Over two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield the Miners’ Gala or Big Meeting as it is known locally remains as popular as ever with over 200,000 people attending this year.
The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents many of the communal values of the North East of England.
The gala sees traditional colliery brass bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners before pausing briefly to play outside the County Hotel building where union leaders, invited guests and dignitaries gather on the balcony before then continuing to the racecourse area for a day of entertainment and speeches.
Beginning in 1871 the gala is the biggest trade union event in Europe and is part of an annual celebration of socialism but it also brings many thousands more who simply enjoy the atmosphere, the music and meeting up with friends.
On assignment for Getty Images I covered the gala throughout the day and below are a selection of the pictures edited into black and white. Full colour versions from the day can be seen over on the Getty Images website here
Images (c) Ian Forsyth/ Getty Images
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