"The mainstay of this district is the coal industry, but there is also a chemical-works and a wire-rope manufactory. The chemical industry, which was established near the Washington station in the year 1837, has of late years greatly declined. It was introduced by the late Hugh Lee Pattinson, and the present works are working his patent for the manufacture of magnesia by R. S. Newall, esq. A short distance from the station a new industry was commenced by R. S. Newall & Son, in 1887, where large quantities of wire-ropes of all sizes are made, and sent to all parts of the world.
"Washington is a pleasant village which has considerably extended during the past thirty years. It is distant about seven miles south by east from Newcastle, and the same west from Sunderland. The Washington station is about one mile east from here.
"New Washington is a straggling village, partly in this and partly in Usworth Township, and has lately been improved by the addition of a terrace of neat stone houses. It is one mile and a quarter north from Washington village. Many of the inhabitants of this village are employed at the Usworth colliery. Usworth station, on the Leamside branch of railway, is just over a mile from here, to the east.
"Washington Staithes, situated on the Wear side, as its name implies, was at one time the place whence a considerable amount of coal was carried down stream to Sunderland. These staithes have not been utilised for many years.
"Washington Row, or Washington Colliery, is the name given to a row of low dwellings, occupied by miners engaged at the colliery close by, and near which there are many more miners' dwellings."
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]