Film ID:
NEFA 18641



Visitor Tabs


A promotional film for the Washington Development Corporation that celebrates Washington past, and the planning and public consultation for the region’s future urban development as a new town.

The film opens with a travelling shot through the windscreen of a car driving towards Washington. The car slows and stops at the road sign for Washington.

A still of an etching of William de Hertburne opens this sequence. The voice-over explains that he acquired the Manor of Washington around 1183, and adopted the name ‘William de Wassinton’ or ‘Wessyngton,’ founding the Washington family. There is a general view of Washington Old Hall, the original ancestral home of the Washingtons.

The film cuts to a view of the river at Durham. There is an illustration of Sulgrave Manor, home of a later descendant, Lawrence Washington, followed by a painting of his grandson, George Washington, first President of the United States of America. A shot of a Grand Union flag with Washington Coat of Arms, hoisted by George Washington, marks this Anglo-American connection.

Title: Washington New Town. Washington Tomorrow

Title: the beginning of a new town

There are shots of a modern, linear low-rise shopping precinct along a wide dual carriageway in Washington. Pages of the government White Paper “The North East” are turned. A map of the North East shows the area designated for development of the New Town from Usworth in the north to the River Wear in the south.

Members of the newly appointed board of Washington Development Corporation hold a meeting in their headquarters at Usworth Hall, chaired by the Chairman, James Steel. Maps and plans for Washington New Town are displayed in the boardroom.

James Steel makes an inspirational speech to camera promoting their planning for the new custom-built town of Washington.

The next shot documents a display (or illustration?) of the word “Exhibition” in modernist typography. The lettering “Washington Tomorrow” is displayed on the white slatted wood exterior of a 1960s building. The signs advertise the public exhibition in October 1964 (?) of plans and models for the new town, organised by the Washington Development Corporation (WDC), which over 4,000 people attend. People crowd into one of the exhibition rooms.

The scene switches to a public meeting held about the development plans. A great number of council and WDC officials are seated on a stage for the meeting. The public offer their views. A man speaks into a microphone he holds, with audience seated to his rear. An official seated on the stage offers a reply into microphone.

Back in the exhibition different members of the public look at the maps, plans and models for Washington New Town.

An exterior shot of Usworth Hall, the Headquarters of the WDC. The board are in a planning meeting where an officer makes a presentation using maps and technical drawings of the proposed development.

In the planning office, an illustrator at a drawing board consults with another man who points out areas of the development with his pen, with close-up shot of the plan.

Back in the panelled boardroom, a group of architects, engineers, and various branches of the Corporation, from financial, legal to landscape departments, meet at the planning stage.

In another stark, modern office there is a meeting that involves officials from the local council authority. Then, a man from the Urban District Council offers advice to another man on planning problems.

A hand flicks through the red bound copy of the Washington New Town master plan. A number of graphics and illustrations demonstrate plans for the road system, the shopping precinct, sports drome, and town centre. Prediction charts illustrate growth of new manufacturing and service industries, population, and car ownership. There are more artist’s illustrations, with a 1960s flavour, of proposed school, health clinic, library, offices, and futuristic town centre or mall with walkways in the sky.

People are on the main shopping street in Washington near a Boots shop branch.

The film cuts to a general view of a construction site for new housing scheme, with partially erected blocks of flats. A low angle shot captures the modern brick and balcony façade of one block. A bulldozer moves along a newly ploughed track at the edge of a colliery. Looking up to the steel framework of a new building, a builder drags a panel on rooftop girders. The camera tilts down to the lower floor where another construction worker operates ropes to hoist building material to his colleague.

Two girls lead a march-past of a large youth jazz and marching band, dressed in grey and white military-style uniforms, walking towards camera holding the embroidered banner for the “Washington Greys”. The event may be a celebration of American Independence Day on July 4th, which takes place every year at the Washington Old Hall. The film closes as the parade continues to march in regimented lines towards and past camera.

Credit: Filmed by Turners Film Productions. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. England.

Credit: For the Washington Development Corporation