Bryan Ferry … a Washington Lad

by Audrey Fletcher

Original Version 2002

January 2018
Bryan Ferry was born into the Washington mining community on September 26th 1945, a new baby brother for sister
Ann. The men of Washington did not relish working down the pit but the vast majority had little choice. It was either
that or starve. Following the end of World War Two in 1945 there was a mood of optimism among the people of the
town. Their children would have everything the future could offer them, and if it could be helped, their sons would not
go down the pit. Growing up in Washington in the 1950's and 1960's was a Golden Age of optimism and previously
undreamt of opportunity. I know, I was part of it.
Bryan Ferry in concert
Adelaide South Australia 2001
Photo by Audrey Fletcher
Washington coalminers. Geordie Morton is on the left and Jas Carr Walmsley, my husband's grandfather, is on the
right. Most of the pitmen in the Glebe / Brady Square part of Washington worked at the
Glebe Pit. This is the pit where
my dad, Joe Hall, was a Deputy. Bryan's dad also worked here.
Cook's Hall, which was about half a mile along the
road from where Bryan lived in his school days. Bryan's dad worked here as a gardener.
The Glebe Pit
Cook's Hall
Bryan spent his toddler years in Model Dwellings, a row of spacious terraced flats opposite the Glebe School. Bryan,
like the rest of us in the local area, went to the
Glebe Infant and Junior School. Today it is called the John F.
Kennedy School. His first teacher in the Infants was Miss Bell and his final teacher in Junior School was Miss Swaddle.
It was Miss Swaddle who prepared us for the Grammar School and the chance of a life away from the pits. The pass
rate for her students to go to Grammar School was extremely high. I would guess at well over 90%. Her teaching
methods would be considered modern even by today's standards. Miss Swaddle was well ahead of her times and many
of her students are indebted to her. (
Photogapher of football team unknown.)

While at the
Glebe Juniors, Bryan was in the school football team, which was coached by Mr. Morrow, one of the
most popular teachers at the school. I knew seven of the team. Bryan was the goalie. Back left to right: Bobby
Buchanan (Raeburn Avenue), Gordon Smith (Oliver Street), Bryan Ferry (Gainsborough Avenue), Arthur Short (Avon
Street), Ray Cowanand Ken Woosey (Eden Terrace?).Front left to right: Billy Reay (Morland Ave), Alan Cutts (The
Terraces), Peter Graham, Raymond Lumsdon (The Terraces) and Keith Nesbitt. Peter Graham went on from the
Washington Grammar School to play for the Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
Model Dwellings
Glebe Junior School Football Team
Bryan Ferry is Goalie
The Glebe School
In the years following WWII just about every child in Washington went to church or chapel. When he was a toddler
Bryan attended the Methodist Chapel in Station Road and also the Mission Hall down Brady Square. Dora Richardson
was his Sunday School Teacher at the Mission Hall. When the New Houses were built, Bryan's parents were offered a
house in Gainsborough Avenue. These were lovely houses with all the mod cons. The Terraces is directly across the
road from Gainsborough Avenue. I lived in number 15. Bryan's Grandma, Mrs. Meynell, lived next door in number 16.
My Aunty Mary (Hullyer) was bridesmaid at the wedding of Bryan’s mam and dad.
The Mission Hall ... Cook's Chapel
Gainsborough Avenue
The Terraces
Bryan attended the Washington Grammar School, where he gained his A-levels. His acceptance into Newcastle
University to study Art was his passport away from life down the pit. However even at Grammar School, we were never
far from our cultural heritage. There was a lovely view of
the pit heap from the classroom windows! While at Grammar
School, Bryan had a job as a paper lad. He was employed at
Anderson's Shop, down Brady Square, to deliver
newspapers and comics. My husband, Edwin, also worked there as a paper lad.

Bryan had a flair for showmanship. Here he is captured in his role as
Malvolio in the Washington Grammar School
Christmas Play
"Twelfth Night". Gordon Johnston, who sometimes operated the lighting for the stage production,
emailed me to say that the photos of the play were taken by Joe Dodd the Metalwork teacher, who also built the set and
arranged the lighting. Many thanks Gordon.
Washington Old Hall
The Village Smithy
Washington Grammar School
The Pit Heap
Anderson's Paper Shop
Bryan Ferry as Malvolio in the school play "Twelfth Night"
(Recent photographs by Audrey Fletcher. Photographs of miners and Cooks Hall courtesy of Edwin Fletcher. Also there are four postcards
of old Washington, photographer unknown.)
The Village Green
When Bryan was at Newcastle University he began singing first with the rock group, The Banshees, and later with The
Gas Board. To find out how Bryan Ferry spent some of his recreational time while a student at Newcastle University
Finally in 1970 the world renowned Roxy Music was formed by Bryan Ferry and Graham Simpson. Bryan's parents
were behind him all the way, giving him every encouragement in any way they could. Today Bryan Ferry is a world wide
phenomenon and Washington is proud to call him one of her own.
Navigation by WebRing.
Every day on his way to school, Bryan passed the Washington Old Hall. This is the ancestral home of George
Washington, the First President of the United States. He then passed the
Village Smithy which dates back to at least
the 1500's. Finally he passed the
Village Green, where President Carter planted a tree (which subsequently died
and it had to be replaced). The Green was originally the Village Pond.