Unfurling the Banners

Banners have brought ideas, beliefs and colour to rallies, marches and demonstrations, chapel processions, parades, meetings, picnics and funerals throughout South Wales for over 150 years. However, these banners were not generally miners’ banners.

Most miners’ banners date from the advent of the South Wales Miners’ Gala in 1954.

There were some exceptions. Trade unionism established itself in the South Wales Coalfield from the 1870s, with the Amalgamated Association of Mineworkers and a number of District Unions being set up.

Miners’ banners from this time include:

1872 - the banner of the ‘United Valley of Rhondda Miners’ which was used in a demonstration

1873 – the ‘Ogmore Valley Miners’ Association’ banner

1874 – a large white silk banner with images of miners tools on it which was carried at demonstration in Pontypool

1888 – the Cardiff, Penarth & Barry Coal Trimmers’ Association banner

The founding of the South Wales Miners’ Federation (the Fed) in 1898 did not bring a flurry of banners. Instead, the Fed had an emblem which was used on membership cards and publications, but it never appeared on a banner.