"Southampton home port of the Titanic & Benny Hill" Top 5 Page for this destination Southampton by budapest8

Southampton Travel Guide: 75 reviews and 185 photos

Southampton..birthplace of Benny Hill

Southampton is a city and major port found on the south coast
of England. It is the closest city to the New Forest and lies at the
northern-most point of Southampton Water approximately halfway
between Portsmouth and Bournemouth. Also directly opposite my
home for many years, the Isle of Wight.

This was my first city to work in after leaving my home on the Isle of
I got a job with the Ordanance Survey (Government Map makers,
making the best quality maps in the world) in Maybush Corner.
First I I boarded with 4 other boys also working at the OS then I got my
own bedsit in the Triangle.I remember that Southampton was so hot that
Summer of 1976 that it even made the record for being the hottest place
in the world for 1 day.

God's House Tower and Southampton History

God's House Tower stands at the south-east corner of the town
walls that had once encircled medieval Southampton. The whole
structure is really an amalgamation of two buildings: a simple
gatehouse, built in the late 13th century; and a massive spur work, an
early 15th century addition consisting of a two-storey gallery and a
three-storey tower. The building takes its name from the nearby
hospital of God's House, founded in 1168 by Gervase le Riche as a
refuge for poor travellers.

The Titanic
Titanic is pulled away from White Star Dock, Southampton at
the start of her maiden voyage on April 10th 1912

"My father went away and spoke to one of the sailors and came
back and said 'We've hit an iceberg ? they're going to launch the
lifeboats but you'll all be back on board for breakfast ?
I never saw him again." (Eva Hart, Titanic survivor)

Although Stone Age settlements are known to have existed in the area,
the first permanent settlement was established by the Romans.
Known as Clausentum, it was an important trading port for the large
Roman towns of Winchester and Salisbury.

The Anglo-Saxons moved the centre of the town across the River Itchen
to its present location, and it remained an important port. At the time,
it was centred around what is now the St Mary's area, and the
settlement was known as Hamwic. This name was later to evolve into
Hamtun, and later still to Hampton.

The Viking King Canute the Great is supposed to have defeated the
Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready here in 1014 and his fabled
attempt to "command" the tide to halt may have taken place in
Southampton. However, its prosperity was assured following the
Norman Conquest in 1066, when it became the major port of transit
between Winchester (then the capital of England) and Normandy.

By the 13th Century, Southampton had become a leading port,
and was particularly involved in the wool trade. The Wool House is
Southampton's oldest surviving building, built in 1417, as a warehouse
for the medieval wool trade with Flanders and Italy.
This building is today used as the Maritime Museum, and can be found
near Town Quay.

It was sacked in 1338 by the French, including the pirate Grimaldi,
who used the plunder to help found the principality of Monaco.
After this attack, the city walls were built, some of which remain as
ruins today. The city walls include God's House Tower, built in 1417,
the first purpose-build artillery fortification in England. Today, it is open
as the Museum of Archaeology.

During the middle ages, shipbuilding became an increasingly
important industry, which was to remain for centuries to come.
The city became a county corporate in 1447.

The Second World War hit Southampton particularly hard,
because of its strategic importance as the major industrial
area on the South Coast. Pockets of Georgian architecture remain,
but much of the city was levelled. The accuracy of the locally-based
Ordnance Survey's maps did not go unrecognised by the Luftwaffe:
the German bomber pilots used them to bomb Southampton.

Southampton was awarded city status in 1964 following a royal

Southampton has had a few significant impacts on global history...

It was the original point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers
aboard the Mayflower. A memorial may be found on Town Quay.
The 12th century Red Lion pub on the High Street below the Bargate
within the old walls is where in 1415, immediately prior to King Henry V
of England's departure from Southampton to the Battle of Agincourt, the
conspirators Richard, Earl of Cambridge, Lord Scrope of Masham and
Sir Thomas Grey of Heton were tried and found guilty of high treason,
before being summarily executed outside the Bargate.
In common with most of the luxury liners of the time, the Titanic sailed
from here, and it is still an important ocean liner port frequented by
luxury ships such as the QE2, the Oriana, and most recently the Queen
Mary 2. A memorial to the crew of the Titanic may be found in Andrews
Park, on Above Bar Street. There is a memorial to the musicians who
played on the Titanic just opposite the main memorial.

The ahead-of-its-time Supermarine Spitfire was developed and
initially manufactured in the suburb of Woolston. A memorial plaque
to its designer, Reginald Mitchell, may be found in Russell Place
in the suburb of Highfield. Mitchell grew up in Stoke-on-Trent,
then had a house in the suburb of Portswood near the university.
The plane was a direct descendant of experimental aircraft built by
Supermarine that competed in the Schneider Trophy in the 1930s.
Supermarine was taken over by Vickers in 1928. Mitchell's short life is
documented in the film The First of the Few. On Sept 24th 1940, the
Woolston factory was bombed, killing 100 workers, though not
damaging the factory. Two days later, the factory was heavily damaged
by bombing, and thirty more workers died, which interrupted production
of the Spitfire for many weeks at a critical time of the UK's survival.

There were many aircraft companies based around Hamble,
to the east of the city, from the 1930s to 1950s, including Folland
Aviation, started by Henry P Folland, the former chief designer of
Gloster Aircraft. Folland was taken over by Hawker Siddeley in 1960,
and later as British Aerospace, the factory built the Hawk and Harrier. The history of the area's contribution to aviation is celebrated at the Southampton Hall of Aviation, near Itchen Bridge, and opposite to
where the Woolston Supermarine factory was.
The city was the birthplace of hymn writer Isaac Watts. The Watts
memorial in the city's West Park - also known as the Watts Park - was
unveiled in 1861. Just across the road from there, the city's Civic Centre
(the first building to bear that name) has a clock which plays a Watts
hymn (O God Our Help In Ages Past) every four hours.

The painter John Everett Millais was born in the city. Southampton
Solent University's art gallery is named Millais Gallery in his honour.

BOAC had a flying boat base in the docks serving British colonial
possessions in Africa and Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. It closed in
1950 when land based aircraft became dominant.

The city is home to Sir Edwin Lutyens' first permanent cenotaph, a
memorial to the city's dead of World War I. When it was unveiled on 6
November 1920, it was 1800 names, later raised to 2008. It can be
found in West (Watts) Park, opposite the Titanic memorial.

Nearby, Calshot Spit was a base for the military flying boat services.

It was the birthplace of comedian Benny Hill, who lived in the suburb of
Shirley, and previously worked as a milkman in nearby Eastleigh.

Another famous comedian, Tommy Cooper lived here for many years

Southampton is home to the world's oldest surviving bowling green

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Benny Hill, The Mayflower, Titanic, The Spitfire, The Red Devils
  • Cons:To many yoiks and skinheads back in my day, now just goths..
  • In a nutshell:Great place to start a voyage somewhere unless it was the Titanic
  • Last visit to Southampton: Aug 1986
  • Intro Updated Jan 7, 2009
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budapest8 Used To Live Here!


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