February 2, 2018
Streets of Southampton
During my visit to Hampshire I could not possibly miss paying a visit to one of the most historic harbours of England and take pictures of the very interesting streets of Southampton!
Prior to my visit I did not know what to expect. Neither me, nor any of my friends had ever been to Southampton toexperience the city vibes. My only picture of the streets of Southampton was from Lucy Worsley’s documentaries about Jane Austen’s heritage trail – that I was very much anticipating to visit myself! So I started my journey at the famous Bargate which was once the city’s only gate, a symbol of strength and bravery to many locals up until today.
Walking through the Bargate you come across the size of what the medieval city of Southampton looked like. As it is one of the British cities that was massively affected by the WW2 bombings, nowadays Southampton is a mixture of very old, old and new buildings, which is sad and interesting at the same time.
Jane Austen firstly came to Southampton when she was 7 years old with he sister Cassandra and they attended a school nearby the area, that was soon closed down because of a typhus epidemic that was very common at that time. A bit further down between Bargate and the Holyrood church there used to be a beautiful Georgian All Saints church that Jane Austen worshipped during her stay in the city. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed during the 1940’s blitz and a tuck shop is in the location today.
Trying not to get very sorrowful about the disasters and losses this city experienced through the years I kept exploring the city and had a wee stroll around the Hollyrood church remainings. Built in 1320 this was one of the 5 churches that used to serve the old city of Southampton, which again was destroyed during the blitz in November 1940. Even though it is located in the city centre, it is one of the most peaceful places in Southampton. Once you get in, you feel that you are somewhere in the countryside!
A bit further down and closer to the harbour you come across the oldest building of the city, the Medieval Merchant’s House that gives you a good glimpse into the architecture and life of the old days of Southampton. It was built in 1290 and is now restored in its late-13th century form to teach us all about life of this rich Merchant of Southampton back in the centuries.
^ ^ The Tudor House is one of the oldest buildings in Southampton! It was built approximately in 1495 when King Henry VII was on the thrown and was commissioning the world’s first dry dock in nearby Portsmouth. ^ ^
Not far away from there lies the St Michael’s Square on Upper Bugle Street, a place filled with history! here you can find some of the most wonderful buildings of Southampton. Popular for the Medieval Merchants House and the Tudor House, this street has more splending and historic buildings to offer than these two only. This used to be an area where the richest people of Southampton used to live, it fizzed and buzzed with people eager to do trade with one another and as a result today it has some of the most beautiful buildings of the city! Such a joy to explore!
With so much exploring my stomach started rumbling so I head to the No. 1 Cafe of Southampton – according to my old friend, TripAdvisor – The Docks Coffee House on Oxford Street.
I sat by the bookshelf and got myself a hot chocolate and a raisin bun before grabbing a book with the history of the city. I flicked through the pages and had slow sips of the hot chocolate trying to warm me up. Despite the sunshine it was a below zero, freezing day, so anything calorific was very much welcome!
Warmed up and with loads of sugar on my system I kept exploring the area, from Oxford Street down to the Ocean Village, not forgetting to pay a visit to the Canute Chambers, where the office of the company that owned the famous Titanic were held. Thousands of family members stayed here overnight until they heard the news about their siblings onboard. 549 people from Southampton and only lost their life in that night of the April 15th 1912!
Last stop of my visit to Southampton was the Ocean Village and Maritimo Lounge a great place to grab some nibbles after a walk around the marina with lovely atmosphere and beautifully decorated interiors.
With only an hour and a half left before boarding to my flight to Manchester, I ordered a taxi and left the city with the best impressions. Southampton is not strikingly stunning. There is loads of poverty and ugly buildings, and I am sure that if it wasn’t for the newly built marina and the shiny mall occupying the city centre it would be a dead place. However, if you consider the disasters and pain the city and people of Southampton have experienced through the centuries then you gain a whole new respect. Very few cities in the UK were dramatically affected during the 1940’s blitz as much as Southampton, and this alone makes the city interesting. To see how people managed to overcome the WWII city destroys and vanishment is remarkable! And for this, I will always remember Southampton as a city of survivors with a very interesting history!