Chronicles

Durham Miners’ Hall receives major £4.5m Heritage Lottery Funding boost

The historic home of the Durham Miners’ Association has received a multi-million pound grant to help transform the building into a centre for culture, heritage and education.

Redhills, Durham Miners’ Hall, will receive £4.5m of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its restoration and renewal project.

Also known as the Pitman’s Parliament, the hall opened in 1915 but is said to be in a state of disrepair and jeopardy.

Plans to restore Redhills include the addition of new buildings and using audio-visual technology to bring to life the rich history of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA), the people and the communities of the Durham coalfield.

Durham County Council also pledged to support the project with £1.1m of matched funding toward the £7.25m project. The DMA is raising the remaining £1.65m from trades unions and other supporters.

Building work at Redhills is due to get under way early in 2022, with the building due to reopen to the public in spring 2023.

Year-round activities at the miners hall will feature guided tours, concerts, educational workshops, talks, film screenings and much more, and will have an emphasis on the social history and cultural heritage of the Durham coalfield.

DMA programme director Ross Forbes said the funding will safeguard the building for years to come.

He said: “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 did not just power the country, they looked after each other and created their own welfare state. From Redhills, the DMA provided medical care, sports grounds, libraries, welfare halls and homes for retired miners right across this county.

“Redhills will keep this story and these values alive. We have no doubt Redhills will inspire great new achievements into the future. It is going to be something very special.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund award comes following a three-year campaign to build support for Redhills.

It was voted among the top 100 ‘irreplaceable places’ by Historic England, and more than 25,000 people have visited since the 2018 launch of the campaign, which has received messages of support from more than 2,000 members of the public.

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DMA Secretary Alan Mardghum added: “We are enormously grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Durham County Council, and to everyone who has helped us get to this stage.

“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.

“The economic, social and cultural benefits of this project will be felt across County Durham for generations to come.”

The £4.5m funding comes after Redhills received Stage One funding of £400,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in March 2020, to prepare the ground for its development..

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