Celebrating 100 years of the Washington and Barmston Memorial Park

Washington war memorial

Friday will mark 100 years since the Washington and Barmston War Memorial was unveiled on Washington Village Green.

On Saturday 5 June 1920 Lord Lambton, the Earl of Durham, who was a serving officer of the Durham Light Infantry, formally unveiled the monument after four years of planning and fundraising from the Washington Welcome Home and Memorial Committee.

The plinth and cross monument still stands as it did when it was unveiled a century ago, bearing the names of 179 casualties from the first world war, and another six that were added later.

Further names were added onto the shaft following later conflicts; 101 casualties of the Second World War, two from the Falklands War, two from the Gulf wars, and seven from the war in Afghanistan; adding up to a total of 297 names by 2020.

The memorial is more than just the plinth and cross monument, it is made up of the whole of the western green, which has continued to grow in the 100 years since its formal unveiling.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr David Snowdon said: "Washington and Barmston Memorial Park is still an important part of the community 100 years after it was first unveiled. It serves as a tribute to the Washington residents who gave up their lives for their country and gives people in the community a place they can go to reflect and pay their respects, which is just as important now as it was back in 1920.

"While we cannot come together in person to celebrate this important 100th anniversary, I would encourage the people of Sunderland to take a moment to remember the 297 people named on the memorial who gave their lives fighting for their country."

The memorial has seen changes come and go since it was first erected; the memorial was enclosed with railings, and a shelter and clock erected- though all the ironwork was removed during World War II. In 1986 the memorial and railings were restored, and the names on the plinth re-cut.

For 100 years the Green has been the focus of varied activities in the village, including Remembrance Day commemorations, the War Weapons Week in 1941, folk festivals and Christmas Fayres. And, most famously, the planting of trees by President Jimmy Carter and Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in 1977.

In 2014 further restoration took place and three ground plaques were placed behind the cross, and The Washington Village in Bloom Group added railings round the now mature prime ministerial and presidential trees. In 2018 the Group added the crouching soldier silhouette.

Details of the men of Washington who served and fell can be found at https://wwmp.weebly.com/

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Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.

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