is a town in the county of Tyne and Wear
in northeast England
. Washington is administered as a part of the City of Sunderland
and is located some 10 miles (16km) west of the city centre, and is located roughly the same distance south of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
. In 2001
Washington had a population of 55,454.
Washington was designated a new town in 1964 and expanded dramatically to house overspill population from surrounding cities.
The main shopping centre is 'The Galleries', an indoor complex housing local shops and services, and the ASDA and Sainsbury (also known as SavaCentre) supermarkets.
Washington's curious design was incorporated from many towns in the United States. The town itself is divided into small self-sufficient "villages", and is also divided into 15 districts, a fate which confuses many visitors to the town. Washington's villages are called Donwell, Usworth (originally Great Usworth), Concord, Sulgrave, Albany, Glebe, Barmston, Washington Village (the original village and location of the Old Hall), Columbia, Blackfell, Oxclose, Ayton, Fatfield, Harraton, RickletonBuilt on industry, the town itself has several industrial estates, named after famous local people, such as Parsons, Armstrong, Crowther, Patterson, Swan and Emmerson.
The name comes from the local Anglo Saxon chief 'Hwaes', whose family 'Inga' had an estate 'Tun' there -- 'Hwaesingatun'.
The Old Hall may have been built by William de Hertburn , who moved to the area in 1183. As was the custom he took the name of his new estates, and became William de Wessyngton. By 1539 when the family moved to Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire the spelling "Washington" had been adopted. It was from Sulgrave that the ancestors of George Washington, the first President of the United States, emigrated to Virginia in 1657. Ironically they emigrated because of their Royalist sympathies.
The present Hall is an early 17th century small English manor house of sandstone. Only the foundations and the arches between the Kitchen and the Great Hall remain of the original house.
Washington's main industries include textiles, electronics, car assembly, chemicals and electrical goods. The Nissan auto plant is the largest private-sector employer in the City.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nature reserve and the Washington 'F' Pit mining museum are within the town, and Beamish Open-Air Museum is located nearby.
The North of England Aircraft Museum occupies part of the old RAF Usworth base. The Nissan plant takes up much of the rest. An attempt to run a municipal airport from the site failed.
There are several schools in the town of Washington. George Washington School, Usworth Colliery and Usworth Grange are the most notable primary schools in the area.
There are currently five secondary schools in Washington. Usworth School has been confirmed for closure at the end of the 2006-07 school year.