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Words & music

 Ed Pickford © prs

In eighteen hundred and seventy-one

The mineworkers’ union in Durham was young

In Durham City the cobbles first rung

To the sound of Durham Big Meeting

In eighteen hundred and eighty three

Marching together in unity

Mother’s of sons and the wives of the mine

Carried their banners the very first time


Robert Saint’s Gresford*** in trembling brass

Is played where the saints are remembered in glass

From Hebburn to heaven the victims of gas

Go marching at Durham Big Meeting

Might earns to right to a future respect

And silence is midwife to a future regret

Truth never changes and unions protect

Says the voice of The Durham Big Meeting

United in purpose - pole and rope

Banners of protest - banners of hope

Selfless ideals never perish in flame

They rise like a bird from ashes again


Durham Big Meeting is not about shows

The boozing and the fighting or any of those

Durham Big Meeting down where the Wear flows

Was a coalfield in search of Jerus’lem

Lest we forget - reflect on the past

Banners are colours nailed to the mast

Woven in silk are words that recall

Injustice to one is concern to us all

Durham Big Meeting

Montage by Joe McCarty

Note: Robert Saint [1900 - 1950]

Writer of tune ‘Gresford’