A fascinating collection of photographs charting the changing face of a Wearside town has been unearthed at a North East museum.
More than 100 images showing Washington during the early days of the Development Corporation – from 1964 to 1988 – came to light during cataloguing work at Beamish.
“We were sorting through our collection of portrait photographs when we discovered the pictures,” said collections team officer Julian Harrop.
“Some parts of Washington haven’t changed that much over the years, but others have changed beyond all recognition, as these photos show.”
Washington rose from the ashes of the Second World War as a New Town on July 24, 1964, but the roots of the former mining community date far further back.
Indeed, the manor of Washington was mentioned in the Boldon Book of 1183 and there are even earlier references to Washington as Wasindone in an 1096 document.
But the discovery of coal in the 19th century changed the rural idyll forever – bringing pits and thousands of people to Concord, Glebe and Usworth.
It was these Victorian and Edwardian communities – with their solid terraces, churches and corner shops – which later formed the backbone of the New Town.
Overseen by the Government-funded Washington Development Corporation, the scheme saw acres of land developed and mining terraces turned into modern homes.
The resulting community housed thousands of residents, provided hundreds of jobs – and turned Washington into an economically and socially successful community.
“Our collection amounts to over 100 images, so I’ve just selected a few here. If any readers would be interested in seeing more, please contact us,” said Julian.
l Anyone interested in examining the collection can contact Beamish on 370 4000.