Durhams Responsibility Banner

A blue silk banner with painted white capital letters that reads, “Durhams Responsibility”. The perimeter of the banner is bordered with white silk and the true right side has linen string ties. In 1913 the flag was found hidden in a vault inside the Collins Hotel.

In 1913 Frank J. Collins sold his hotel, while cleaning out the safe the Durham banner was discovered. Frank died shortly after and the banner disappeared again until 1931 when it reappeared in the custody of E.A. Clarke. The banner made it’s way to Mr. H. Graham Bertram who eventually incorporated the banner into the Dundas Historical Society’s collection in 1945. It is currently on permanent display at the Museum.

This banner is the only example of its kind known to exist, dating from the period immediately after the Rebellions of 1837. Hundreds like it were made and carried during the late 1830s when Canadians took to the streets to demand political reform for the North American colonies.

In the wake of the 1837 Rebellions, Britain sent a nobleman named Lord Durham to Canada to appraise the situation. In Durham’s report of 1839 he recommended unification of the colonies under a Responsible Government after the style of Great Britain. News of Durham’s recommendations sparked a wave of so called ‘Durham Rallies’ across Upper Canada which called for the adoption of Durham’s plan: Durham’s Responsibility. Flags and Banners with various slogans were created for these meetings. This one was made by local artist and engraver Hardy Gregory, carried in rallies, and even flown from the top of James Coleman’s grocery store which still stands at the southeast corner of King and Main.


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