Washington New Town - 50 years on

Washington - in Tyne and Wear - is celebrating 50 years of becoming a 'new town'.

In 1964 - under the New Towns Act - it underwent mass expansion with housing developments, shopping centres and industry all finding a new home in Washington, a town that is closely linked to Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham.

Washington's design was developed through the New Towns concept aiming to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth.

The new town is divided into small 'villages' that were formerly identified as 'districts'.

Famous people from Washington include:

  • Gertrude Bell was born at Washington Hall.
  • The musician Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) comes from Washington and attended Washington Grammar School (now Washington School (Comprehensive).
  • Heather Mills - model and ex-wife of Paul McCartney, attended Usworth Grange Primary School and Usworth Comprehensive School.
  • The musician Toni Halliday from the band Curve went to Washington School.
  • Leeds United and England footballer Billy Furness was born in Washington and started his football career playing for Usworth Colliery.
  • Alex Kapranos - lead singer of Franz Ferdinand was born in Washington.
  • George Clarke (Channel 4 presenter and architect) lived in Blackfell and went to Oxclose Comprehensive School.
  • Si King, one half of The Hairy Bikers attended St Robert of Newminster Catholic School.