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
A PICTORIAL LOOK AT SOUTHAMPTON
THE CHANGING FACE OF A CITY
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.
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
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 .
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.
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.
- Collection of old postcards
St Mary's Workhouse