This Mining Blog gives a little bit of historical information about banners, their creation and purposes and gives a special focus on one particular banner.

This introduction is by Dr Myna Trustram and is from a BBc History post BBC – History – British History in depth: Banners of the British Labour Movement 


Banners of the British Labour Movement

“For hundreds of years, organisations that have a marching tradition have made banners in order to identify themselves. This includes trade unions, friendly societies, temperance groups, co-operative societies, Orange orders, suffrage, women’s and peace organisations and political parties, but also non-political organisations like churches, chapels and Sunday schools.

Historians can ‘read’ banners for evidence in much the same way as documents.

The origins of political banners

Strangely enough, the origins of nineteenth and twentieth century banners can be traced to a time when organisations were concerned not to be identified. The precursors of trade unions were the trade societies. In the eighteenth century, when industrialisation was beginning to make an impact, trade societies were established to protect the interests of skilled artisans.

Until the repeal of the 1799 Combination Act in 1825, membership of trade societies was illegal. Highly ritualised secret meetings were held in pub rooms where, amongst other items of regalia, textiles demonstrated the trade’s ancient and respectable past.”

 What do banners tell us?

Banners are much more than simple expressions of a movement’s identity or aspirations. They are a multi-layered and contested interpretation of history rather than a simple narrative.”

Eric Eaton, Chair of the Nottinghamshire Mining Museum’s Trustees says,

This is particularly true in Nottinghamshire where, after the 1984/1985 strike the Banners of the Nottinghamshire NUM at the time, were sequestered by the Courts and handed over to the UDM.

These banners were transferred to the Nottinghamshire Coalfield Banners Trust in 2014 and their condition assessed by the People’s History Museum.  They were stored at Mansfield Museum, but were later removed and their current location is unknown.

All of the Banners in our Banners and Bands Exhibition, were created after the 1984/1985 strike by Branches of the Notts NUM and celebrate and commemorate the year long strike and the work of the Notts Women’s Support Groups to raise money for the families of the striking miners.

This image shows the reverse of the Nottinghamshire NUM Ex and Retired Miners Association Banner which is currently on show in our Banners and Bands Exhibition.  The Exhibition is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, until the end of September.

The reverse of the Nottinghamshire NUM Ex and Retired Miners Banner


The reverse of the Banner, shown here, features a group of women marching to protect “Our future jobs, our lives” and they carry placards calling for Jobs, Education, Pensions and the NHS.  A small girl carries a placard saying “Protect our Future.”   At the bottom is a badge, NWSG representing the Notts Women’s Support Groups) and states they are “Women Fighting For A Socialist Future”.


The front of the banner shows a man and boy holding the chains that symbolise the broken progression of the sons of miners following their fathers down the mine.  A young boy carries a placard stating, “I am a big part in this strike, it is my future”.  The Banner features the badge of the “Notts Striking Miners Loyal to the Last”.


The banner was designed by Joan Craddock, David Jenkins, Bob Collier and Eric Eaton.  Eric Eaton and Dave Hewitt raised the funds through trade union donations.  Made by Hugh and Lottie Shankland at Durham Banner Makers in 2012 using hand painted polyester with yellow sides and fringe and is 210 cm wide and 227 cm high.

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