Ancestral home of George Washington flies the flag for Independence Day
July 6, 2021
Washington Old Hall staff hosted a small flag-raising ceremony to mark American Independence today.
The annual July 4th event, which in previous years has attracted guests from across the UK and the USA, was held behind closed doors for a second consecutive year, due to the venue's being closed to visitors during the pandemic.
Washington Old Hall, which has been in the National Trust's care since 1956, is the ancestral home of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and holds an annual ceremony to mark the occasion and to promote the city's close economic and cultural ties with America.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Cllr Harry Trueman and Dorothy Trueman were joined by the leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Graeme Miller for US the flag raising, alongside Friends of Washington Old Hall and representatives from the National Trust.
Speaking at the ceremony, The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Harry Trueman, said: "As a resident of Washington myself, it was a huge honour to represent the city and raise the flag during such an historic event.
"While it's been a huge miss not being able to celebrate the occasion with members of the public and our friends further afield, it's fantastic to be able to carry on the tradition and continue celebrating this unique event.
Commemorating the 4th July is a tradition started in the 1930s by Fred Hill, the local school master who saved Washington Old Hall. Fred was a vocal advocate for Anglo-American friendship, and the annual celebrations have continued in his legacy.
Cllr Trueman added: "We hope that by next year it will be possible for us to welcome back the children and young people from local schools and the Sunderland Youth Council, who usually bring so much to the event through their performances and contributions.
But we are just delighted to be able to be here today and to send the message to our American friends - especially in Sunderland's Sister City, Washington DC - that we are thinking of them.
Mick Wilkes, General Manager of Washington Old Hall said: "We're thrilled that Washington Old Hall has been able to host this special event, which has been taking place here for nearly a century now.
"During this time where it is harder for people to be together, it feels really special to be able to connect with our American friends through this annual celebration. The 4th July event celebrates our shared history, but it also gives us a moment to reflect on the ways we are connected now and our hopes and plans for the future."
For more information on Washington Old Hall, visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/washington-old-hall