Reunion as new town’s creators toast Washington’s 50th anniversary

Former Washington Development Corporation staff celebrate the New Town's 50th anniversary.
Former Washington Development Corporation staff celebrate the New Town's 50th anniversary.
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FORMER Washington Development Corporation staff held a reunion to toast the new town’s 50th anniversary.

Washington was one of 22 new towns designated across the UK between 1946 and 1970, with the legal order to make it a reality passed in 1964.

The development corporation was set up to make the vision a reality and spearhead a transformation which would treble the town’s population from 20,000 to nearly 60,000 and deliver more than 14,000 new homes.

It also helped bring 400,000 sq m of factories, 72,000 sq m of offices, 61,000 sq m of shops, 10,700 school places and 18,000 jobs to the town.

The corporation achieved all its targets within 15 years and more than 1,220 former members of staff were reunited for a celebration to mark the town’s golden anniversary.

Former secretary Wendy Young, who organised the event at Washington Arts Centre, was delighted with the response from her former colleagues: “Brilliant, wonderful, fabulous, were just some of the words used to describe the evening,” she said.

Ian Self, who worked at the corporation as a town planner, said: “The fact so many people came along shows the affection a lot of people had for the Development Corporation and the pride they had in their achievements. It was great to meet up and recount the times we spent together creating Washington New Town.”