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Cympil

Bedlington Miners Picnic 1964

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nice find cym.

Marvelous piece of film that. There must have been thousands of people there that day.

Is that Cumberland Ave at the beginning? There seems to be an awful lot of trees there, it`s not like that now.

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Excellent footage there, Cympil. Such proud men and their families in a more social and innocent times, celebrating their workforce. Was that Atlee Park I saw there? The road leading to Bebside, down the bank?

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That was great, brings back so many memories of what Bedlington used to be like. I have fond memories of my childhood in the 70's loking forward to the Miners Picnic thinking it was the biggerst event in the world. Even into my teens we all looked forward to Picnic day. xx

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:D Thank you so much for sharing this. It's fabulous & brought back so many memories for me of growing up in Bedlington in the 1970's. Picnic Day & 'The Gala' trip to Whitley Bay were the highlights of the summer for us kids back then. Thanks Again.
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:D Thank you so much for sharing this. It's fabulous & brought back so many memories for me of growing up in Bedlington in the 1970's. Picnic Day & 'The Gala' trip to Whitley Bay were the highlights of the summer for us kids back then. Thanks Again.

Great video Cympil.

I wonder how many people in the crowds had travelled from Blyth / Ashington / Morpeth etc to be there.

It's a shame we don't have events like this anymore.

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Great video Cympil.

I wonder how many people in the crowds had travelled from Blyth / Ashington / Morpeth etc to be there.

It's a shame we don't have events like this anymore.

I think people may have travelled a lot further than that. From what I remember it was for miners from the whole of Northumberland.
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Here`s another photo from the Miner`s Picnic. It looks like the 70`s sometime judging by the haircuts :lol:

I`m pretty sure i recognise a couple of faces but can`t remember the names, maybe someone on here can fill some names in.

Also, we might guess the year as there`s Laws store behind them. What year did that change names, anybody know?

picnic.jpg

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This was when things were starting to go downhill, with multiple pit closures. The kids "Jazz Bands" were an attempt to pad things out to make up for all the many, by then missing, brass bands. I think there was an element of copying the American cheerleader phenomena. An interesting bit of research to see when the "Jazz Bands" started, who introduced them, and where the influence came from.

Something nobody has so far mentioned is the quaint name of the event. Why was it called a picnic, when in fact it was quite clearly a trade union movement political rally? The answer is that when it was first held in the 1860's such rallies were illegal, so it was dressed up as a day out for the family complete with brass band competition and sideshows. The banners behind which everyone marched weren't those of the trade union branches, but those of the associated colliery bands. But by reading some of the banners - at least by post WWII, and probably long before - a visitor could have been excused for thinking they'd taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the former Soviet Union.

By sheer coincidence I've just dredged up Ken Russel's nostalgia piece from 2005 with clips of the 1960 picnic in b&w. At nearly a gigabyte it's going to take some processing to make it streamable. He's included a bit of colour 8mm amateur footage from somewhere. It looks to me as though this was also taken in 1960.

The really exciting thing is that we have some 8mm colour that has never been seen in public. I've probably mentioned this before, so it's about time we got it digitised. It's late '50s, and I will probably be able to pin the year down exactly. This could be the earliest colour film of the picnic, though I doubt it. It's more likely to be simply the earliest 8mm colour film.

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Marvelous piece of film that. There must have been thousands of people there that day.

Is that Cumberland Ave at the beginning? There seems to be an awful lot of trees there, it`s not like that now.

Bigger than you can imagine, but not as big as in the 1950's - about 25 (real) bands then. Yes, the opening scene is shot in North Ridge, and they are sort-of coming out of there.

And.. I can confirm this is 1964 as there's something I put there in 1964 in one of the shots. smile.gif

The only person I immediately recognise is George Woodcock. He's the rather tall and distinguished white-haired guy marching near the front. http://en.wikipedia....trade_unionist) Other faces - mainly Bedlington folk - I do recognise but can't at the moment can't put names to them - always my problem, and an enduring embarassment! sad.gif

Excellent footage there, Cympil. Such proud men and their families in a more social and innocent times, celebrating their workforce. Was that Atlee Park I saw there? The road leading to Bebside, down the bank?

Yes again, but it jumps around a lot. Did you notice the black shroud on one of the banners. This signifies a fatal accident at that colliery in the previous year. This banner (with lettered steps on it) is I think the former Weetslade colliery, just north of Gosforth Park racecourse. Thing is I can't turn up any record of an accident in 1963/4. Were they really still mourning the 1951 disaster almost thirteen years later?

I think people may have travelled a lot further than that. From what I remember it was for miners from the whole of Northumberland.

True. You really are an ex Bedlingtonian then! cool.gif

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Not really, I think I may be what was once called a "Durham Pit Yacker" having been born in County Durham. Does living in Bedlington for nearly 30 years count?

While working at Lynemouth and Ellington collieries if you lived across the Wansbeck you were classed as 'from owa the watta'! Though I do not recall if we had a name for those who lived on the Ashington side? Oh yes I can 'Sheep Shaggas' :lol: Where men are men and sheep are nervous :lol: :lol:

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ref the video (for want of a better term) wonderful piece of social history which should be preserved. i attended them all and my father was always there in St. Johns uniform as a 'medic'. lthough i recall he said he used to be asked for salt tablets to enable the men to drink more!!!

on that note - is it worth listing which pubs each of the bands and banner groups met in - as i seem to recall each group had thei own pub?

Laws stores must have opened about 1970 as i worked there on Ssaturdays whilst still at school

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@Andy Millne - another failed attempt by me with the video (type avi) from the MEGA site . Uploaded Judging of the Bands but after I had uploaded the video I couldn't get it to play  All I get is a file that when selected Downloads back to my PC :D

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👍

 

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I know a Howarth from Manchester. It would quite amusing if they're related to Oliver here :D I've sent them the link.

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Great pieces of footage,many a blast from the past for me there! When My Parents moved to Hollymount Square,in 1947,I was three years old. After a couple of years,aged 5 years old my Friend [same age],and his older Sister,[nearly 8 years old,and a big lass to look after us two!],we used to go down Bedlington Bank,to play in the river stretch that runs past at the bottom of the Picnic Field..catching "Tommies" [small catfish],with our bare hands..and having a picnic which my friend's Sister used to carry down.

The field was full of big-horned cows,grazing among the long grass in the field.We never came to any harm as that became a way of life for all our young lives until we were in our early teens! 

The thing is,I canna remember exactly when they first mowed the field to have the Miner's Picnic there,cos it used to be held at Ashington.

Picnic day was the only day that I ever saw some of my Aunts and Uncles from Ashington and North Seaton,and Cramlington,even my Mother's Uncle and Aunt once came from Massachussetts USA, to see the family one picnic day,and why was that the only time I saw them?...cos we lived not 50 yards from the front street,and my Mother's place was handy for a cup of tea and a sammidge,...AND we had a modern flush toilet....AND hot and cold running water!![in a brand new post-war cooncil hoose!]...when they were still living in colliery hooses wi a stand pipe up the end of the street...pails of waata etc!!So a remember every year,when they mowed aal the grassy areas up the front street,and the year we lay on the grass watching a STEAM ROLLER..YEP!..NOT DIESEL!..laying modern "Tarmac" up the main street past the Old Hall ti the top-end,in readiness for the picnic,mebbe it was for the first picnic,and the council wanted ,naturally,to make Bedlington a lovely place for future visits by strangers to the town...it was magical for us little kids seeing all the buntings,[what we called.."the flags"],being strung criss-cross all the way from the top-end down the street,and all the lamp-posts with lovely flower baskets hanging from them.

Three-gee,The highlights what drew crowds of people back up the street,who might have been about to leave ,was the wail of the "Kilties"..Scottish Pipe Band...[who from Whitley Bay..I learned in later years!],and the Children's Jazz Bands.

There were sometimes over 100,000 people from all over the County and beyond,and the day was regarded as a "Picnic",for the hundreds of young kids and families,with the "Shows" starting at 2-0pm,till 11-0pm.

The pubs spilt out into thi streets,at closing time,having had exemptions for extended opening times as earlier rather than later,and the only time I ever personally witnessed drunkedness causing bother was when a fella tried  to molest womenfolk walking down Church lane on a sunny afternoon,on their way to the "Showfield"..[20 acres],at Millfield. He came across to my Family,and got in the way of us,shouting and swearing,and picked on my Father ,who had told him to cut the swearing out.

He wnt for my Father,who was stone cold sober ,and to keep the entertainment light....let's just say he "backed a losser!"

The police came and took him away..and that was it,but it spoiled a lovely day out for us,cos us kids were shaking with fear,seeing our father being set upon.

Usually on the following Monday,the Journal,and Evening Chronicle,would carry the story,with pics,and always remarked that there were one or two arrests..for drunkedness....out of over 100-000 people!  The black drapes over the banners was a mark of deep respect and sorrow for those who had been fatally injured in the respective mines,in the year leading up to the day of the picnic, and not for historical fatalities,as suggested..if that was the case,every banner in the parade would have been draped so far down you wouldn't see the banner in it's beauty! 

On picnic day,everybody went down[,well not everybody!..most miners and families!],to the picnic field to hear the speeches,by political party and union members,but you never,EVER,saw any flag-waving politically obsessed people...it was a case of listen to the speeches,come back up the bank,home for a quick tea,and take the kids to the Shows,or for those who put the pubs before their families...away for a few pints..nowt more,nowt like what you seem to suggest in your strong comments threegee!..I didn't read or research anything..I lived through it in a mining community where everyone in my families on both my parents sides,my friends in the whole of Hollymount,Millfield,Haig,and Beatty roads,and 90% of those I knewall worked in the mines,myself included,which I know that you know already,just for the benefit of newbies coming onto the site!

We know it was basically a political rally,and Lord Attlee could be heard from the rostrum,all the way up to the top-end,by virtue of what we kids used to call"Picnic-day speakers"..mounted high up on the lamp-posts,[loud-hailers],and all connected by cables strung from the field all the way from lampost to lampost....wat a job for the sparky's!!,but in the years following Nationalisation,wages and conditions underground were atrocious,well they were at the High and Low pits at Choppington...and the speeches were to rally the miners ambitions and hopes for the future...it still didn't stop banners being draped black ,sometimes on more than one colliery banner,in the same year...

Our  next door neighbour at Hollymount used to film the Picnic every year with his Cine Camera,and he used to have his snapshot camera also..he is sadly deceased,I believe,and last I saw him,a few years ago,he said he had filmed my wedding day..service and reception,but the bulb had failed in his projector,and was obsolete,so if we could trace where his boxfuls of films and photos went..it would be a historical goldmine for us bedlington-tonians.

Eh,it's weel seen aam back!

Thanks cympil for the memories being re-lived for me!

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