Historic Redhills renovation set to be completed by the end of 2024

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The Durham Miners’ Hall has been undergoing renovation work since early 2022, but significant delays have meant the project is only now nearing completion.

The site, commonly known as Redhills and opened in 1915, was once home to the Pitman’s Parliament and remains the Durham Miners’ Association headquarters. Redhills was recently included in Historic England’s series of 100 “irreplaceable” sites.

Now the Grade II listed building is being transformed into a heritage centre in an £8 million restoration project aiming to rejuvenate culture in the Durham coalfield area.

Durham Miner’s hall has been undergoing renovation since early 2022…in an £8 million restoration project

The new venue is set to reopen in late 2024 as a centre for community and cultural activity. Redhills CIO, the charity in charge of the project, has said the revamped venue will be a location “where community groups can meet, brass bands and choirs…can perform, and artistic talent can showcase their work”.

The Pitman’s Parliament will be used again by the community of the Durham coalfield area to gather and debate pertinent issues, just as the original Pitman’s Parliament did.

There will also reportedly be a living archive of the Durham coalfield, and opportunities for conferences, weddings, and other live events. The site already houses a museum showcasing local miners’ heritage and societal contributions.

Nick Malyan, CEO of Redhills CIO, told the BBC that he hoped the revitalised site would be an opportunity for “young people [to] come to learn about their history”.

The main source of funding for the project has come from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Durham Miners’ Association, and Durham County Council, amounting to £7.25 million. Other funds have also been raised via trade unions, community ownership funds, and the pit token scheme. In total, the project is reported to have cost around £8 million.

The revitalised site would be an opportunity for “young people [to] come to learn about their history”

In 2021, Redhills was deemed to be in a state of significant disrepair. Since then, the restoration has involved the conservation of the existing structure, repairs to the roof, the installation of ground source heating, new conferencing space, a café, and an accessible extension as the new entrance.

While work began in early 2022 and was expected to be completed by Spring 2023, construction at Redhills is still ongoing and as of yet there is no definite date for reopening. Nonetheless, when such a date becomes official, Redhills have said they will make available an opening programme for the local community.

Image: Trevor Littlewood via Wikimedia Commons

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