There is a lively sense of history in Durham Cathedral that extends beyond the history of the cathedral itself to embrace the life of the city and region. Each year several special services are held which reflect a different part of that history. In early July the Miners' Gala is a vibrant and joyful celebration of the mining tradition in this region that begins in the city centre and culminates in a packed special service in the Cathedral where the singing is accompanied by local brass bands and banners are dedicated and processed. There is a Miners' Memorial in the Cathedral, along with an old banner. Next day, Matins for the Courts of Justice is attended by representatives of the courts, the police, the civic authorities and others who work to uphold law and justice in the region.
The Remembrance Day service is always well attended, and the Durham Light Infantry (the DLI) have their own chapel in the Cathedral and have attend the DLI and Battle of Britain Day service each September. We celebrate Founders and Benefactors in November, when representatives of the city and the university as well as local schools join the Cathedral community in remembering those who have played a part in our life in the past. Durham School also marks its Founder's Day in November at the tomb of Cardinal Thomas Langley who died in 1437.
We discovered recently that the Cathedral played a different part in the life of the nation - bread rationing has its origins here. The entire Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Clement Attlee, was in Durham to attend the first Miners' Gala since the war and, at an emergency meeting held in the Deanery sitting room on 22nd July 1946, voted to introduce bread rationing.