davison, helped to carry the banner in the Durham Miner’s Gala on July 10th 2004 and on several other occasions, including the unveiling at Bernard Gilpin Primary School, the Houghton Feast Parade 2004, Houghton Feast Civic Service 2004, and Durham Miners’ Gala 2005. The banner was dedicated twice – once in Durham Cathedral on July 10th and again at the Feast Civic Service on October 10th in St Michael’s Church.

The 7th Houghton Colliery banner at Houghton Feast 2004.

2011 – The 5th Houghton Durham Miners Association Banner was put on permanent display in an ornate case inside Wetherspoon’s The Wild Boar, Sunderland Street, alongside a large collection of vintage views of Houghton-le-Spring.


Article and research by Paul Lanagan, local historian

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Paul Lanagan wishes to place on record his thanks to the following:

:: A special nod must be given to Mr Roy Lambeth, Chairman of Durham Mining Museum (www.dmm.org.uk), and all his colleagues for their sterling work. Roy has kindly shared information and photographs with Houghton Heritage Society.
:: Details of Houghton’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th banners from ‘Banners of the Durham Coalfield by Norman Emery’, 1998.
:: 1988 banner fire information from Sunderland Echo article dated Friday May 28th 2004.
:: Thanks for assistance go to: Mr George Rowe and Mrs Patrica Simmons of Houghton & Lambton Banner Group; and Dr Aidan Doyle of Great Northern Banners.




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PAGE UPDATED: 08/02/2012

Houghton's mining heritage

The Houghton Miners Project aims to record the details, memories and recollections of all the remaining living miners who worked at the colliery in Houghton-le-Spring. The Colliery opened in 1827 and when it closed in 1981 was known as the oldest colliery in County Durham. The site of Houghton Colliery is now a landscaped area, covered in grass and home to wild rabbits, and the occasional graffiti artist. Find out more online at: www.houghtonheritage.co.uk