Film ID: NEFA 20970 Video of NEFA 20970 The Washington Way THE WASHINGTON WAY 1975 Visitor TabsDescription Sponsored film by Turners Film Productions for the Washington Development Corporation (WDC) that highlights the design, benefits, and regeneration opportunities of the New Town development of Washington. Includes interviews with residents, an ex-coal miner's reminiscence of Washington's former mining industry, and Princess Anne opening "The Galleries" shopping centre. The film opens with a map that shows Washington's location in relation to Newcastle and Sunderland. Title: The Washington Way [over picture] A sequence of shots of the housing, highways and "village" lay out, factory buildings and The Galleries shopping centre in Washington New Town follow, including the Woolco supermarket exterior. An heraldic flag blows in the wind. Princess Anne makes a speech at the opening of The Galleries shopping cente to a crowd of invited guests. Close-up of some of the public in the crowd including a man taking a photograph. Princess Anne unveils a large faux stone panel carved with "The Galleries" name. Crowds outside wave and cheer. Princess Anne leaves the reception area of The Galleries and goes on a walkabout, accompanied by the WDC Chairman, Sir James Steel, around the new town centre, talking to young children and adults in the crowds, including an older man in a flat cap. The commentary explains the "villages" design concept of Washington New Town. The last shift of mine workers exit the cage lift at the pit head and leave the Usworth Colliery, the last mine in Washington. Billy Taylor, former miner and aged about 60, walks along a derelict Victorian terrace of houses. Interviewed on camera, he reminisces about Washington when the three pits were working.The next sequence includes shots of Bill's new house in Black Fell village, Bill with family and young children at a village fete, some playing a homemade game of Shove ha'penny, and some children in fancy dress including a "little devil" outfit. He is then pictured back at his new home with his wife, folding up a copy of the Washington Echo and chatting, whilst she knits. Interviewed on camera, he talks about being made redundant in 1968, and his new job in a metal tubing factory. He is pictured in a flat cap leaving for work from his new home. Footage of Billy Taylor working on macines at the tubing factory. The commentary praises industrial development in Washington and the multiple industries there. Exterior shots of local modern factories include RCA records pressing factory, Stephensons, followed by Shield Packaging Unit interiors. Gramophones are pressed at RCA. Women are making and packing centrifugal pumps. Women are working on the manufacture of television parts. There are interior shots of the Molenschott industrial weighing machine plant. Interview with Franz van Schaik, Technical Director for Molen, who talks about the growth of the business. There are shots of his wife at their home on the John F. Kennedy Estate in Washington Village, driving to the shops, shopping and other everyday activities. Franz van Schaik then talks about how she and the family are "settling in." Exterior and interior shots of the shopping mall. The Van Schaik family eat at their family home. Interview with Paul Butler, teacher at Usworth Comprehensive School. There are shots of the classroom and of Butler teaching football to teams of schoolboys on the pitch. He talks about the design and sports facilities of the school, and the "social mix." Dorothy Butler helps out at a playgroup at the Albany Village Hall. Exterior shots of Albany village centre follow. The commentary discusses the footpath network in town. An older persons' group meet for a "singalong" in the Hall. The film concludes with shots of everyday life and leisure pursuits around Washington New Town, including shopping, gardening, hurdles race, swimming and scenes in the park. The commentary throughout stresses the future possibilities and ideals embodied in the development of Washington, and discusses the "village" system of design incorporated in the town. "Already Washington is providing a better heritage for future generations in housing, in landscaping and in social amenities. The Washington way is an exciting way in which to live." Credits: Narration - Paul Vaughan Production - John Grant Direction - Peter Brown Sound - George Mc Millan Editors - David Middleton and Vic Neve Turners Film Productions Copyright. WDC 1975 Context Washington became the 21st designated site in a second wave of new towns planned under the powers of the New Towns Act 1946, during that brief era when it was believed new towns could “transform the future.” A decade later, on the 23rd July 1974, Princess Anne officially opened The Galleries, a huge shopping mall complex by the Corporation Architect Eric Watson, due west of the old Washington village. The 1970s were a boom time in the UK for modern malls, designed from the inside out and built on the urban fringes with space for one-stop car-borne shoppers, an exciting alternative to the car-clogged high street. Shopping was to become the new British recreation, less of a ‘bore and chore’, more a way of life. In this upbeat 1975 film, The Washington Way, a film sponsored by Washington Development Corporation, shoppers move through the purple haze of dimmed artificial lighting in the new malls of The Galleries, the dazzle of neon shop fronts so much the brighter. The Pevsner Architectural Guide recorded that The Galleries “follows the big shed principle on a massive scale” with minimal, plain exterior walls built out of crystalline-aggregate concrete blockwork and “cavernous service areas beneath”. Giant anchor stores, Woolco (once a division of the Woolworths’ empire) and Savacentre, bookended the more intimate, multi-tiered interior arcades and open colonnaded square, connected by escalators, decorated with indoor plants and fitted with terrazzo tiles and carpeting. The impression was that of an inverse ‘TARDIS’ skilfully designed to create a home-from-home for the impulsive shopper. The Galleries now attracts around 14 million visitors a year. The Galleries is one of the many British shopping centres inspired by the visionary retail design first pioneered in North America by Viennese émigré architect and socialist, Victor Gruen, who fled to New York in the 1930s with 8 dollars in cash and no English. Gruen was hailed as the ‘father of the shopping mall’ after designing the hugely influential Southdale Center near Minneapolis, originally envisioned as a communal space modelled on the old arcades of European cities, which could counter American suburban sprawl. The Washington Development Corporation made several films with Turners Film Productions of Newcastle, providing a valuable historical record of the New Town’s development as well as persuasive public relations material for the quango. This collection is now held at North East Film Archive: Washington New Town: Washington Tomorrow (c.1966) introduced the Master Plan; a second, Washington: The First Seven Years, reported on progress in 1972. See also the short documentary Don’t Forget (1976), which celebrates the preservation of Washington’s coal mining heritage at the F Pit Museum. In 1979 The Washington Trail explored British links with the ancestors of General George Washington and was aimed mainly at the USA. By making the films informational, some were accepted by the Central Office of Information for circulation to overseas Embassies and High Commissions.