Durham miners’ hall could join Pyramids and Taj Mahal with UNESCO status

Redhills
Redhills, a miners’ hall in Durham, could be added to the 900 global sites given UNESCO world heritage status, joining the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

Redhills, a miners’ hall in Durham, has been selected as one of eight ‘workers assembly halls’ to be put forward for the prestigious UNESCO world heritage status.

If the bid by an international consortium is successful, it could mean that Durham City becomes one of the few places on Earth to have two World Heritage sites. Durham Cathedral and Castle already hold UNESCO status.

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The consortium includes similar halls in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Finland and Canada. The Workers Museum in Copenhagen is spearheading the bid and hopes that UNESCO will consider it in 2024.

Redhills, the former miners’ hall in Durham during the Lumiere light festival. Redhills, the former miners’ hall in Durham during the Lumiere light festival.
Redhills, the former miners’ hall in Durham during the Lumiere light festival. | Redhills

What is the Durham Miners’ Hall?

Durham Miners’ Hall, known as Redhills, opened in Durham City in 1915. It was paid for by 200,000 working miners and put the hall at the centre of the Durham Coalfield communities. From Redhills, collective decisions were made, transforming the cultural and social fabric of County Durham; homes for aged miners were commissioned, healthcare for sick and injured miners provided, and welfare halls and reading rooms were built. It provided these services to the people of the coalfield a generation before the national welfare state was established.

Redhills is Grade II listed, with its ‘Pitman’s Parliament’ was named by Historic England as one of its ’100 irreplaceable places’. It is ranked alongside the Palace of Westminster as one of the country’s top ten landmarks in England’s power, protest and progress history.

The ‘Pitman Parliament’ in Redhills. The ‘Pitman Parliament’ in Redhills.
The ‘Pitman Parliament’ in Redhills. | Redhills

What Redhills has said about the UNESCO World Heritage bid

Redhills charity CEO Nick Malyan said: “To be considered for UNESCO World Heritage recognition is a demonstration of the international significance of Redhills. The Miners’ Hall embodies English working-class democracy, telling a powerful story of struggle and collective achievement. While the nomination and judging process will take time we welcome the opportunity to ensure the Durham coalfield’s story is heard on the global stage it deserves.”

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