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Mining Review 1/5: Durham Miners' Gala (1948)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The commentary doubles as a synopsis and is reproduced below:

For over 70 years, miners of Durham County have come together once a year for their demonstration and gala day. This year, the gala took the same form. Although nothing is prepared, no route is laid down on paper, it gives the impression of a perfectly organised procession, because it all goes according to tradition.

The atmosphere wasn't quite the same this year, though. For the first time, the management was invited. For this was the first Durham rally since the pits were handed over to the people, and Coal Board representatives took part in the celebrations.

A quarter of a million mining folk came to town and let themselves go for a day. They flocked to the old racecourse to enjoy themselves. The weather did its worst, but it takes more than that to spoil a miner's day out!

A service was held at the cathedral in memory of Durham miners who have lost their lives underground in the past, and their comrades who, as the plaque says, work in darkness and danger today.

The Durham demonstration has always been noted for its guest speakers, chosen by ballot among the lodges. The roll of speakers in past years includes many names justly famous in the history of organised labour. This year, one of the popular attractions was Mr Herbert Morrison, who spoke of the link of solidarity between miners and other workers.

And after the speeches, the fun!