Dudley Banner on Show
35 years after the last shift at Dudley Colliery in South East Northumberland, the Dudley Branch NUM banner is going on display at Woodhorn for the first time.
Almost two years ago staff at Woodhorn were contacted by a local pharmaceutical company Shasun Pharma Solutions Limited to ask if the museum and archive would be interested in an old miners’ banner which was hanging in its canteen. Following closure of the pit in 1977, the banner had been given to Fordley Community Primary School before being handed over to the company to be used as the centre piece of a heritage display at a special dedication ceremony. Afterwards Shasun Pharma felt it was time to look for a permanent home where it could be properly cared for and where others would have the opportunity to see it.
Now following its move to Woodhorn and hours of careful specialist cleaning and conservation with textile expert Caroline Rendell and Woodhorn staff, the banner is ready for exhibition.
On Friday 12 October a small party of staff from Shasun Pharma including: Dave Gallifent Shasun Pharma HR Director, David Hodgson Shasun Pharma HSE Director, Jack Nevins a Community Liaison Officer who used to work at Shasun and had been searching for the banner for years, Stuart Ducker a neighbour and retired miner who worked at the Dudley pit and other pits in the area, and Muriel Green a local Councillor visited Woodhorn to talk to the Director Keith Merrin and see the banner as staff raise it aloft on the Banner Ramp in readiness for public viewing.
John Wiper Shasun President said,” We are delighted to see the banner restored and on display at Woodhorn. The banner is a piece of our industrial history and Shasun Pharma is proud to play a part in keeping alive the memory of 150 years of coal mining in Dudley.”
Keith Merrin is delighted that the Dudley Banner will be on show for visitors to the museum. “We have more than 15 banners in our care, five of which are on display at any one time in the museum but it is wonderful to be able to add the Dudley Banner to our collection and share it with our visitors.
“We must express our sincere thanks to Shasun Pharma not just for passing the banner into our hands, but also for making a most welcome financial contribution to the cost of the repairs and conservation. They have helped protect a proud symbol of the coal mining industry for future generations.”
The Dudley Banner will be on display at Woodhorn over the coming months.