City of Southampton Society
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caring for our city's heritage and its green open spaces
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                                      Titanic departing from Southampton April 1912          John Melody Town Crier          
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Queen Mary entering KG DOCKOur outdoor visit to Minstead Church in 2011 image Will TempleWarrior who after service on the front in WWI became a Southampton Police Horse. Image by kind permission Bitterne Local History SocietySouthampton CenotaphJohn Melody Town Crier at Tudor Revels 2012 image Arthur Jeffery
Amberley Publishing,    2016. 95pp. £14.99

This is definitely a book members of the City of Southampton Society should read, given that our main interest is the built heritage of the city.

The book starts well, with a clear map showing the location of all the buildings, and each one is illustrated with at least one photograph and sometimes more. The choice of buildings is, as the author says, subjective and ranges from the predictable God’s House Tower, Tudor House and the Bargate, through banks, pubs and civic buildings to St Mary’s Football stadium and the Ikea building in West Quay Road. The author even gives a mention to the West Quay Watermark development which is still under construction.

Mr Groombridge is clearly not a fan of the City Council, saying in his introduction that “Southampton has often suffered at the hands of a local authority that often seems more intent on eradicating it than preserving it”, and later in the book criticises the City Council’s attitude to the town’s historic heritage. As Garth Groombridge has lived in the city since 1985, I feel he is entitled to his opinion – which co-incides to some extent with that of our own Planning and Environment committee

The book’s introduction clearly sets out the author’s remit, and his descriptions of the buildings whilst relatively short, are well researched , informative and very readable. I found it particularly interesting to read about some of the lesser known buildings such as King’s House in Shirley Road, and the Seafarer’s Centre in Queen’s Terrace.

I would have liked an index to the buildings, as the book is not arranged as far as I can see in any particular order, and perhaps a chronological list as well, but that may just be an ex-librarian nit-picking !

Jacky Barnes



The Southampton Book of Days by Mary L. South

[History Press - online discount 10%] 

Taking you through  the year day by day, The Southampton Book of Days features hundreds of snippets of information gleaned from the archives of Hampshire’s largest city. Featuring a story for every day of the year, it includes famous historical events, such as the departure of Titanic on her maiden voyage from the port of Southampton or the first flight of R.J. Mitchell’s Spitfire, alongside less well known and often humorous events from the city’s colourful past.

Featuring events from as early as 1174 right up to the present day, this fascinating selection is sure to appeal to everyone interested in one of Britain’s most historically rich cities.

On this day:

· January 11th 1997: On this day a couple revived their pet gold?sh with the kiss of life.

· February 22nd 1928: On this day the Hamble based pilot, Bert Hinkler, completed his marathon solo fight from England to Australia- the 1st person to do so.

· August 13th 1864: On this day, two lions escaped from a visiting menagerie based on West Marlands.

Format: Hardback

Publication: 01/10/2012

ISBN: 9780752465340

On Board RMS Titanic: Memories of the Maiden Voyage by George Behe

[History Press - online discount 10%] 

This is the very first book in which Titanic’s passengers and crewmen are permitted to tell the story of the disaster entirely in their own words via the texts of letters, postcards, diary entries and memoirs that were written before, during and immediately after the maiden voyage itself. Many of the pre-sailing documents were written by people who later lost their lives in the sinking and represent the last communications that these people ever had with their friends and loved ones at home. These letters and postcards give an unparalleled description of the events that occurred during the five days that Titanic was at sea, and the communications that were written by survivors after the sinking describe the horror of the disaster itself and the heartbreak they experienced at the loss of their loved ones.

Format: Hardback

Publication: 15/09/2012

ISBN: 9780752483061

Growing Up in Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers by James Marsh

[History Press - online 10% discount] 

This is a story spanning some of the most turbulent decades in recent world history. James Marsh was born during the first year of the Second World War and many of his infant years were spent in air-raid shelters outside his home. Bombs rained down from the German Luftwaffe as they tried to destroy the city of Southampton, which has now been James' home for more than sixty years. The gritty determination, community spirit and, above all, the humour, with which the local community faced the difficulties of war, have stayed with James throughout his life.
Moving on to describe the harsh lessons learned in 1940s and '50s schooling and subsequently describing his teenage years in the merchant navy, this book explores how growing up in the post-war years was both a challenge and a lot of fun.

Format: Paperback

Publication: 01/04/2011

ISBN: 9780752458403

Southampton by Robert Cook

[History Press online 10% discount] 

Once, Southampton was a medieval town borough and a thriving port. Now it is a glittering city, having risen like the proverbial phoenix from wartime ruins. Sadly the once great liner traffic did not rise again with it. Like the rest of Britain, Southampton had to find a new identity. This collection of photographs, enriched by Robert Cook's captions, charts the challenges and changes up to the present day, and a world in which there are no easy answers

Format: Paperback

Publication: 15/06/2009

ISBN: 9780752451121

Southampton Heritage Revealed by Timothy Alleston Saunders

[History Press online 10% discount] 

Successive waves of redevelopment by the city fathers during the twentieth century, as well as Hitler's high explosive approach to town planning, wrecked much of the visual appeal that this important south coast port used to possess. Through many photographs, this book offers an insight into Southampton's past, present and future.

Format: Paperback

Publication: 24/08/2006

ISBN: 9780750943680

The Building of Southampton Docks by Dave Marden

[RB Publishing] 

To most Southampton citizens, and indeed many visitors, the view of the Docks on its doorstep is a familiar sight witnessed daily without much of a second thought – as if it has always been there. 

Countless books have been written about the docks and many have referred to various stages of its development, but few have told the fuller story of its evolution from a couple of small basins clawed from the mud to the enormous industrial estate it is today. 

This book, with the aid of early maps and photographs, explores and illustrates the various stages of the docks growth and progress under an array of owners over the passage of time. It explores everything from how it was built from the earliest days of its commencement under the ownership of the Southampton Dock Company, to its final expansion to Redbridge in 1996 under private owners Associated British Ports, bringing the story up to date. 

The Illustrated History of Southampton's Suburbs by Jim Brown

Publication Date: Sep 2004 hardback 
The Illustrated History of Southampton's Suburbs is the first single-volume survey of the history of the development if the residential areas of the city. Local historian Jim Brown chronicles the growth of the suburbs from the earliest times to the present day and he illuminates the lives of people who lived in them. His fascinating book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the story of Southampton. The narrative is illustrated with more than 200 photographs, drawings and maps. Jim Brown shows how the countryside, farms and villages developed into the urban streets, residential areas, shopping districts and industrial estates that are so familiar today. In the course of the last 150 years, the outskirts of the city have been transformed, and they have expanded, in a way that would astonish Southampton residents of just a few generations ago. The districts featured include Bassett, Bitterne, Bitterne Manor, Bitterne Park, Eastern Docks, Freemantle, Harefield, Highfield, Itchen, Maybush, Merry Oak, Millbrook, Northam, Peartree, Portswood, Redbridge, Shirley, Shirley Warren, Sholing, South Stoneham, St Denys, Swaythling and Woolston. In his fully illustrated account of each suburb, Jim Brown offers a concise history as well as local anecdotes and folklore. He also recalls remarkable episodes and notable individuals who played their part in the story, His survey will be essential reading and reference for Southampton residents past and present, who take an interest in their neighbourhood and in the complex, surprising history of the city itself.

Southampton Through Time by Jeff Pain

Publication Date: 1 Mar 2010 Amberley Publishing  

Southampton Through Time is a unique insight into the illustrious history of this part of the country. Reproduced in full colour, this is an exciting examination of Southampton, its well-known streets and famous faces, and what they meant to the people of this city throughout the 19th and into the 20th Century. Looking beyond the exquisite exterior of these well-kept photos, readers can see the historical context in which they are set, and through the author's factual captions for every picture, and carefully-selected choice of images, the reader can achieve a reliable view of Southampton's history. Readers are invited to follow a timeline of events and watch the changing face of Southampton as Jeffrey Pain guides us through the local streets. There is something for everyone here, whether they have lived in the area all their lives, or whether they are just visiting for the first time. Southampton Through Time also shows how photography has continually evolved to keep up with an ever changing society.

Southampton Through Time

by Jeffery Pain

[Review by John Avery]

There have been over the last few years a few books on Southampton looking at ‘then’ and ‘now’ and this publication will I am sure appear on several Southampton heritage devotees Christmas wish list. Jeff Pain with his font of knowledge of interesting facts about the town and a fine collection of postcards gathered over the years has produced a good insight into the changes over the last century. He has painstakingly located the modern locations, in many instances with streets or buildings now in different styles and layouts to the original. Jeff known for his connections with Southampton Local History Forum and Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society nicely balances people and inanimate features.

This publisher has now a range of such books with high quality sepia ‘then’ pictures contrasting  with ’now’ colour images but the comments added by the author bring out many interesting facts and even readers not born in or associated with the town will enjoy the commentary of changes. There is a nice personal touch of telling us which ales were sipped or what the hostelry was formerly named and a feeling of Jeff  saying “if only”.

 Oddly the publisher departed from previous formats and starts off with the sepia pictures on the top half of the page and just as the eye adjusts to that style then starts using the modern colour images as header images and then reverts to the earlier style. However this does not detract from being a nicely produced book and congratulations to Jeff [ably assisted by his location assistant- his wife]. One small query one of the photos was credited to the National Archives at Swindon whereas I have always believed that they were based at Kew.

Images of Southampton by Alastair Arnott

 and Rachel Smith Wragg 

Southampton City Heritage Services provides opportunities for people to study and enjoy the city's past. It preserves historic monuments, operates archaeology and oral history units, and runs three museums, the first of which opened in 1912. Its photographic collection contains some 50,000 images, giving a rare insight into many aspects of Southampton's past, including the docks and many historic buildings which were destroyed by the blitz. Southampton had several eminent Victorian photographers who left a legacy of candid pictures depicting both work and play, while the work of more recent photographers provide a graphic illustration of the rapidly changing face of a maritime city. "Images of Southampton" comprises pictures from this City Heritage Services collection and the result is a book which will delight and inform residents and visitors alike.

Pictorial History of Southampton Docks by Bert Moody



Outdoor visit to Minstead Church image courtesy Will Temple Outdoor visit on a Guy Arab open top busTug tender Calshot in preservation