Heritage

60th anniversary of Southampton’s city status approaches

60th anniversary of Southampton’s city status approaches

By Martin Brisland. On 24th. February 1964 Southampton was granted a royal charter to henceforth be known as the City and County of the City of Southampton. It was the culmination of a process that had begun 30 years earlier. The first informal approaches were made in the mid-1930s, when it was suggested that Southampton,
Interview: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’s Ivano Turco

Interview: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’s Ivano Turco

By Hugh Montgomery. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie comes to Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre in January. Ivano Turco who stars in the title role talks about the affinity he feels for the role. In his short career so far, super-talented musical theatre star Ivano Turco has already demonstrated formidable range: having made his professional debut playing Prince
Heritage: Southampton is 6 minutes slower…

Heritage: Southampton is 6 minutes slower…

By Martin Brisland.  Did you know that a Southampton sundial will always be six minutes slower than GMT or 1 hour 6 minutes slower than BST? Robert Morden’s map for Hampshire from circa 1695 is rather interesting. You can easily find it via Google. Along the bottom you will see a scale in minutes and
Save the Platform Tavern

Save the Platform Tavern

By Charlie Hislop Fundraisers are being organised across Southampton in the next two months by musicians, and others, to help the Platform Tavern get back up and running after a night-time fire in the bar. A number of local bands have already signed up… Chicago 9, the Platform Posse, and the Pete Harris Blues Band
Heritage: why are people from Southampton called Sotonians?

Heritage: why are people from Southampton called Sotonians?

By Martin Brisland. Photo: Mike Daish. Do you regard yourself as a Sotonian? Do you live in Soton? Have you ever wondered where these words come from? They are thought to have been first used by a former Southern Daily Echo editor Clarence Firbank Carr (1892-1979). Echo journalists found Southampton and Southamptonian far too long
Heritage: Legacy of the Spanish Civil War

Heritage: Legacy of the Spanish Civil War

By Martin Brisland.  In May 1937 the SS Habana arrived in Southampton with nearly 4,000 child refugees from the Basque region of Northern Spain. They were escaping the  Spanish Civil War and were put into a temporary camp off Chestnut Avenue, North Stoneham until that September. The Civil War resulted in a victory for General
Out of the Darkness: Greenham Voices 1981 – 2000, October Books

Out of the Darkness: Greenham Voices 1981 – 2000, October Books

Next month October Books in Portswood, Southampton, invites you to join author Rebecca Mordan for a talk about Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, her book, the organisation she founded and a few Greenham songs.As a child Rebecca visited Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp with her mother and was part of making history with 30,000 other
Heritage: Southampton and the demon drink

Heritage: Southampton and the demon drink

By Martin Brisland.  Many in Victorian England were concerned about the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption. There were local and national efforts as part of the Temperance Movement to encourage moderation with alcohol. William Westlake was a prominent local Liberal politician and Quaker. He held Temperance teas for up to 100 people at Grosvenor
Applause review: Time and Tide, Maskers Theatre Company

Applause review: Time and Tide, Maskers Theatre Company

By amateur theatre editor Martin Brisland.  Some may think that the history of Southampton is boring but not when presented like this! Time and Tide is an excellent evening of stories, songs and sea shanties presented by the Maskers Theatre Company with the help of the Southampton Salty Sea Dogs. The show was inspired by
Free walking tour explores Southampton’s migrant history this weekend

Free walking tour explores Southampton’s migrant history this weekend

Picture by Mike Daish.  This Sunday there’s a great opportunity to  learn about Southampton’s vibrant migrant history. The tour, which takes place on, September 3rd, will be led by Tony Kushner, who teaches and researches in the Parkes Institute and the History Department of the University of Southampton. He has written widely on migration, racism,
Heritage: Pride past and present

Heritage: Pride past and present

by People’s Pride Southampton volunteer Frida Eliasson. Picture: Mike Daish. Pride has undergone a growth spurt since its inception in the UK, with the first Pride Parade being held on the 1st July 1972, marking the three-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This first parade garnered a modest turnout of 200 people protesting the inequality
Heritage: Miss Newman and the Titanic Relief Fund, ‘the lady on the bike’

Heritage: Miss Newman and the Titanic Relief Fund, ‘the lady on the bike’

By Martin Brisland. Image with permission from Southampton City Council Cultural Services. The Titanic story is one that continues to fascinate 111 years after the event. Out of the 908 crew onboard, there were around 688 crew deaths. Sadly, 550 people with a Southampton address perished in the sinking on the night of 14/15 April
Heritage: Southampton street names’ connections to Britain’s ignoble colonial past

Heritage: Southampton street names’ connections to Britain’s ignoble colonial past

by Martin Brisland. When you walk through the Bedford Place area of Southampton, have you ever realised that some of the street names are linked to Britain’s ignoble colonial past and the East India Company? Southampton was a minor port in the 1830s at the end of its time as a Spa Town.  Following the
Heritage: the real life King and I story, and its links to Southampton

Heritage: the real life King and I story, and its links to Southampton

by Martin Brisland. The much-loved musical play, which has recently been at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre, and film tells the real-life story of the tempestuous relationship that develops between King Chulalongkorn of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British school teacher whom the King brings to Siam (Thailand) to teach his many wives and children.  Less well known
Black History Month South & SS Shieldhall are bringing a special Windrush 75th anniversary event

Black History Month South & SS Shieldhall are bringing a special Windrush 75th anniversary event

A momentous occasion is on the horizon as the SS Shieldhall sets sail from Southampton on 24th June as part of the Windrush 75 celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on 22nd June 1948. The event will be an afternoon filled with appreciation, and
Heritage: the story behind the pineapple at Southampton’s Royal Pier

Heritage: the story behind the pineapple at Southampton’s Royal Pier

by Martin Brisland.  Have you ever wondered why there is a pineapple at the top of the gatehouse to the Royal Pier? A golden pineapple sits on top of Southampton’s ornate Royal Pier entrance building. In fact, once you start noticing them you will see them on street railings, rooftops, gateposts, monuments and even tombs.
Heritage: Southampton scriptwriter N.J. Crisp

Heritage: Southampton scriptwriter N.J. Crisp

by Martin Brisland.  Remembering the career of prolific Southampton scriptwriter N.J. Crisp, whose credits included Dixon of Dock Green, Colditz and Secret Army.   Older readers probably remember major BBC TV series from the 1960s and 1970’ such as Compact, Dixon of Dock Green, Dr Finlay’s Casebook, The Expert, The Brothers, Colditz and Secret Army. 
Steamship Shieldhall releases details of 2023 sailing programme

Steamship Shieldhall releases details of 2023 sailing programme

The volunteers at Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton have released details of the ship’s 2023 sailing programme. Commencing on Friday 16 June, with a final sailing on Sunday 17 September, there are a variety of 2hr, 3hr, 3 1/2hr, 4hr and all day sailings to choose from, including some returning favourite cruises and some all-new trips. 
Photos: Southampton Children’s Pleasure Park, a love letter

Photos: Southampton Children’s Pleasure Park, a love letter

by Sally Churchward. For generation after generation of children brought up in the city, the Children’s Pleasure Park in Southampton Sports Centre has been a brightly coloured, joyous presence. From days out spending tokens on round abouts and trampolines to birthday parties with as many ‘goes’ as you can fit in to a couple of
Southampton school reunion to become annual event

Southampton school reunion to become annual event

Following a successful event last year, organisers of a reunion of pupils from a Southampton school are planning on making it an annual gathering. Those who attended Southampton Grammar School for Girls, Southampton College for Girls or Hill College between 1907 and 1989 are invited to a reunion at their former educational home – Richard
Heritage: remembering Southampton historian Elsie Mary Sandell

Heritage: remembering Southampton historian Elsie Mary Sandell

by Martin Brisland. All Sotonians with a love of local history should read the excellent books of Elsie Mary Sandell. Elsie’s family lived at 78, The High Street, Southampton where she was born on February 5, 1891. Her family later moved to 63 Portswood Road. She was the daughter of George Washington Sandell who was
Free accessible Southampton guided heritage tours launch this weekend

Free accessible Southampton guided heritage tours launch this weekend

by Laura Ferreira. The first specially designed accessible city centre tour from SeeSouthampton will take place this Sunday 12 March at 11.30 am. This tour was designed for people with learning and physical difficulties including those who use a wheelchair or a mobility scooter. The route aims to provide a sensory walk to participants through
Heritage: remembering Southampton’s beloved ice rink – and its DJs

Heritage: remembering Southampton’s beloved ice rink – and its DJs

by heritage editor Martin Brisland. Did you skate at Southampton Ice Rink?  If so you would have to be of a certain age as on August 22nd 2023 the ice rink will have been closed for 35 years. Southampton’s very first ice rink was situated on Charles Knott’s Banister Stadium site just to the south
Suburban Safari: Avenue Park 

Suburban Safari: Avenue Park 

words & photos by Katie Isham. Between Southampton and Eastleigh sprawls much green space. But it’s disappearing. The grassland that was once rampant, is incrementally invaded by housing estates and development. It’d been a few years since visiting the fields I’d once discovered after seeking an alternate car park for The Cricketers (funny how the
Heritage: School reunions – the past is a foreign country

Heritage: School reunions – the past is a foreign country

by Martin Brisland. Have you been to a school reunion? I recently attended a school 50 year reunion. For months, since I first heard about it I was apprehensive as I had not set foot inside since I left.  Fifty years is a very long time, in fact the event was pandemic delayed to 52
Heritage: the volunteers sharing the best of Southampton with visitors

Heritage: the volunteers sharing the best of Southampton with visitors

by Martin Brisland. For more than ten years, a band of volunteers have been quietly promoting Southampton, by helping the passengers from cruise ships calling in for the day, mainly German – Aida and Mein Schiff,  and Italian – MSC. They call themselves “The Cruise Welcome Team”. Jack Wilson, the group’s founder, explains: “When ships
Suburban Safari: A New Year in Old Town     

Suburban Safari: A New Year in Old Town     

by Katie Isham. A new year seems apt for a visit to the Old Town area of our fair city. This part of our history is wonderful to visit any time, but during the dark winter days when moonlit moments outnumber the daylight hours, it’s an interesting time to wander up and down the cobbles
Heritage: remembering when Christmas REALLY was cancelled

Heritage: remembering when Christmas REALLY was cancelled

by Martin Brisland. Did you know that Christmas was cancelled in the mid 1600s? Oliver Cromwell, a statesman and general responsible for leading the parliamentary army against the Royalist forces during the English Civil War, took over England in 1645. He believed it was his mission to cleanse the country of decadence. In 1644 he
Heritage: the punishment didn’t always fit the crime

Heritage: the punishment didn’t always fit the crime

by Martin Brisland. There is an old belief that the punishment should fit the crime. Yet, in the past, you could be hanged for 160 different crimes including chopping down a tree or poaching rabbits.  William Shawyer was the last person to be publicly hung at the gallows on Southampton Common on 27 July 1785.
Heritage: Eleanor Coade, the remarkable Georgian businesswoman

Heritage: Eleanor Coade, the remarkable Georgian businesswoman

by Martin Brisland. The statue on the south face of Southampton’s Bargate is of King George III (1738-1820). pictured top. His head is on the body of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, a common practice for statues at the time. It was based on Hadrian’s statue in the British Museum. The statue is still in excellent
Knit the Walls community art project draws to a close with a month-long finale

Knit the Walls community art project draws to a close with a month-long finale

After more than three million knitted stitches, thousands of hours of warm conversation and countless shared stories, as well as many hundreds of cups of tea and a lot of cake, the six-year ‘Knit the Walls’ community-focused art project will come to an end this November. Across the month, God’s House Tower (GHT) will host
Heritage: Slavery and Southampton: an exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton – reflections of a volunteer

Heritage: Slavery and Southampton: an exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton – reflections of a volunteer

by Liz Batten. Sometime just before the pandemic I’d offered to help do some research for an exhibition on slavery and Southampton, Sugar, Politics and Money for SeaCity Museum. I’d already been excited by David Olusoga’s documentaries on BBC TV, and the publicity surrounding the University College London database of slave compensation payouts. Back then
Heritage: Response to Sugar, Slavery and Southampton: Women’s Stories

Heritage: Response to Sugar, Slavery and Southampton: Women’s Stories

by Jackie Landman.   Claire Ballinger, Rose Wiles and Pauline Bisson  were amongst the voluntary curators of new exhibition at SeaCity Museum, Southampton, Sugar, Politics and Money. They wrote about the exhibition for In Common and invited colleague Dr Jackie Landman, a visiting professor at the University of  Southampton, to respond. This is what she
Heritage: sugar, slavery and Southampton – women’s stories

Heritage: sugar, slavery and Southampton – women’s stories

by Claire Ballinger, Rose Wiles and Pauline Bisson. The Black Lives Matter movement, triggered by the death of George Floyd in the US, created an impetus to better understand black experiences, both currently and historically.   In late 2021, we joined a group of volunteers to explore links between artifacts in Southampton’s museums and galleries, the
Heritage: a look at Freemantle, Southampton

Heritage: a look at Freemantle, Southampton

by Martin Brisland. The suburb of Freemantle lies between Shirley Road, Foundry Lane and the River Test. The Freemantle name may derive from Fromental which is found in several places in France. In Old French ‘froid’ means cold and mantel is cloak. It was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of 1181 as Freit Mantell and
Heritage: Maundy Gregory, a cash for honours scandal and a link to The Beatles

Heritage: Maundy Gregory, a cash for honours scandal and a link to The Beatles

by Martin Brisland. Arthur John Maundy Gregory (1877-1941), from Southampton, was a British theatre producer and political fixer. Gregory (pictured top) gained power and wealth through handling the sale of titles and the alleged blackmail of prominent politicians. Described as “a monocled dandy”, he wore jewellery including a green scarab ring he claimed had been
Reader’s letter: we can enjoy nostalgia but accept and embrace change

Reader’s letter: we can enjoy nostalgia but accept and embrace change

I follow a few Southampton history pages on Facebook and love the variety of posts about people, places and events. I particularly love the stories of local folks who didn’t become nationally or internationally renowned but were important in their own little communities and contributed to the rich fabric of them in their own special
All-Aboard the River Itchen

All-Aboard the River Itchen

by Charlie Hislop. For a city on the coast, split by rivers, not much celebration happens on the water in Southampton. Then last weekend (September 3)  along came the All-Aboard Festival, making the most of the River Itchen on a summer’s day with entertainment on the water and along the banks. It’s music, art and
Hampshire’s International Brigaders remembered in new book

Hampshire’s International Brigaders remembered in new book

by Alan Lloyd. Southampton author Alan Lloyd shares the background and some of the findings in his new book, Hampshire Heroes, which celebrates International Brigaders who fought in the Spanish Civil War with connections to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Fifteen years ago, I bought a copy of Bill Rust’s book, “Britons in Spain”.
Heritage: John Heath Stubbs, Hampshire’s blind poet and his amanuensis

Heritage: John Heath Stubbs, Hampshire’s blind poet and his amanuensis

by Adrian Risdon and Jack Wilson. Jack: I recently wrote an article on Bevis of Southampton, which evoked a response that will be fascinating for all those with an interest in poetry and poets. I was contacted by Adrian Risdon, who explained that he was once amanuensis to the famous blind poet John Heath-Stubbs, amongst
The arrival of Basque refugee children to Southampton 85 years ago was remembered at a ceremony at the weekend

The arrival of Basque refugee children to Southampton 85 years ago was remembered at a ceremony at the weekend

by Martin Brisland. “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” – this 19th Century spiritual song has had many versions, notably by Paul Robeson in the 1920s. It was sung by him at a 1930s charity fundraising concert for the Basque children at the Albert Hall. The song was often in Prince’s live set and
Heritage: Southampton and the Basque children

Heritage: Southampton and the Basque children

by Martin Brisland. 85 years ago, in May 1937, around 4,000 Basque child refugees arrived in Southampton escaping the Spanish Civil War. Interest has grown in these events in recent years. Back in 2007 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the University of Southampton, in partnership with Hampshire Archives, a grant of £47,000 for a major
Book review: Secret New Forest

Book review: Secret New Forest

by Charlie Hislop. ‘And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul’ is the inscription at the front of Martin Brisland’s new book ‘Secret New Forest’. I go to the New Forest sometimes, cycle about, have a walk, stop for a beer, or show it to friends. It’s a nice
Heritage: what’s in a programme?

Heritage: what’s in a programme?

by Martin Brisland. Having reviewed a number of shows for In Common, I was at the Mayflower Theatre recently to review Matthew Bourne’s brilliant Nutcracker! production. Equal to the high standard of the ballet was a superb full size 24 page glossy programme. One of the premier theatres outside London, the 2,300 seat Mayflower started
Southampton: a potted history, part 2

Southampton: a potted history, part 2

by Martin Brisland. Roman Southampton The Roman conquest of southern England started in 43CE under Emperor Claudius lasting until 84CE after the defeat of Boudica’s army. One early military crossing is thought to be from Boulogne to the Southampton or Chichester area.   The Antonine Itinerary VII,  (a register of Roman stations) documents the Roman settlement
Heritage: a potted history of Southampton, part one

Heritage: a potted history of Southampton, part one

by Martin Brisland. In this series of short articles I will look at the history of our area up to the present day starting with prehistoric times. There are various ways of understanding pre-history but the message is the same  – we humans haven’t been here very long. Prehistory is a time before written records and
International Brigade Memorial Trust’s AGM to be held in Southampton, remembering those fought fascism in Spain

International Brigade Memorial Trust’s AGM to be held in Southampton, remembering those fought fascism in Spain

The 2021 AGM of the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT) is being held in Southampton over the weekend 8th-10th October 2021. The AGM is a chance to remember the bravery of the men and women from Southampton and across Hampshire who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain as part of the International Brigades.  During the
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
Heritage: Southampton’s central parks

Heritage: 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