Southampton Stories

Southampton Stories Exploring the stories behind the objects, archives and artworks in our care at Southampton City Council Cultural Services

Operating as usual

This image shows the Royal Pier busy with excursion steamers in 1930. The new western docks extension is under construct...
29/07/2020

This image shows the Royal Pier busy with excursion steamers in 1930.

The new western docks extension is under construction, but already in use in the distance, with Cunard’s Mauretania alongside.

Next to the Royal Pier is the train ferry pier, used during the First World War.

#Southampton #RoyalPier #Docks Cunard Chris Frame's Cunard Page

Royal Pier - day three!In the late 1920s, work started on a new dock extension on reclaimed land to the west of the pier...
29/07/2020

Royal Pier - day three!

In the late 1920s, work started on a new dock extension on reclaimed land to the west of the pier.

A new railway link was built to link the eastern docks and the new western docks and unfortunately, the pier entrance was in the way.

This picture from October 1931 shows the pier, with the contractors working in the foreground and the new entrance
on the far left. This building is still there, it is now a restaurant.

#Southampton #RoyalPier #Docks

📣 On Saturday 1 August we will be starting a new weekly post - Southampton After Dark!! 📣We'll be shining a light on the...
28/07/2020

📣 On Saturday 1 August we will be starting a new weekly post - Southampton After Dark!! 📣

We'll be shining a light on the scary, strange and shocking historical stories of Southampton at night- straight from our archives and museum collections.

From witches and wizards, back alleys and bars, ghosts and ghouls to smugglers, stray dogs and so much more, we hope you'll join us to explore what happens in our city when the sun goes down!

#SotonAfterDark #Southampton #ArchiveSecrets #NewPost

Did you know people weren't the only passengers to use the steamers leaving the Royal Pier? One of the changes that was ...
28/07/2020

Did you know people weren't the only passengers to use the steamers leaving the Royal Pier?

One of the changes that was made to the pier in the 1890s was the addition of a cattle enclosure!

This picture shows the enclosure in use, with the cattle waiting to board a steamer along the gangway in the foreground. 🐮🐮

#Southampton #RoyalPier #Cattle #Steamers

It's day two for our posts about the Royal Pier!In 1871, the pier was widened and train tracks were added for a horse-dr...
28/07/2020

It's day two for our posts about the Royal Pier!

In 1871, the pier was widened and train tracks were added for a horse-drawn train. From 1876, permission was given for a steam train to pull the carriages along the pier to the new station at the pier head. The train was not used during the First World War and the track was removed after the war.

The first photograph shows the pier with the new train tracks running up the left side.

Several improvements were made to the pier during the 1800s, and in 1892, the pier was rebuilt and a new entrance was opened.

The last three images show the new entrance, the invitation to its opening and the toasts made at the opening.

#Southampton #RoyalPier #Victorian

This week, we will be sharing stories from our collections about the Royal Pier This first image shows the opening of Th...
27/07/2020

This week, we will be sharing stories from our collections about the Royal Pier

This first image shows the opening of The Royal Pier in July 1833 by the Duchess of Kent accompanied by her daughter Victoria. After the official opening, great crowds queued to access the pier. Soon after its opening, the pier had to undergo extensive renovation, as the soft wooden supports had become unstable.

With the opening of the docks in 1842, almost all Southampton’s long-distance trade and passenger traffic moved away from the pier, leaving only traffic to the Isle of Wight and excursion services. Passengers could walk along the pier or ride in a horse-drawn carriage to the steamers at the pier head.

#Southampton #RoyalPier

Restrictions during lockdown meant that many everyday things had to be cancelled or suspended. Large gatherings, like th...
25/07/2020

Restrictions during lockdown meant that many everyday things had to be cancelled or suspended. Large gatherings, like those in places of worship, were stopped for many weeks and are just now opening up again.

We would like to record Southampton's experience of faith during lockdown.

Was your wedding cancelled? How did you celebrate Vaisakhi? Did your Easter plans change? Were your nightly Iftars any different this year because of Covid-19?

These photographs were taken by a member of our team and show some of the many different religious buildings in Southampton during lockdown

Would you like to share your stories of lockdown? Please get in touch!
[email protected]

#Southampton #Faith #Community #Lockdown

Have you been getting creative at home? Have you learnt a new skill, written a poem or baked some banana bread?If you ha...
24/07/2020

Have you been getting creative at home? Have you learnt a new skill, written a poem or baked some banana bread?

If you have a photo, film or recipe that illustrates your lockdown story we’d love to collect it!

This painting was donated to us by Ed, who has recently taken up art.

He says:

"The painting shows a Zoom conference call taking place on the laptop. Items on the window were significant to me during the lockdown (painting, learning an instrument, lots of coffee breaks, notebook). The Simplistic, idealised view of street in brightness and light emphasise the contrast with mundane and oppressive laptop work."

Send us your lockdown stories by getting in touch with Alex – [email protected]

#Southampton #LockdownStories

SeaCity Museum Tudor House and Garden Southampton City Art Gallery Southampton City Council

23/07/2020
Unity 101 DJs - Work From Home

After our interview on Unity 101 Community Radio – the DJs from the station sent us this video of how they have been broadcasting from home!

Unity 101 Station manager, Kelly” says:

“I am totally in awe of our volunteer presenters in how quick they’ve adapted to the changes and how they’ve all behaved impeccably and professional during their weekly shows.”


If you have turned your living room into an office, or have a school room as a kitchen? How has lockdown altered your home, and lifestyle? Or perhaps you've still been going to work throughout? We’d love to hear from you!

Get in touch with Alex to share your story – [email protected]

#Southampton #Lockdown #CommuntiyRadio #WFH

Last month our Assistant Curator & Community Engagement Coordinator Alex went on Unity 101 Community Radio to talk about...
23/07/2020

Last month our Assistant Curator & Community Engagement Coordinator Alex went on Unity 101 Community Radio to talk about our “Collecting Southampton’s Covid-19 Stories” project. 📻🎙

Did you hear her?
Listen from 01:24:00 to find out more about the project and how you can get involved!

https://www.podcasts.canstream.co.uk/unity101/index.php?id=23137

We are still looking for people to donate their stories, photographs and objects to capture our city in lockdown. So if you can help and you’d like to add your voice to the city’s collection get in touch with Alex –
[email protected]

We will be sharing some of the fantastic items the people of Southampton have already donated during the next few days - stay tuned! 📻🎙

#Southampton #Lockdown #Unity101

SeaCity Museum Tudor House and Garden Southampton City Art Gallery Southampton City Libraries

22/07/2020
Chatting Collections: D-Day Embroidery

In the first of a new series of videos exploring our collection, join Assistant Curator and Community Engagement Co-ordinator Alex Lyons in discovering the story of the D-Day Embroidery, including the remarkable tale of its inception and creation. #Southampton #WW2

In Southampton today many residents have been raising money or donating gifts to thank NHS staff and keyworkers. But sho...
21/07/2020

In Southampton today many residents have been raising money or donating gifts to thank NHS staff and keyworkers. But showing appreciation via fund-raising is certainly not a new phenomenon.

During the First World War (1914-1918), people helped raise funds and morale for troops by buying small lapel flags. The first “Flag Day” was held on 14 September 1914, and raised over £3000 (in pre-decimal currency, roughly £177,000 today).

After this initial success, flags for all occasions and causes were created and sold; like this “Thumbs Up” one.

This lapel flag, from our museum collection, was originally bought to support “Smokes for the Troops”, with money raised going towards comforts and cigarettes for soldiers and sailors, both at home and on the front line.

Many people were concerned about the health repercussions caused by encouraging people to smoke by providing free “fags for troops”.

But these concerns were outnumbered by support for “Smokes for the Troops”. It became one of the most successful fund-raising efforts supported by the Flag Day movement.

#Southampton #FlagDay #FirstWorldWar

This paper fan was given as souvenirs to lady passengers attending the Captain’s ball on board Lusitania in around 1910....
20/07/2020

This paper fan was given as souvenirs to lady passengers attending the Captain’s ball on board Lusitania in around 1910.

In the 1980s, this fan was donated to our museum collection, but having spent many years at the back of a drawer, it was in a slightly sorry state!

However, thanks to the skills of a paper conservator, the fan was brought back to life and was able to shine as a star exhibit in a display about the history of ocean liners in
#Southampton.

#MaritimeMonday #Lusitania

Cunard Chris Frame's Cunard Page

20/07/2020
Time-lapse: Preparing the space for ‘Criminal Ornamentation’ by Yinka Shonibare's exhibition 2019

It's Monday morning so it's time to #MeetTheTeam at Southampton Cultural Services. Here's Stu to tell you more about his role:

"Hey, I’m Stu and I’ve been press ganged into writing this post by my well meaning colleagues.

I am one of three Exhibitions Officers and for the last 10 years I’ve helped to organise and install exhibitions at Southampton City Art Gallery, from local artists and community groups to Leonardo DaVinci and Louise Bourgeois. I also install at and help maintain SeaCity Museum and Tudor House and Garden

Before lockdown you could usually find me neck deep installing works, building and maintaining interactives, meeting artists for future exhibitions, finding new ways to explore the collection, designing layouts and promotion and enjoying the fact that there were new challenges every day and no one day was ever the same as the last.

Today finds me still doing all of those things, but differently. We’ve been working hard to bring the collections online to provide access to our exhibitions and museums so that people can still enjoy and be inspired by the city’s collection, our work with artists and institutions locally, nationally and internationally… as well as taking photos of Star Wars figures in the gallery during my checks.

I’m looking forward to getting the ache back in my shoulders from a good install."

Video: Time-lapse: Preparing the space for ‘Criminal Ornamentation’ by Yinka Shonibare's exhibition 2019

It's time for another post from our Archives! This week, we have the programme from the first ever production staged at ...
18/07/2020

It's time for another post from our Archives!

This week, we have the programme from the first ever production staged at Southampton Guildhall, The Romance of Southampton in Twelve Visions.

The play is the story of a dreamer who experiences twelve visions of Southampton at different points in its history, including the birth of the city, the return of the victorious Agincourt archers, and the arrival of the first train Southampton had ever seen, in 1839.

The Guildhall was opened by the Earl of Derby in 1937. The play captures the mood of optimism created by its opening, while also acknowledging the city's past. As the epilogue states: "This is our heritage, this radiant hall, whose rafters graze the stars."

#ArchiveSecrets #CultureInQuarantine #Southampton

It's our last post to celebrate this year’s #FestivalOfArchaeology! This week, we have been taking a look at the excavat...
17/07/2020

It's our last post to celebrate this year’s #FestivalOfArchaeology! This week, we have been taking a look at the excavations that have taken place at Southampton’s Bargate Quarter.

During the late 1700s, Southampton expanded eastwards and the first development on the Queensway site was a street called Paradise Row. The archaeologists found an early 19th-century terrace of houses with cellars and a cesspit in which was found a stoneware bottle advertising John Shartman’s blacking.

Blacking was, and still is, used to smarten up fire grates, leather and kitchen ranges. In the 1700s, ‘blacking’ was derived from soot mixed with tallow (beef or mutton fat). On the site was also found a 19th-century plate and tea pot lid from a doll’s tea set made in German porcelain.

From a simple name up a jar we were able up look up records for John Shartman. We can see that John was born in 1774 in Somerset, his wife Hester Gauntlett was born locally in Southampton in 1778. In 1798 they were married at St Michael’s Church.

They had a total of 9 children, 8 girls and one boy. In 1809, one of the girls was christened Maria Urania Elizabeth Dyer Shartman, probably either after the discovery of the planet Uranus (in 1782) or of the metal (in 1789). In 1830 Pigot’s Directory listed John Shartman, Auctioneer, Appraiser and House Agent, as living in Paradise Row.

#Southampton ArchaeologyUK #1700s #Stoneware

To celebrate this year’s #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week, we are taking a look at the excavations that have taken plac...
16/07/2020

To celebrate this year’s #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week, we are taking a look at the excavations that have taken place at Southampton’s Bargate Quarter.

Southampton was the first town in England to use guns for its defence. This gunstone is made of flint, which would shatter on impact and burst into hundreds of razor sharp splinters. It was found outside the town walls in the killing zone established after the French raid of 1338. All trees and houses for 300 feet outside the walls were cleared, and this gunstone was perhaps fired while training the town gunners and establishing the range of different guns.

The mercury jar is the first complete example to be found on a Southampton excavation. Mercury was imported from Spain, and the jars were very thick and strong to prevent breakage. It was used in the making of gold jewellery, and also in medicines to treat syphilis and leprosy. Southampton had well-known brothels in East Street, and a leper hospital in the Marlands to the north of the town, so the 15th century doctors would have needed supplies of the poisonous metal to treat their patients.

#Southampton ArchaeologyUK

Our learning team colleagues at SeaCity Museum and Tudor House and Garden are celebrating some super news this morning!T...
16/07/2020

Our learning team colleagues at SeaCity Museum and Tudor House and Garden are celebrating some super news this morning!

They have been nominated for a Kids in Museums award for all their incredible videos related to Southampton's history! 🥳🥳

You can check out the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO35IK8Od0pcDRljf65tVFA

#Southampton #KidsInMuseums

We know that it's been a challenging time recently, but throughout we've been committed to continuing to be a space to discover new stories from the museum and Southampton more generally. In the absence of being able to welcome visitors physically we've been sharing regular videos related to Southampton's incredible history. We've been humbled to discover that we've been nominated for a Kids in Museums award for some of this work. There are some amazing resources being produced by museums and galleries across the UK, but if you'd like to check out our videos you can do so at our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO35IK8Od0pcDRljf65tVFA #KidsInMuseums #Video #History #Southampton

To celebrate the #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week have been exploring the excavations that have taken place at Southamp...
16/07/2020

To celebrate the #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week have been exploring the excavations that have taken place at Southampton’s Bargate Quarter.

By the 13th century Southampton was fortified by an earth rampart with a wooden palisade and a ditch. From 1202 onwards the defences were rebuilt in stone. However, the wall only protected the landward side of the town and did not extend along the shore. This oversight would result in disaster for the town!

In 1338 a force of French and Sicilians landed on the shore while the people of Southampton were at mass. They set fire to the town and killed many people.

After the raid Sir Henry Peverel, one of the King’s Knights, was instructed to oversee improvements to the Town’s defences. One of the improvements was directly linked to the Bargate Quarter site and ties to evidence found of trees growing near the wall.

Sir Henry demanded that all land a ‘bow shot wide’ (around 300ft) outside the walls was to be cleared of gardens and houses and a double ditch dug, but this news was not received well by local residents! In a letter to King Edward III (1312—77) Sir Henry explains…

“…John le Clerk was grievously angry on account of his garden which was to be destroyed and threatened the people and said he would break their heads, and made a great disturbance… I therefore pray you will order a commission that the gardens and houses on the ditches may-be removed to the width of 300 royal feet, and that no apple or pear tree may be therein so high that a ladder of 10 or 20 feet can be made thereof… The people of the town are very angry because of what has been pulled down…”

The archaeologists found evidence of small fields divided by shallow ditches, with sign of where the trees had been growing. The picture shows the excavation of the Medieval inner town ditch. #Southampton @archaeologyuk

It's day three of the  #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week, we are having a look at the excavations that have taken place ...
15/07/2020

It's day three of the #FestivalOfArchaeology, this week, we are having a look at the excavations that have taken place at Southampton’s Bargate Quarter.

One of the most unusual finds at the Queensway site was a Saxon stone anchor. It is of the earliest type known, a 25kg slab of water-worn greensand rock, possibly from the Isle of Wight, with a hole cut through it.

It is believed to be the first stone anchor found on an archaeological site in the UK, and is testimony to the role that maritime trade played in the early years of Southampton.

Most of the evidence for Late Saxon activity on the Bargate Quarter has been found at the south end of the Queensway site adjacent to East Street, suggesting East Street has a Late Saxon origin. To the north were fields, separated by ditches, dug to drain the water away. Of particular interest, however, at the extreme northern end of the site was a deep and wide Late Saxon ditch running east to west. This may have been the boundary of the Late Saxon town itself.

This late Saxon ice skate, also found on the site, was made from horse bone. #Southampton @archaeologyuk

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