The finalists for the County Durham flag competition were announced today on BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees. The voting starts today and will close on Sunday 20 October. The winning design will be registered on the Flag Institute’s UK Flag Registry. I would like to thank everyone who entered a design, the judges who selected the six finalists and also the Flag Institute for their guidance and assistance.
The flag is based on the St Cuthbert’s cross, with the whole design counter-changed horizontally between the County Durham colours of blue and yellow.
Yellow, blue and purple are the three colours of County Durham. Yellow also represents the coast and blue represents the sea and rivers. The black represents the coal seams of County Durham. Purple is the Palatine colour of County Durham. The Sanctuary Knocker played an important part in the Cathedral’s history.
The yellow St Cuthbert’s cross set on a blue field along with the colliery wheel reflects the diverse cultural heritage of County Durham.
The Venerable Bede recorded a banner of purple and gold which hung over the tomb of St Oswald. In medieval times, the banner was adopted by the first Earl of Northumberland with the purple being replaced by the red. A modified version forms the Northumberland flag. This design reverts to the original purple and gold colouring described by the Venerable Bede, palatinate purple being the colour of County Durham.
The flag comprises a stretched yellow Saint Cuthbert’s cross against a blue background, a form of cross and colour combination that have been associated with the county in various arms and insignia across the centuries. The cross bears five black diamonds symbolising the local coal industry and the major part that this has played in the development of County Durham’s economy and culture.
In the centre of the design is a St Cuthbert’s cross as the unifying emblem of the county. This is placed upon a fimbriated cross, in the style of other English county flags. Here the blue and purple of the field and gold of the cross all recall the traditional colours of County