A blue plaque has been unveiled on the house once lived in by John Forman – who was one of the men instrumental in the formation of the Durham Miners Association in the late 1800s.

John Forman (1823-1900) was born in Northumberland in 1823 and began coal mining as a boy. He moved south to the Durham Coalfield to work at Annfield Plain and then at Roddymoor, where he was elected checkweighman.

The Durham Miners Association was formed in 1869, and John was known to become the president of the Durham Miners Association in 1870, and was so when the DMA opened the North Road Miners Hall in 1876.

John was personally involved in most of the rescue operations in the coalfield in the last quarter of the 19th Century and so was very involved in pioneering a theory about the explosive potential of coal dust.

John received a gold mourning ring from the then Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry for his involvement in rescue operations following the 1880 explosion at Seaham Colliery. He was also involved in the rescue effort following an explosion at the same colliery in 1871.

The blue plaque has been unveiled at 16 Mowbray Street, which it has been suggested was his home from 1882 until his death in 1900.

The plaque was unveiled by L-R Alan Mardghum, Secretary of the DMA; Nick Malyan, Chief Executive of Redhills; Lorraine Baggs, John Forman’s great-great-granddaughter; Cllr Elizabeth Scott; Nick Swift, Hope Estates Founder and Durham County Council‘s Gillian Kirkbride and Jane Hedges.