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September 2019



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thismaz in photo_scavenger


At the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, there is an exhibition of Miners Banners. This is the banner of the West Stanley Lodge.

And the reason this picture fits the prompt – a detail of the top right corner and the wheel at the top of the pit head.

In case anybody is interested - it is difficult to make out the detail on the banner, but the painting shows an angel, olive sprig in hand and the other hand held out in blessing over the houses, factory chimney and mine head.
At the bottom, under a line of clouds (or possibly smoke) is a miner in a pit galley. He is kneeling next to his lamp with his arms outstretched. The scroll near him reads, "The Unknown Miner".
Since these banners were used to lead the processions at funerals after mining disasters, I suspect this is a reference to the 1909 explosion of the West Stanley mine, when 158 men and boys were killed, but I imagine it is also a more general commemoration of all the miners who were killed at work.
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The banners are such an integral part of mining, aren't they?

As an aside, I used to go to St Toms all through my student years and a couple after - basically up until I moved out to Wallsend. A lot of my best memories of that period are bound up with things done as part of that congregation like sliding down sand-dunes on Lindisfarne by moonlight!
The thing that really caught my eye was that only two of the banners had mining scenes on them. A few were allegorical - unity, harmony, hope - and one was a picture of a school playground full of children, with "Education is our future" underneath.

Sliding down sand-dunes on Lindisfarne by moonlight is definitely a good memory.
This sends the shivers down my spine. A great answer to the prompt.
Thank you. I'm pleased that you like it. They are powerful symbols.
What a different and very cool response. I learned something, too, since I never knew mines/miners had banners. I'm guessing this was some sort of professional/social organization based on the mine they worked in?
Thank you.
Yes, they were the local trade unions and, later, the local branches of the national union. But they also acted as a social and educational focus for the community, I think.
This is very cool. I've been writing an original fic that has mining as part of it and although the nations are different, that bottom image is universal and heartbreaking.

- Erulisse (one L)
Thank you. They are very impressive and powerful symbols.
That's a fascinating banner.
It is pretty impressive, isn't it.
Great prompt response. I've rarely seen them so close to.

I have been wanting to get out to Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn ever since they designed it with a full gallery of banners. Maybe someday the job will send me there.
Thank you.
Mmm, I haven't been to Woodhorn for years. *adds it to next summer's list*
I love the way you've taken one detail in a larger grouping and used it for the prompt. Very nice!
Thank you very much.