Archive for July 1, 2009

Memories of Ushaw

It is a long time since I put anything on the site so I will try to submit on a regular basis.  I am the vice chairman of the Iona Social Club situated in Station Road in Hebburn town centre and this takes up a large part of my spare time.  It is a large and very busy club. This year we received two posters at the Club advertising Durham Miners Gala.  It is the 125th Gala this year and the poster brought back many memories.  It really was a unique event.  The Ushaw Moor banner was paraded round the village in the morning and left for Durham from the railway station.  The colour and the banners and the marching bands were a fantastic sight.  The speeches on the racecourse, the huge fair with boxing booths and various rides and side shows and later on as I got older, a pub crawl.  The pubs were packed but there was very little bother.

Prominent ministers of the Labour Party and the Trade Unions bosses gave speeches on the Racecourse about lunch time.  Times were hard in those days and the speeches were listened to by thousands of men and women.  I remember standing opposite the Dun Cow Inn, I was about 13 years old at the time, when the Easington Colliery banner and band were moving slowly up past the Shire Hall, the huge crowds were silent and men and women wept as the banner passed draped in black in memory of the 83 men killed at the pit.  It was very emotional even for a 13 year old.  It sticks in my mind like the phrase “Where were you when you heard the news of the death of President Kennedy”  It was a long, long walk back to the railway station to get the train back to Ushaw Moor and a longer walk up the bank  to Victoria Court. I can also remember getting the bus home from temporary stops in Waddington Street alongside the County Hospital. It was a fantastic occasion and a huge demonstration of people power.    PS.  If I had known that Wilf Bell was having a pint in the Shakespeare he would have had three guests as I would have attended.

Author : Brian Mc Loughlin 
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Categories: Memories