This was the first banner of the NUAW. It was designed by Walter Crane. It is made of embroidered beige linen shaped like a shield. The banner has a central sun with a winged plough in the centre and embroidered border of ears of corn and flowers with apples at the bottom. This came from the Norfolk area. The NUAW used the banner in their annual marches and demonstrations. In some societies, banners were unfurled after roll call. To carry the banner was an especial honour. In certain clubs the task was given to the senior members, other unions auctioned the privilege and labourers saved up to carry the first flag. The sentences on the banners are usually either the motto of the club, references to work or unity within the club.
61/235/1-2 General note: MERL ‘Handwritten accession’ form (Institute of Agricultural History) – ‘BANNER // Description // National Agricultural Labourers + Rural Workers // A shield shaped banner, embroidered on beige coloured linen. There is a central sun with a plough [winged] in the centre. An embroidered border of ears of corn and flowers [roses and thistles?] with apples at the bottom. // Date: 1913 // Inscription: // NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS AND RURAL WORKERS UNION // “We sow the seed that feeds the world” // Dimensions // Lenght at centre: approx 225cm. Width: 120cm // [7 1/2ft x 4ft] // Associated information // This banner was designed by Walter Crane // It was the first banner of the Union and came from Norfolk. // see attached correspondence for further details. // There is a red pole with brass ferrules at the end with this banner. // References // “Sharpen the Sickle” by Reg Groves p.128.’ Letter, R. Brigden to Mr Philpot, 1 November 1983 – ‘We do have a union banner here that subsequently had a Burston connection but I am not sure whether we are talking about the same one. Ours is a banner for the National Agricultural Labourers and Rural Workers Union. This was the name of the union from 1910-1920: prior to that, from its foundation in 1906, it had been called the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers’ and Small Holders’ Union and in 1920 it became the National Union of Agricultural Workers. // The banner that we have was the Union’s first. If you have a copy to hand of the Union’s history, ‘Sharpen the Sickle’ by Reg Groves, you will find a photograph of the banner opposite page 128. The caption alongside says that the banner was presented by Mrs Bridges Adams, a union sympathiser and supporter from London, in 1913 and unfurled at South Creoke by Will Thorne MP in that year. // At some later point, when the banner had come to the end of its useful life (presumably some time after 1920) it found its way into the hands of Tom Higdon and subsequently the Burston School Committee. In August 1961 the NUAW reclaimed the banner and the following November it was presented on permanent loan to the Museum of English Rural Life by the Union’s President, Edwin Gooch.’ Creator: Crane, Walter Place acquired: Camden Place used: Norfolk Covering dates: 1913 – 1913 Personal subject: Crane, Walter Additional images may be available on Adlib: http://www.reading.ac.uk/adlib/merl_objects/10311 Available: LibraryClick to Sort Object numberClick to Sort Loan typeClick to Sort LocationClick to Sort Special Collections and MERL 61/235/1 NON-LOAN Contact MERL to view this object