Heritage

Heritage: Our wonderful Southampton Common

Heritage: Our wonderful Southampton Common

by Martin Brisland. Southampton is a green city. The City Council lists 56 parks and open spaces, eight greenways and 23 allotment sites. The Millbrook roundabout now has a living wall with green vegetation to help combat air pollution. In 2020 we were third in the UK for cities with the most parks per 100,000
Southampton’s central parks

Southampton’s central parks

by Martin Brisland. The central parks are the jewel in Southampton’s crown. Southampton’s Grade II* listed Central Parks were established between 1854 and 1866 on former animal grazing land. The Victorians very strongly believed that fresh air and open spaces were good for your mind, body and soul.  The five central parks  – that’s Watts,
Walk: River Hamble Country Park in Bursledon

Walk: River Hamble Country Park in Bursledon

by Nathan Goldsmith. Bursledon has always been a place that has meant a lot to me. It’s a place I’ve journeyed to since I was a child – with my family and family friends – and now, exploring on my own or taking my friends with me, I still feel that childhood buzz. Crabbing on
Heritage: The man with two gravestones

Heritage: The man with two gravestones

by Martin Brisland. Charles Smith lies in the graveyard of St John the Baptist church in North Baddesley. At that time, it wasn’t often a poor man had one, let alone two tombstones side by side. In the early 1800’s country gentlemen and wealthy merchants controlled society. As Justices of the Peace in the local
Heritage: Thomas Lewis, from docker’s son to Southampton’s first Labour MP

Heritage: Thomas Lewis, from docker’s son to Southampton’s first Labour MP

by Martin Brisland. Thomas ‘Tommy’ Lewis (1873-1962) was born in St Mary’s, the son of a dock worker from Jersey. At the age of eleven he became an apprentice watchmaker. From an early age he was involved in the emergent local and national labour movement. In 1901 became Southampton’s first Labour Party councillor, representing St
The sometimes surprisingly radical history of the humble tea towel

The sometimes surprisingly radical history of the humble tea towel

by Martin Brisland. In life you often start in one direction and end up going in another. I was researching the history of radicalism in our region (Southampton) with a view to writing an article for In Common. I started off looking into the Independent Labour Party and ended up finding out about the history
Opinion: School meals, no such thing as a free lunch?

Opinion: School meals, no such thing as a free lunch?

by Martin Brisland. Marcus Rashford turns 23 later this week. A talented England and Manchester United footballer now earning very well but who grew up relying on free school meals. In the last few months he has caught the public mood and even received an MBE. Ensuring disadvantaged children don’t go hungry during school holidays
People in Common: Jim Chorley

People in Common: Jim Chorley

by Martin Brisland. Jim Chorley – acoustic/folk singer-songwriter from Southampton. They say you should write about what you know. ‘Painting Circles in the Corn’ is certainly that. It is Jim Chorley’s song which immortalises an amazing family story. In 1991 Doug Bower and Jim’s father, Dave Chorley, from Southampton, confessed to having made crop circles
Southampton’s Speakers’ Corner

Southampton’s Speakers’ Corner

by Martin Brisland. Did you know that Southampton has its own Speakers’ Corner? It is located in Hoglands Park, the second largest of our Central Parks. Situated near the former Debenhams store it is complete with dias and railings. Today people use social media to voice their opinions. The current Southampton Speakers’ Corner was rarely
From The Beatles to War Horse: Southampton’s Mayflower theatre has been at the heart of entertainment in the south for more than 90 years

From The Beatles to War Horse: Southampton’s Mayflower theatre has been at the heart of entertainment in the south for more than 90 years

by Martin Brisland. Did you know that the Mayflower, built in 1928, has one of the largest auditoriums in England with more than 2,300 seats and used to have a tea garden on the roof! In the late 1920s the Moss Empire theatre group built six 2,000 seater venues, including Southampton. The style used was
Opinion: Black lives matter in Wales (with thanks to some white women)

Opinion: Black lives matter in Wales (with thanks to some white women)

by Jim Baker. For many Black people, Southampton is a place of arrival but for Wales it is a place of forced repatriation after both World Wars; Black merchant seaman who served Britain and were then forced to leave by government and trade unions. As was Hull (World War 2) for 4,000 Caribbean RAF Airman
Southampton: a tale of two universities

Southampton: a tale of two universities

by Martin Brisland. Southampton is one of a handful of places with two universities; the University of Southampton and Solent University. They attract about 40,000 full and part time students including many from abroad, making us a truly cosmopolitan city. This has a major positive economic impact. Solent has been a university since July 2005,
Opinion: Life after lockdown

Opinion: Life after lockdown

by Martin Brisland. Since WW2 ended in 1945 we have talked about events being “since the war”. We are now at a new watershed, a line in the sand. Perhaps in the future we will refer to post 2020 events as being “since the pandemic”? I do not aim here to apportion blame for failings
10 reasons to be cheerful about Southampton

10 reasons to be cheerful about Southampton

by Martin Brisland. We 260,000 Sotonians are lucky to live in such a wonderful part of the country. Here are ten reasons to be proud of our home city and some activities to look forward to when we come out of lockdown. Heritage The Romans, Saxons, Vikings and the Normans have all left their mark
Looking back on Southampton’s historic music scene.

Looking back on Southampton’s historic music scene.

by Martin Brisland. I recently reviewed Million Dollar Quartet at The Mayflower for In Common and it set me thinking. The musical is set at Sun Records studio in Memphis and chronicles December 4th 1956. By chance,on that distant Tuesday, Elvis Preseley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis jammed together and the impromptu
How historical pandemics have affected Southampton.

How historical pandemics have affected Southampton.

by Martin Brisland. The current Coronavirus pandemic is obviously worrying but such major health events are sadly nothing new. Southampton has been an important port for centuries but the passage of many people through it from all over the world means that it is prone to importing diseases. In the 1300s we had a leprosy