The late 19th century Parliament set about reforming the way that workers, especially women and children, were treated in the working environment. These Acts, although well intentioned did little to change the lives of the induvial. It soon became apparent that banding together was a more efficient way of dealing with the issues such as pay and conditions thus heralding the arrival of "workers Unions".
The Durham Miners' Association (DMA)
The DMA was founded in 1869, initially the union had around 4,000 members numbers fell in 1870 to around 2,000. In its early days, the DMA was part of the Miners' National Union. It would be safe to say that the DMA had a difficult relations with other mineworker federations, they affiliated with the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in 1892 but were expelled a year later for refusing to join a national strike. The union became the Durham Area of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1945 and is now the North East Area of the NUM, although it retains its name and identity. (source: Wikipedia)
Many miners' welfare institutes (or "Tutes" as the were often referred to), came into existence in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Miners' institutes were owned by miner groups who gave a proportion of their wage into a communal fund to pay for the construction and running of the building. The institutes would normally contain a library, reading room and meeting room. (source Wikipedia)
They provided excellent support and recreational facilities that were used not just by miners but the whole community.
Eden Miners Hall Leadgate
The Hall had an interesting early history, starting life as a Free Methodist Chapel before becoming a Joiners Shop then a Grocers Shop before becoming Eden Miners Hall in 1875. Although the building is clearly marked as the "Miners Hall" on the 1986 map of Leadgate Railway Station the building is quoted on other sources as being built in 1924, this may well refer to a modernisation or a rebuild.
Life in the Noarth East Coalfields was tough and it was no suprise that miners institutes, such as Eden Miners Hall became the focal point for miners and their families, providing not only a focus for the miners union but also a place to relax and socialise with others in the community.
Eden Pit Leadgate
Seams worked thoughout the life of the pit
Coal miners working the Eden Colliery worked 5 seams during the life of the colliery, these ranged from the Hutton seam 103ft below ground to Busty seam which was 390 ft below ground. Each seam varied as to its thickness, the smallest being as little as 1inch and the thickest (hutton Seam) around 6ft 9inches. (source Durham Mining Museum)
The Miners Gala and Banners
Leadgate Youth Centre
Leadgate Youth Centre a registered charitable organisation was established in 1982. Their stated aim was to offer constructive recreational facilities to the youth of the area. This venture provided the youth of Leadgate with much needed activities and social interaction foe 35 years. They occupied Eden Miners Hall from 1982 until they had to close the doors due to the removal of funding from Durham County Council in March 2017.
The Miners Hall Today
After the withdrawal of funding for the youth club a committee of local residents, working alongside the village councillors, got together to seek a way forward to keep the hall as a comunity asset.
The Eden Miners Centre Trustee's statement
We are a group of local people who have taken on the role of trustees and formed a charity to run, and going forward, renovate the building often known locally as the ‘tute’ in Leadgate Village. We hope to provide a venue for activities and events that educate, inform and entertain a broad range of age groups living in Leadgate and the surrounding area.
The building has been neglected in recent years and especially since the former Leadgate Youth Club lost it’s funding and closed in 2017. Our aim is to raise funds via grants and our own fundraising efforts to bring the property back to it’s former glory when it was built in 1924 specifically for the mining community.
We have already made some headway and the centre is now functional although still in need of some TLC and future refurbishment.
We welcome and invite anyone who is interested in using the centre to contact us by message or email. The two storey space is vastly flexible and new ideas are very welcome for it’s use.
We are very keen to encourage more volunteers to join us to make this a real community hub. Please send us a message if you’re interested. Leadgate already has a great community centre which is very well used. So much so, that they barely have any time when it’s not in use! This is great news for Leadgate as it means we have lots going on in our community.....and now we have room for even more!
The Offical Opening July 2019
Roy Lambeth; Carl Southern; David Wray: Andy Plant; Leadgate Youth Centre; Leadgate History Society