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Local Area

Washington is a town in Tyne and Wear in North East England.

MonumentLocated 10miles (16km) South of Newcastle upon Tyne and borders the West of Sunderland.

The town has an approximate population of 80,000. Washington was designated a new town in 1964 and expanded dramatically by the creation of new villages and the absorption of areas of Chester-le-Street to house overspill population from surrounding cities.

Village Church

Flanked by the A1 and A19 there are strong links to these and other major towns and work places. Washington's design was incorporated from many towns in the United States. The new town is divided into small self-sufficient "villages". It was originally also divided into 15 numbered districts, a fate which confused many visitors to the area. These numbered districts have gradually been removed, and now road signs indicate the villages' names instead of district number. Washington's villages are called Donwell, Usworth (originally Great Usworth), Concord, Sulgrave, Albany, Glebe, Barmston, Biddick, Washington Village (the original village and location of the Old Hall), Columbia, Blackfell, Oxclose, Ayton, Lambton, Fatfield, Harraton and Rickleton. Built on industry, the town itself has several industrial estates, named after famous local people, such as Parsons, Armstrong, Stephenson, Crowther, Pattinson, Swan and Emerson.

View our photo gallery of Washington and Tyne and Wear

The Old Hall

The Old Hall may have been built by William de Hertburn, who moved to the area in 1183. As was the custom he took the name of his new estates, and became William de Wessyngton. By 1539 when the family moved to Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire the spelling "Washington" had been adopted. It was from Washington Village that the ancestors of George Washington, the first President of the United States, emigrated to Virginia in 1657. Ironically they emigrated because of their Royalist sympathies. The present Hall is an early 17th century small English manor house of sandstone. Only the foundations and the arches between the Kitchen and the Great Hall remain of the original house.


Washington was heavily involved in the coal industry with a number of pits. One of these in the Albany district of Washington is preserved as the 'F' Pit Museum (pits in Washington were named alphabetically e.g. the 'F' Pit). A number of the old communities of Washington grew up around the pits (e.g. the modern area of Usworth partly grew up around the Usworth mine and the area was known as Usworth Colliery (and still is to some of the older generation). In support of the mines there was a series of wagonways and later railway lines to transport the coal. The wagonways took coal to staithes on the River Wear where it could be loaded onto barges to be taken to the ocean going vessels at Sunderland. Currently, Washington's main industries include textiles, electronics, car assembly, chemicals and electrical goods. The Nissan automotive plant is a major employer. Nissan is the largest private-sector employer in the City of Sunderland.


The main shopping area is The Galleries Shopping Centre situated in the heart of the area and offering a great range of stores. With over 200 shops including; Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Select, JJB Sports, Thorntons, Boots, Clarks, Bon Marche, Barratts, the Galleries has something for everyone. In addition there is also a selection of smaller stalls situated throughout the malls. Not just a shopping centre, The Galleries is also "Washington town centre" and has a number of leisure attractions near by including Gala Bingo and AMF Bowling. There is even a swimming pool and fitness club at Washington Leisure centre, all within easy walking distance from the Galleries Shopping Centre. The Galleries also offers places to eat which include McDonalds, Subway, Greggs, cafes at Sainsbury's and Asda, Gillies and Donut Magic. Travelling to The Galleries couldn't be easier, 1100 buses travel through the Galleries every day and for those travelling by car there are thousands of FREE customer car parking spaces.

Interests & Attractions

There are a number of places of entertainment and interest in the area including the golf course at The George Washington Hotel, the Biddick Arts Centre, the National Wild Foul Park, Penshaw monument, local parks and much more.

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