Banners and Bees!
Did you know that today is Don't Step on a Bee Day? Bees have long has an association with mining thanks to their appearance on mining banners!
The images painted on the banners promote pride in mining and highlight the benefits of union membership.
An image of a beehive would promote the benefits of co-operation between workers, just like you would see with worker bees!
Can you spot the beehive on the banner below?
Other symbols found on banners included:
Bundle of sticks
Strength in unity, an individual standing alone can be broken.
A set of scales
The figure of justice and the worker being worth a just reward
Workers shaking hands
Comradeship and the benefits of understanding and co-operation.
Widows and children at graveside / sick bed
Mining families look to the union for support and financial help.
Machinery / underground scenes
Mining tools, machinery, surface buildings and underground scenes reflect a pride in the mining industry.
Even the colour of a banner had significance. Red represented socialism/labour and courage, blue stood for loyalty.
Inspired by the symbols found on banners, some of our volunteers at the Museum have been getting creative and creating their own activity: Domino Banners!
Paula, a former graphic designer, who volunteers with us as a resource maker worked with our volunteer woodworker, Allan, to make a game of dominoes that feature many of the symbols you read about above. Here's her design for the beehive!
If, like Paula and Allan, you've been inspired and want to create your own design for a banner, download this template and see what you can create! Looking at the list of symbols, think about some of the values that are important to you and see what your family banner might look like.