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Where they celebrate Independence Day in the U.K.

Jeff Horwich Jul 4, 2012

Where they celebrate Independence Day in the U.K.

Jeff Horwich Jul 4, 2012

Jeff Horwich: Meanwhile, in the English town of Sunderland, today is quite nice — in the mid-60s — perfect for their 4th of July celebration. That’s the home of Washington Old Hall — a historic estate which might be the only place in the U.K. that throws a party for our Independence Day.

Nick Dolan is the property manager there. Nick, Happy Fourth of July to you.

Nick Dolan: And to you. Greetings from across the pond.

Horwich: So what is the direct connection of George Washington Hall to our first president, George Washington?

Dolan: Sure. Back many centuries ago, Washington Old Hall was the original ancestral home of George Washington. There was a guy called William de Wessyngton who took over the estate, took over the name of Wessyngton — corrupted to become Washington — but he was the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather of the famous George Washington, first president of the U.S.

Horwich: What do you do today at George Washington Hall to celebrate?

Dolan: Well, we celebrate with a neat, tight hour-long ceremony; we raise the American flag — that’s always raised by an American representative. We sing your national anthem, and we celebrate the original concept of independence. So it’s a lovely ceremony, quite a moving one at times and fun too.

Horwich: I’m sure it is, but I’m sure you’ll also admit it seems a little weird, because, of course, this was not a great event, American independence, in the history of your country.

Dolan: Well, that is true when you go back. However, when you actually have a look at the original concept of the Declaration of Independence, I think it’s nice that we celebrate the concept behind setting up a democracy. Then I think it’s not so crazy.

Horwich: And you try not to think to hard about the specifics of it, then, which are basically that our country told your country to take a hike.

Dolan: I think history is history, and without the American link Washington Old Hall as a building wouldn’t have been able to be saved. And so the American links are very important to us in the actual preservation of a historical bit of the Northeast of England.

Horwich: Well I’m glad we can all agree to let bygones be bygones. I wish you a very happy Fourth of July celebration. Thank you so much.

Dolan: And to you, and best regards to all across the pond on this very special day for us.

Horwich: That’s Nick Dolan. He manages Old Washington Hall, the ancestral home of George Washington.

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