In the past, if you’d taken the Floating Bridge over the River Itchen from Woolston then you would be close to Southampton Docks and as a child, when holidaying with my Grandma we used to do the round trip… over to Southampton via the Floating Bridge and back via Northam Bridge, or the other way around if that bus came first at the end of Newtown Road. A lady at my book launch at Woolston Library reminisced,
‘Wasn’t it irritating,’ she said, ‘that the bus always used to leave just as the Floating Bridge reached the shore!’ We all laughed sharing her memory.
Did you know that the Channel Island ferries used to leave from the docks at what we know as Ocean Village today, back in the nineteenth century?
To present old Southampton I am going to share with you another selection of Grandpa’s postcards, dated in the Edwardian era in the early years of the twentieth century. I can find no identical postcards on the internet and believe they do not hold any copyright due to their age.
Leaving the Floating Bridge we will first walk up Bridge Street where you can see the tram tracks:
Then we will head north to St Mary’s Road:
Although the walk to the common would be quite a long one in today’s terms, the people of those days thought nothing of such a walk on their half day off, to snatch moments with their loved ones and enjoy the fresh air. The Common saw famous air displays at that time too. If walking to the common was out of the question then Southampton also enjoyed Palmerstone Park close to the City centre:
Now we are back in the city, Tudor House museum has changed little and has recently been renovated. It is pleasant to have a stroll along the quieter back streets along the top of the wall:
Out Grandfather had a shop near to the Bargate not far away, before they knocked part of the wall down for the tram route.
Taking what my sister and i used to call the thirty nine steps when we were small you can walk down the wall. The shots below are still recogniseable although in front there is now a car-park and the West Quay Shopping Centre. This fascinating shot shows before and after the reclamation of the land to build the modern day docks, the first part of which was opened in 1842:
Following the wall along we are back down at the harbour and here is the South Western Hotel, recently converted into luxury flats and you can still see the structure of the docks railway station behind it although the busy streets in front take a while to cross, unlike the picture below:
And finally here is another ‘then and now’ postcard which shares so much of history with us in a snapshot, but of course the ‘now’ in this postcard is over 100 years ago!
As one of the ladies on my last post of less common postcards of Old Woolston commented, these are a wonderful resource for research and ideas for writing. For me they are more than that. It’s just a pleasure to browse and wonder at the stories they tell and see places where my family lived and worked, but were also inspired enough to leave a trail behind.