Tag Archives: Itchen River

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

Book Launch ~ Ancasta Guide me Swiftly Home on 7th July 2012

The second in the Riduna Series will be launched this Saturday 7th July 2012!

It seems fitting that the launch of my second novel should take place in Woolston, Southampton. In fact there will be a morning of events in Woolston and Bitterne, just over the River Itchen from Southampton.

10 am to 10.50 am                Woolston Library

11 am to 11.50 am                  Bitterne Heritage Centre

12 noon to 1pm                        Bitterne Library

At each venue I will give a short talk and opportunities to answer questions and to sign copies of both books in the series.

Why Woolston?

Ancasta ~Guide me Swiftly Home is a historical saga of a family living in Woolston between 1910 and 1920. It was an era of contrasts, with the exciting birth of Supermarine and the development of flying boats and sea planes marred by the suffering each family faced through the Great War.

Why Ancasta?

Ancasta was the Goddess of the River Itchen from which this novel flows, as family members and other key characters in the story journey to the Channel Islands, France, Turkey and even India. The Romans used to pray to Ancasta for the swift and safe return of travellers leaving the port of Southampton, in the same way as Harriet prayed for the swift and safe return of her family and loved ones.

The cover was designed by a local artist and historian, Colin van Geffen, a well known character in the area who gives talks on the Schneider Trophy and who very kindly supported me while checking the facts in my manuscript also writing a forward, a quote from which you can find on my Ancasta page on this blog.

Come and say hello to me in Woolston or Bitterne this Saturday if you are in the area, where I will be signing copies of Ancasta.

If you cannot make it this Saturday, then watch out for news of further opportunities during the summer and autumn or the novel can be pre ordered on Amazon.

Many thanks to Martyn in the Bitterne Heritage Centre for organising this morning of events!

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Filed under Ancasta, Historical Fiction, Libraries, Southampton, Woolston