Washington has been since 1974 a town in the City of Sunderland local government district of Tyne and Wear, England. Before 1974 it was part of County Durham. Washington is located geographically at an equal distance from the centres of Newcastle, Durham and Sunderland, hence it has close ties to all three cities.
Washington was designated a new town in 1964; it expanded dramatically, by the creation of new villages and the absorption of areas of Chester le Street, to house overspill population from surrounding cities.
At the 2011 census, Washington had a population of 67,085, compared to 53,388 in 2001.
Washington was an ancient parish in the Chester Ward of County Durham. It was made a civil parish in the 19th century and became part of the Chester le Street Rural District when the rural district was formed in 1894. In 1922 the town was removed from the rural district and made an urban district, a status it held until 1974. In 1937 Washington absorbed the neighbouring parishes of Barmston, Usworth and Harraton. In 1974 the county of Tyne and Wear was formed and this part of County Durham was transferred to the new county. Since 1974 Washington has been part of the City of Sunderland metropolitan district.
William de Wessyngton was a forebear of George Washington, the first President of the United States, after whom the US capital and many other places in the United States are named. Though George Washington's great-grandfather John Washington left for Virginia from Hertfordshire, Washington Old Hall was the family home of George Washington's ancestors. The present structure incorporates small parts of the medieval home in which they lived.