'Life-saving' £4.5 million grant is awarded to Durham Miners' Hall to halt historic building's decline

The crumbling Durham Miners’ Hall has been given a “life-saving” £4.5 million grant to preserve it and help continue the history of the North East colliery culture.

By Fiona Thompson
Thursday, 8th April 2021, 10:45 am

The Grade II Redhills, Durham Miners’ Hall has received National Lottery Heritage Fund cash for its restoration and renewal as a centre for culture, heritage and education.

Opened in 1915 as the headquarters of the Durham Miners Association (DMA) and known as The Pitman’s Parliament the hall in Flass Street is in a state of disrepair and jeopardy.

The addition of new buildings will enable Redhills to improve accessibility and run activities and community resources, while audio-visual technology will bring to life the history of the DMA and the communities of the Durham coalfield.

Redhills, in Flass Street in Durham, opened in 1915.

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Durham County Council is providing £1.1 million of matched funding toward the £7.25 million project, with the DMA raising the remaining £1.65 million from trades unions and supporters.

Work is due to start in 2022 and it will reopen in spring 2023.

The Pitman’s Parliament is the seat of a trade union democracy and saw its elected delegates create a pioneering social system before the creation of the national welfare state, providing medical care, sports grounds, libraries and homes for retired miners.

DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum has welcomed the National Lottery Heritage Fund cash, which will allow the restoration of Redhills to go ahead.

Ross Forbes, DMA programme director, said: “The National Lottery Heritage Fund has ensured that the proud story of the Durham miners will not just be preserved, but will continue to be written.

“Redhills is not just a building. It is so much more.

"It stands as a testament to the work and sacrifice of generations of miners and their families who achieved great things through collective endeavour.”

Durham Miners' Hall, known as The Pitman's Parliament, is in a state of disrepair.

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Industrial heritage in the North is not only significant locally but for the wider region, and plays a huge role in bringing people together and in turn boosting the local economy.”

More than 25,000 people have visited Redhills since the 2018 launch of the campaign, winning the backing of high-profile individuals and organisations, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Sunderland AFC, film director Ken Loach and artist Grayson Perry.

Alan Mardghum, DMA Secretary, said: “There is much work still to be done and we are all determined that Redhills will serve as a fitting legacy for the remarkable people who built it."

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