Film ID:
NEFA 12761

WASHINGTON: THE FIRST SEVEN YEARS

1972

Visitor Tabs

Description

Sponsored film produced for the Washington Development Corporation by Turners Film Productions. Washington was designated a ‘New Town’ in 1964 and expanded dramatically to house overspill population from surrounding cities. This film describes the planning background and development achieved in the first 7 years of constructing Washington’s new self-sufficient "villages," industrial estates, road communications, social amenities and its town centre. The legacy of the coal industry and derelict colliery sites also feature in some scenes. John Edmunds provides the voice over.

A map shows the site for Washington New Town.

A pyramidal slag heap stands behind the old town of Washington. A train with the logo NCB travels into the colliery, possibly Usworth Colliery. There are interior and exterior shots of a derelict coal pit works and machinery. Children play in a back alley between rows of terraced houses. The back doors of the terraces open onto wasteland and grassy slag heaps. There are several shots of the old mine works and terraced housing.

The next sequence introduces examples of some Washington new town housing with a focus on the detached homes and landscaping. These contrast with the previous shots of Victorian terraces.

Stephen Holley sits in an executive office and begins to introduce the project.

Title: Stephen Holley. General Manager. Washington Development Corporation.

A general view shows an old manor house located in the original Washington village Then an aerial view of the Washington area illustrates the layout of new villages or estates.

A hand drawn map locates Washington New Town between Newcastle Upon Tyne and Sunderland. There are shots of the Durham motorway, and of new roads surrounding Washington that include the motorway to Sunderland.

Aerial views show the new industrial zones, which are separated from designated villages with housing. The industrial parks are sited to facilitate production and transportation, with motorways located near industry. Shots of the modern industrial buildings and green landscaping follow. Stephen Holley provides a brief voice-over.

A general view of a landscape of fields on the northern boundary of the planned new town development is followed by a shot of Usworth Hall, where the headquarters for the Washington Development Corporation was established in 1964. In Usworth Hall, the members of the corporation board hold a meeting with the Chairman, Sir James Steele, and discuss the proposed framework for the town. There are discussions with planners and architects. A public meeting is held in Washington for locals to discuss the development plans.

A new town industrial site is under construction. A promotional advertising board for Tube Products Limited is unveiled at the Washington New Town exhibition. Some old terraced housing is demolished. Young volunteers are recruited to clean up areas of the old Washington landscape. There are general views of the new houses and factories that have been constructed, which include the Dunlop premises.

The 1969-1970 stage of construction is introduced with an elevated view of the new roads under construction. In 1971 the first stage of the town centre development begins. The new highway network opens and is in use in the same year. There is a general view of one of the many new houses under construction, situated on a hill. There are interior and exterior shots of the wide range of different houses and play areas for children. Three people relax in the planned south-facing private garden of their new home.

The next sequence shows interior and exterior views of the new schools in use. The voice over explains that each new "village" would be designated a new school. People shop in one of the new village streets. Children walk through the system of public footpaths on the estates, and their safety aspect is stressed.

Aerial shots show the overall design of some nearly completed Washington "villages." Donwell, Sulgrave, Barmston and Blackfell are named. Two men walk into a new community centre. A man introduces himself as Jim Ewing, Community Development Officer with the Development Corporation. He speaks to a small group of new residents in one of the rooms of a new home. A woman asks a question. A public meeting with community and committee members follows.

An aerial shot shows progress on another new village or industrial park.

A record is placed on a record turntable. The film cuts to a general view of an office work environment. This is probably inside the RCA record factory at Blackfell. A man stands at his desk, which holds a record deck and a reel-to-reel audio tape deck, and he plays a record. Through his glass fronted office booth, we can see three women who also appear to have record decks on their desks, and may be quality checkers for the vinyl record production company. There are shots of the industrial processes involved in vinyl record production, followed by a close-up of an RCA record.

Men work on the manufacture of Molenschot weighing machines in the new factory at Washington.

Aerial shots show several different industrial estates built in Washington. Men are working on the production line for a new sports car, the Clan Crusader, which was built in a new factory between 1971 - 1974. A blue Clan Crusader sports car accelerates and drives along the new highways around Washington.

A hand drawn plan shows the network of motorways linked with the secondary roads system. An aerial view then shows motorway networks constructed near industrial zones, and away from new residential areas.

A man loads golf clubs into his car at one of the housing estates.

Stephen Holley looks out over the construction site for the new Washington town centre, standing on the roof of a recently built office block. He talks about the new buildings that are planned for the centre, including a library. The camera pans across to show the new car park, constructed for up to 2,000 cars. The office building on which Stephen Holley stands is part of the new Inland Revenue complex. A panoramic view of the newly planted and landscaped central park that runs from the town centre down the Biddick valley.

Portrait shot of Stephen Holley as he speaks to camera.

Children are pictured with a teacher in a nursery classroom playing with Lego.

Children play football outside a concrete housing estate block.

Title: A town is composed of people - not of concrete and bricks. The New Town will be what the people of Washington make it. All the planners and builders can do is to provide the homes, the work places, the leisure facilities, the social amenities, and the environment for a full and happy life.
Sir James Steel, C.B.E.
(Chairman, Washington Development Corporation)

There are shots of a community event in a park in the old village area of Washington, with steam tractors on display, children playing, and tug of war competitions. A man and child row in the River Wear near the Victoria Viaduct bridge. There are various portrait shots of different generations of people enjoying leisure activities. The film closes with children painting pictures.

End credits:
Produced for Washington Development Corporation
Produced by Turners Film Productions. Newcastle upon Tyne. England.
Executive Producer: Bryan Copplestone
Directed and Photographed by David Cox

Additional Photography: Peter Brock
Based on a Treatment by John Grant
Sound: David Middleton
Sound Recordist: Nick Johnstone