Banners and Beyond - Activity Pack

Creative inspiration for Teachers, Parents and Pupils

Banner artwork was an important part of mining culture, reflecting the values of a time ‘when coal was king’.

The Mansfield Colliery Banner is paraded through the town centre during the 1972 Annual Gala. Photo: Mansfield Chad.


The Mansfield Colliery Banner reflects the themes of the 1951 Festival of Britain

The Union banner from Mansfield Colliery was made in 1951 - the same year as The Festival of Britain exhibition; a national celebration of Britain’s post war achievements. Divided into four quadrants, the banner aligns with the themes of the exhibition, and puts Mansfield at the centre of coal production at a time when Britain was the workshop of the world, and coal was essential for domestic heating, manufacturing, transport and power generation.

Banner illustrations show how British coal powered the world:
1. Coal tub and globe
2. Rail freight truck
3. Ocean liner
4. Coal-fired power station

And, how work at the colliery provided families with essentials:
1. Food
2. Drink
3. Light
4. Heat


The 300 foot 'Skylon' structure was the futuristic centrepiece of the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition park and gardens, located on London's Southbank.


What do banners look like today?

protest banner
‘The Big Meeting’ – banners and bands coming down Old Elvet Bridge, Durham, 2008. Photo: Wikipedia CC.
protest banner
Climate change protest banner, Germany 2017. Photo: Wikipedia CC.

Although Britain's collieries have closed, union banners are still paraded at public events such as the annual miners’ gala in Durham (‘The Big Meeting’). Modern-day banners have not lost their power to communicate shared values and are still seen at protest rallies and public events.

Today, our industry, services and transport are no longer dependent upon coal and we continue to move towards renewable energy sources in order to reduce CO2 emissions and global warming. In recent times, banner artwork has focussed on inequality, race, climate change and other social issues. Some sixty years after the Festival of Britain, what would a community banner of today look like?


The Banners and Beyond template is ready for you to colour and has four sections for you to add modern day illustrations.


Make a banner for our age.


Download the PDF template

Fill-in the panels with your own colours, artwork and lettering. You might consider including images of local landmarks, new technology, wind turbines, solar panels, electric powered vehicles, heroes, celebrities, even brand names… the choice is yours...

When you are finished, take a picture of your banner and share via Instagram using the hashtag #banner2021 We would love to see what you come up with.