For seven-year-old George Clarke life on his council estate revolved around pedalling on his Raleigh Burner, creating camps and dens, racing handmade carts and playing footie.
The focal meeting point for his school friends and neighbours was the paved square edged with bushes near his family home in Washington, Tyne and Wear, where he lived with his mam, dad and three sisters.
The square was the main meeting point. It was literally the centre of his world. As a kid nowhere else mattered more.
Designated a new town in 1964 Washington’s affordable housing provision was at the time a futuristic build programme.
A combination of good sized family homes nestling beside bungalows, meant families and older residents lived-side-by-side as neighbours.
Well considered planning with a series of grassed squares punctuating the estate’s design, nurtured a strong sense of community, creating a town brimming with pride. It was early but innovative placemaking.
People worked hard and paid their taxes and in the eyes of seven-year-old George it was a simply awesome place to live. He played out with friends and neighbours, enjoyed a running calendar of street parties and spent time with his beloved Grandad Ted, who was to shape the young schoolboy’s career path.
A builder, Grandad Ted was normally to be found driving big diggers and scrapers, with George sat up high in the cab by his side.
He was George’s hero and inspired the architect’s life-long passion for building. In turn, George’s home town of Washington, where his mam Anne still lives and his middle sister Ava lives in the house next door, inspired his passion for placemaking, places where people can #lovehome