Redhills Durham miners' centre gets 'life-saving' grant

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RedhillsImage source, Durham Miners' Association
Image caption,
Redhills was built in 1915 for the Durham Miners' Association

A miners' centre has won a "life-saving" grant 105 years into its history.

Redhills Miners Hall in Durham is set to undergo a £5m refurbishment to turn it into a community and arts hub.

It houses the Pitman's Parliament, voted among the top 100 irreplaceable places by Historic England.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has agreed to give an initial £400,000 for a feasibility study and plans to be drawn up.

The Durham Miners' Association (DMA) will apply later for a further £3.8m from the lottery fund with Durham County Council also pledging to provide £1.1m.

Image source, Durham Miners' Association
Image caption,
The Pitman's Parliament was a gathering of the delegates of the county's collieries

Immediate concerns include curing dry rot in the roof and modernising the electrics.

Other phases include structural work to restore the façade and an archiving programme to save historic documents.

A new space will also be created at the back of the hall to make Redhills a centre for the "heritage, education and culture for the Durham coalfield", a spokesman said.

Image source, Durham Miners' Association
Image caption,
The DMA wants to create a education and cultural centre behind Redhills

DMA secretary Alan Mardghum said: "This is fantastic news and will enable us to begin breathing new life into this most important building.

"Redhills, as we call Durham Miners Hall, was the place where miners forged the welfare state even before it was thought of.

"From here we built homes for retired miners, reading rooms, hospitals and welfare halls from the south bank of the Tyne to the north bank of the Tees."

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