1964 saw the town of Southampton become a Chartered City, this new charter was issued on 24th February and was signed by Queen Elizabeth and states that  "Southampton is henceforward to be known as the City and County of the City of Southampton" and ever since it has carried on being a major city in the South of England and then in 2000 it became one of the first Unitary Authorities in England. The title of County of Southampton and all its privileges are still remaining and Government changes never altered it and, unless, the Council allow the Charter to lapse by not staying within its bounds, it cannot be changed.

Note: Southampton was at this time part of the county of Hampshire, before it was the County of Southampton

The photo above was taken in the 1960s, and in front of the Civic Centre (to right of picture) used to be the Rose Garden with the Hants and Dorset bus station (on the left just outside of the photo)  and in the top right corner where there is a group of trees is now where the new BBC Television and Radio studios are situated. To the left of this can be seen the main London to Weymouth railway line emerging from the Northam Tunnel. The fountain in the middle used to light up at night with different colours and now it has been moved to the other side of the Civic Centre where it stands outside the Library. Where the houses and car park on the left are this is now the huge Skandia Life insurance Offices and the gardens are now replaced by a major traffic network.



The Civic Centre

  The Bargate looking towards the High Street from the Shopping Precinct
The Bargate Centre   The entrance to the Art Gallery at the Civic Centre 
showing the clock tower and the old Fountain that once 
stood in the Rose Garden outside of the old Bus station
Tudor House   The Hythe ferry departing from the Town Quay
The Queen Mary II bow on at Ocean Terminal January 2004,
photo sent in by Lynda Ahmed, Hampshire
  The Queen Mary II (the world's largest passenger ship)
arrived in Southampton on Boxing Day26th December 2003
and is shown berthed at Ocean Terminalprior to her launching
by Queen Elizabeth II on 8th January 2003
The ferries arriving from the Isle of Wight to dock at the Town Quay   The High Speed Isle of Wight Ferry returning from Cowes
The Red Funnel car ferry returning from Cowes   A fully operational Steamship The SS Shieldhall
The Medieval Merchants Hall and the West Gate 
on the right is where the Pilgrim fathers left Southampton

St Michaels Church


Plaque on the Westgate denoting the Pilgrim Fathers voyage

  Mayflower memorial to he Pilgrim Fathers

The other side of the Westgate next to the old Royal Standard pub

  The old city walls, the shoreline of Southampton Waters 
once came right up to the pavement on the right hand side 
of the road, and in Victorian times was a popular walking venue

The Harbour Hotel makes a striking contrast to this side of the city

  he Royal Pier. Above in its heyday and below all that is left after a fire during the 1960s The forecourt is now the entrance to the Isle of Wight Ferry terminal (left) and Mayflower Park. The old railway line still exists across the entrance to the forecourt which led to the docks.

The Balloon Festival which has now been stopped
Photo kindly submitted by Jean Harding, Poole, Dorset




The Stella Memorial


The "SS Stella" was a passenger ship that sank off the coast of Guernsey (1899) and the memorial is to Mary Ann Rogers, a stewardess who drowned after giving her lifebelt to a passenger and refusing to get into the lifeboat because it would have overloaded it.

....'urged by the sailors to make sure of her own safety she refused, lest she might endanger the heavily laden boat, cheering the departing crew with a friendly cry, "goodbye, goodbye". She was seen a few minutes later as the Stella went down, lifting her arms upward with the cry', "Lord, have me"; she sank in the waters with the sinking ship'





Up-market building on the site of the old Hampshire County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road
(Hampshire County Cricket ground is now at The Rose Bowl in West End)
The New Friends Provident Football Stadium   More building on the site of the old Dell, Southampton's football ground
Calshot Spit Lightship which is now permanently "moored" in Ocean Village
Above and below, Ocean Village is a leisure, housing and office complex and yacht marina, built in old dockland

Today the city is changing rapidly with new shopping malls built to replace the older shops which are falling behind with the times, pedestrianised areas and a new traffic system has been built. The Bargate Centre and West Quay can be accessed from the main shopping area, and the latter is built where the old Echo Office used to be and stretches across to the docks on land that was once a Pirelli Cable works and the old Lido. This is still expanding with new ideas being discussed the latest being to build an Ikea store, alongside the large John Lewis departmental store.

Ocean Village is at the bottom of the town on the waterfront and here is a cinema, shops, new apartments and a yacht marina which was where some of the worlds most famous races such as the Round the World races start and/or end from.

There are three gateways to the city that are still intact but the most famous one stands at the southern end of the shopping area, The Bargate once had houses joining the sides but how it has been made as a stand alone paved area. During the first part of the 20th century specially adapted double deck trams used to pass through the arch in the middle. Inside the Bargate is a museum which was reached by a very steep stone staircase. At the back of the Bargate is the High Street and just off  the bottom of this is the Westgate from where Henry V sailed fro Agincourt and where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the new world.


There are several Titanic memorials in the city, the Engineers Memorial in East Park and below is the crew memorial at Holyrood church which was bombed in WWII, and there is a Musicians Memorial in Cumberland Place.

The church of the Holy Rood   The old Dolphin Hotel
The bells at Holyrood church   Interior of Holyrood


Another interior view of Holyrood   The church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action
on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant ~ Navy and lost their lives at sea
The Memorial to the crew of the Titanic

Of course the city is also famous for its dockyards, where once it was called The Gateway to the Empire, and large ocean going liners sailed to the United States and other far away exotic sounding places, Union Castle, White Star, Cunard and P&O lines are all well known names in the city. The Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, The France, United States, Windsor Castle, Pendenis Castle all these famous ships sailed in and out of the docks. The docks now are mainly for cruise ships and Carnival Cruises are to build a new headquarters here in the city at West Quay. The Cunard line had their departure lounge in South Western House which was next to the Terminus Station, (now closed down) and it was not unusual to see a man with a red flag in the middle of Platform Road stopping the traffic to allow a train to cross the road with passengers for one of the Queens. South Western House then became BBC South's studios before the building of the new studios in Havelock Road opposite the Civic Centre


RMS Titanic leaving Southampton
 on her fateful voyage


On Saturday 11th June 1977 the "floating bridge" made 
its final journey across the River Itchen to Woolston 
to make way for the new Itchen Bridge, photo shows 
the bridge under construction in  November 1976

Warships have called here on courtesy calls and I can remember as a child being taken by my mother to the open day of the huge USS Forrestal and a couple of American destroyers that were here. Another time there was a huge whale put on display at the Royal Pier where there was a Supermarine Spitfire on display that had won the Schneider Trophy .

Spitfires over Southampton Water, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the building of the plane
which was built just up the river at Woolston

The World's largest and latest Cruise ship "Freedom of the Sea" just before her maiden voyage
The Aurora (Right) leaving Southampton on a cruise and saluting Freedom of the Sea


The city museums are extremely popular and fascinating, The Museum of Archaeology was once a part of the city's defences and held cannon and the gunpowder store, it now covers the story of the Roman and Saxon era of Southampton. The Wool House which is just a few yards away and opposite the Royal Pier was once a Medieval store for wool and is now the Maritime Museum and shows the development of the docks in the 19th century to the liners that sailed the Atlantic and a special section dedicated to the Titanic.  Tudor House and the garden is in St Michael's Square was the home of a wealthy merchant and has been enlarged and altered so many times, at present it is closed to the public but opens soon and shows the life of the Tudor times. And in French Street just down from Tudor House is the Medieval Merchant's House that has been authentically furnished just as it was in 1290.



The No.4 45 tram which is now at the Crich Tramway Museum.
Signed as the "Floating Bridge" and "Bitterne Park"
Photo kindly contributed by Len Payne, Canada

This was the tram that started the whole preservation movement when it was purchased in 1949 after a final tour of the Southampton system before closure. The Museum Committee of the Light Railway Transport League brought the tram for just 10 after it was selected as being in the best condition of the remaining open-top trams. At the time there was nowhere to store the tram as this was pre-Crich and so the tram travelled the country staying in various locations. It was in Blackpool by 1955 at Marton Depot and was handed over to the Tramway Museum Society which had just been formed from the Museum Committee of the LRTL. It then spent some time at the Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire alongside Newcastle 102 on open air display before arriving at its new home in Crich in October 1960. The tram looks out of proportion as it had to pass through the very low Bargate Arch in the centre of Southampton and a normal sized tram would not have stood a chance of clearing the arch. Although it was originally built in 1903 by Hurst Nelson the Corporation rebuilt it at a later date by adding canopies and changed the three window saloon to a 4 window one. The tram is in regular use, when the weather permits, still to this day at the Crich Tramway Village and is in Red and White livery.

Fact File
Built: 1903 by Hurst Nelson with 3 window lower saloon. Rebuilt by Southampton Corporation Tramways with 4 window lower saloon.
Type: Open Top Double-Deck.
Withdrawn from Service: 1949 - purchased for 10 for preservation by LRTL Museum Committee
Seats: Number unknown. Knifeboard seating on top deck.
Previous Homes: Include - Southampton, Marton Depot (Blackpool), Motor Museum Beaulieu.
Current Collector: Trolley
Trucks: 1 in centre
Current Livery: Red and White
Current Status: Operational at the Crich Tramway Village (since 1960)


OLD SOUTHAMPTON - Collection of old postcards
THE WALLED CITY all about the city walls
Her Serene Highness Margravine of Anspach
THEY'RE OFF Southampton's Racecourse

St Mary's Workhouse

John Major (Mayor of Southampton) originally endowed it in his Will in 1629. John Harris was the first govenor in 1632, the town having provided the building, which was originally on the site of what was the theatre in French Street and is now part of St Johns School.

There then followed a complicated period of rise and decline, argy bargying about who, what and where, and eventually a new workhouse was proposed to be built on the north side of Saint Mary's Churchyard in place of Butler almshouses which were supposed to have been removed, but for a number of reasons weren't.
The St Mary's workhouse was actually built (in 1774) just next to it on land which now houses part of the Polytechnic.
The original John Major Workhouse endowment of 40 went with the new building, but the Trusteeship etc changed. The Union House as it became known was enlarged several times and in 1881 accommodated 240 adults, 100 boys and 110 girls . In 1886 a new building was erected on the same site at a cost of 40,000, the old one being pulled down. It had room for 500 paupers, and two schools on the opposite side of the road were exclusive to it. There were 54 Guardians of the Poor in Southampton at that time.
For further information:

The Old Ordnance Survey office in London Road now demolished and a new court built in its stead. The OS was established in Southampton in 1841 Later the OS was moved to Romsey Road.