Gala poster marks Norman Cornish centenary


This year’s Durham Miners’ Gala poster marks the centenary of the great pitman painter Norman Cornish.

The poster features the famous Miners’ Gala Mural completed by the miner and internationally acclaimed artist in 1963. The mural excerpt depicts a family enjoying their day out at The Big Meeting against the backdrop of a Durham miners banner.

Commemorative prints of the poster will be on sale at the Gala, on Saturday 13 July raising funds for the Marras – Friends of Durham Miners Gala to support the event.

Alan Mardghum, Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association, said: “We delighted that this year’s poster features perhaps the most famous depiction of the Gala, and we are proud that we are able to mark the centenary of this great artist from the Durham coalfield in this way. Our thanks to the Cornish family for their support for the Durham Miners’ Gala.”

At nine metres long, the Gala mural is the largest work Norman Cornish ever produced. Currently on display at Durham County Hall, the mural is due to be relocated this year to Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

The artist’s son John Cornish said: “We are delighted that in the Norman Cornish Centenary Year, this extract from my father’s mural will feature as part of the Durham Miners’ Gala celebrations. The family is pleased to support the Marras and their efforts to ensure that this great celebration continues for many years to come.”

Norman Cornish was born in Spennymoor on 18 November 1919. He worked at Dean and Chapter Colliery for 33 years from the age of 14.

Famous around the world for his depictions of work and life on the Durham coalfield, he was the last surviving artist of the Pitman's Academy at The Spennymoor Settlement, established to give mining communities access to the arts. He continued to paint until his death at the age of 94 in August 2014.

The poster will be available for sale at the Marras stall on the racecourse at this year’s Gala.

Proceeds will go to Marras – Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala, established to fund the Gala following the closure of the collieries.

For more than a century, the Gala was funded by the miners of the Durham Coalfield. Today it is funded by Maras, who make contributions throughout the year. To become a Marra, go to:

For more information on the Cornish Centenary, upcoming exhibitions and further resources, visit the official artist website at: