The Solent Area Virtual Tour no 7 ~ Woolston and Itchen Village

Solent map googleWoolston

Today I am going to share with you a snapshot of old Wooston through copies of my Grandfather’s book of postcards. They are not dated, but looking at postcards of a similar era I would certainly say they were Edwardian.

Portsmouth Road Woolston Southampton

Portsmouth Road Woolston Southampton

Above is the Portsmouth Road on its way down towards the Floating Bridge, and below is the Floating Bridge looking over towards Southampton:

The Floating Bridge Woolston

The Floating Bridge Woolston

Then, travelling up the road to the outskirts of Itchen is Pear Tree Green church, not changed much today and still on the green overlooking the River Itchen:

Pear Tree Green Church

Pear Tree Green Church

Still on the Itchen side of the Portsmouth Road is Bridge Road. The little of it left today is under the new bridge:

Bridge Road

Bridge Road

Many locals will remember or recognise Ludlow School, still on the Itchen side of the Portsmouth Road although many called it Woolston:

Ludlow School Itchen (Woolston)

Ludlow School Itchen (Woolston)

Here we have Manor Road. Many of these streets in and around Woolston look much the same today:

Manor Road.tif

Now we move much later and here is an ariel photo of the Supermarine Works in Woolston which I date in the 1930’s. It was bombed and flattened in 1940.

Supermarine Woolston

Supermarine Woolston

Finally one of my own postcards from the 1960’s of the hovercraft which ran from just over the river to the Isle of Wight:

Hovercraft to Isle of Wight

….and so what are Woolston and Itchen Village famous for, apart from being the location from which my second novel Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home flows.

Firstly there’s Supermarine, initially famous for winning Great Britain the Schneider Trophy back in 1931. It was first opened and the name ‘Supermarine’ emblazoned on its roof 100 years ago in 1913. (even though the company was not registered officially under that name until 1916.) Famous in those days for its flying boats and then its sea planes, it must have been a wonderful site, watching them glide along towards Southampton Water and take off. Of course, most people know Supermarine for the Spitfire and it was here that RJ Mitchell developed the first prototype, which my father was lucky enough to see on its inaugural flight.

Even before Supermarine there was Thornycroft, whose land on the banks of the river has finally been made safe, flattened and is being redeveloped. Wikipedia says that the yard launched over 100 ships between 1876 and 1889 alone!

I am going to leave you with a lovely old photo of the River Itchen. Is this the mill at Swaythling just up the river in 1910 or in the late nineteenth century? I can find no photo which looks exactly like this but I’d love to know.

Mill Ichen river.tif


Filed under Ancasta, Schneider Trophy, Southampton, Supermarine, Virtual Tour of the Solent and Beyond, Woolston

4 responses to “The Solent Area Virtual Tour no 7 ~ Woolston and Itchen Village

  1. A lovely collection of pictures, Diana – and, I imagine, a useful resource in your writing.

  2. Les Roberts

    The lovely Itchen mill photo you refer to, Diana, is in fact ‘Gaters Mill’, which is above Mansbridge and the’ White Swan’ Inn. Not all of the buildings have survived ,but the mill it self has recently been completely renovated and worth a visit.
    Best wishes
    Mr Les Roberts
    Ps. I would love a large copy of this -where could I obtain one?

    • Thanks for clearing that up Les. I’m afraid I only have the old postcard version in my Grandfather’s collection. I was on my way back from Alderney today and we virtually flew up the River Itchen. I think I saw the mill and must visit next time I’m in the area. I don’t know whether the Bitteren Heritage Centre has a larger version. It might be worth trying there or in the archives in town.
      Good luck with that

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