Old Images of Washington, Tyne and Wear

Glimpse history through old images of Washington, Tyne and Wear, England.

In what was once a village in County Durham but now a town in the Sunderland district of Tyne & Wear in the UK, you can visit Washington Old Hall, the manor house of the Washington family from 1180 to 1613.

Their most famous descendent is George Washington, an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

Washington Old Hall stood in a village surrounded by other villages.

But in 1964, the town planners designated the area a New Town. As a result, massive development took place, bringing in modern housing estates and the Galleries, a large shopping centre surrounded by car parks.

For many years the New Town’s districts were designated as numbers, but the original village names stuck fast. So, sometime around the turn of the millennium, the district numbers finally disappeared from the A-road signage systems. Instead, the signs point to areas of the town by the names of the villages that refuse to disappear from history.

Old Photos of Washington

You can click on each of these photos to see a larger version.

The New Town

This is a brilliant video showcasing a selection of old photos from the 1960s and 70s.

We see the fields that were to become the Galleries, the Galleries under construction, the original Galleries Bus Station escalators (with kids sliding down them!), shops inside the 1970s Galleries, the Woolco Superstore, Dunlop Tyre Factory, Harraton Colliery and the site of the A1M services before they were built, Post House Hotel, the Emerson Estate Child Benefit Centre, and Havannah Terrace before it was demolished.

There’s also a picture of Princess Anne’s visit to the town on 23rd July 1974, with Durham House under construction behind her, and a picture of the Princess Anne Park.

Front Street is recognisable, although in May 1965 there were only a few cars to be seen. The photo of the steam train in Brady Street is amazing!

And there are so many more to take you back to a distant age, including a photo of the Washington Chemical Works in 1890, with the Penshaw Monument sitting on the hill behind it.

Washington Tyne and Wear Video 1 by Colin C – COLIN C. THE GEORDIE HISTORIAN on YouTube

The Post Office Directory of Durham and Northumberland

by Kelly and Company

Published in 1879

Historic Books

Extract from

A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer Volume 4

by George Newenham Wright

Published 1837

“WASHINGTON, par. England, E. div. of Chester ward, co. pal. Durham. Acres, 5130. Pop. 2673. Gateshead ( P. T. 272). Liv. a rect. in dioc. Durham. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.”

Extract from Page R18 of

History of Schuylkill County, Pa With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers

by Joel Munsell’s Sons

Published 1881

“FENWICK COOPER, born in Washington, county Durham, England, in 1825, came to America in 1849, and in 1864 to Mahanoy City, where he now lives. He was married in 1849, to Miss Mary Brace, of England. He commenced work for the Philadelphia and Reading Company in 1880, having been in the employ of Jones & Cole for twenty-six years.”

Extract from Page 152 of

The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star Volume 45

Published 1883


BOWMAN . – At the residence of her son, Robert, in Salt Lake City, July 11, 1883, Dorothy Bowman, aged 90 years and 2 months. Deceased was born in Ox Close, parish of Washington, County of Durham, England, in 1793.”

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