Editor John Avery - member Southampton Heritage Federation -  City of Southampton Society [Honorary Life Member]- Friends of Town Quay Park - Devon Family History Society - Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery [co-founder] [Honorary Life Member] - National Federation of Cemetery Friends - Huguenot Society of Britain and Ireland- The Southampton Fryatt Plaque [co-founder]
Copyright 2018

Welcome to this site

John Avery, site editor welcomes contributions, news and events to the site
[non-commercial items] contact



Sharing some of Southampton's local history and  heritage    
  site updated   29th January 2019

There are several amenity and local history groups in the Southampton area.

This site aims to summarise such groups  and to introduce some local speakers who visit schools, clubs and societies with talks recalling our local heritage.

In April 2011 I invited the Mayor Councillor Carol Cunio to unveil a new plaque at the French Garden in Town Quay Park next to the Wool House [at the time used as Southampton's Maritime Museum].




In November 2010 to commemorate the loss of life caused by a heavy air raid 70 years earlier, the recently formed group Friends of Town Quay Park held a tree planting ceremony in the park.Two former residents who had been trapped in one of the bombed houses when they were young siblings were invited to plant the tree. The tree was blessed by the Reverend Tim Daykin of the City Centre Parish. 




I also manage the following websites City of Southampton Society, John Avery Heritage



I produced a small range of heritage postcards although nowadays most of us communicate by e mail rather than use a postcard. At the height  of the popularity of the postcard a busy housewife would post a card to the butcher or grocer in the morning and ask for her order to be delivered in the afternoon.

This particular card commemorated the Royal Blue Express one of the forerunners of National Express.

Being a Plymouth boy with an uncle who was a driver for the Royal Blues, they bring fond memories of trips to London.                                                                      
top image courtesy Jill Ghanouni lower image courtesy Will Temple
Will Temple treasurer and membership secretary of the Friends of RSH Hospital Chapel manning an information desk at an open day. The chapel built in 1858 was attached to the hospital ward and a gentle slope linked the buildings allowing nurses and patients to enter the chapel. With the old hospital now demolished leaves the problem that access to the chapel is now one floor up. Because of major changes in the structure of the NHS causing funding difficulties for the charity, it was decided to close the charity. A meeting/reception on 9th June 2014  distributed funds to other local charities.
[City of Southampton Society, League of Friends of RSH Hospital, League of Friends Southampton UHT Hospital and Newtown Adventure Playground Support Group [Newtown Youth Centre].
Congratulations to Jill Ghamouni who was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honour List [1st January 2015].




War hero Southampton born Captain Charles Algernon Fryatt lived for many years in Harwich and his name was overlooked when the Cenotaph was erected in Southampton. Rex and Lona Fryatt produced a copy of the birth certificate [December 1871 many websites show 1872 in error] to SCC who when adding green panels to highlight the names on the weather worn stonework the name was added. Image ann MacGillivray  The Southampton Sea Cadets  photos Ann MacGillivrayJohn Avery welcomes the Mayor Councillor Cathie McEwing to the refurbished Vokes Memorial Gardens adjacent to Dock Gate 4 Southampton image Bruce LarnerGenevieve Bailey presented a series on TV outlining the history of Southampton attending a ceremony in Sept 2017 image Ann MacGillivrayJohn Avery treasurer The Southampton Fryatt Plaque welcomed the Mayor Councillor Les Harris to the exhibition on the life of Captain Fryatt presented by Mark Baker of Harwich at the Masonic Hall, Albion Place, Southampton image Jill GhanouniHRH Duke of Kent attending Hollybrook Cemetery Southampton for the commemoration service of the loss of SS Mendi a troopship from Capetown which sank off the IOW.  Image Ann MacGillivraySally Greenwood [chair] Friends of RSH Hospital Chapel welcoming guests when we discovered the foundation stone of the Royal South Hants Infirmary and relocated it to the site. Our guests from the Freemasons re inacted the laying of the stone and generously presented our charity with a cheque.
 photos Ann MacGillivray 

Commemorative tree planted on 30th November 2011 to mark the heavy bombing raid of 1940. The tree was planted by two survivors who had been trapped in a bombed area of what is now known as Town Quay Park. The event was organised by the Friends of Town Quay Park. Afterward a service was held in St Michael's Church conducted by the Reverend Tim Daykin and members of the amateur dramatic group the Sarah Siddons Fan Club gave a re call of wartime and the blitz. [images courtesy Will Temple]



Heritage speakers












Alan House former deputy chief fire officer, HampshireAlan House archivist of the Hampshire Fire Service has a range of talks including the Fire Service in WWII  and the History of Southampton Fire Department contact

Jill Daniels has an interesting range of talks on Hampshire and Southampton and on the Titanic. contact

Peter Jones battlefield memorials guide and lecturer Peter Jones has a talk following young men from King Edward's School at Southampton to the battlefields of Europe in the Great War. contact

Jake Simpkin covers old Southampton, the blitz in Southampton and the shipwreck of the Stella off the Channel Islands. contact 

Southampton and Its French Connections

This highly researched illustrated talk explores the extraordinarily large number of connections between Southampton and France ranging from pre-history to the present day.  The Domesday Book of 1086 indicates one third of the inhabitants as French; and today there is a strong presence. The French Church in Winkle Street is just one of the numerous connections between Southampton and France 

Titanic: A Southampton Story  (also staged as a walk)
2012 is the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It was a major disaster for her home port of Southampton. Over one third of those who drowned were Southampton crew; barely a street escaped loss. The legacies of the disaster are visible throughout the city. This illustrated talk will show slides of surviving buildings, memorials, and tell the story from a Southampton point of view.

Carlton Crescent & Rockstone Place  (also staged as a walk)
This illustrated talk features the Conservation Area of Carlton Crescent and Rockstone Place, looking at the architecture of these beautifully proportioned Terraces, and remembering some of the colourful characters who lived there.

Welcome to Southampton and Great Britain 
This talk was designed for the University of Southampton Induction Week as a Welcome Talk for overseas students.  However, it has proved very popular to a wider audience.  It describes Southampton's history and development. The second part covers what to do in Southampton, and its immediate surrounds, and then Great Britain as a whole.

An Armchair Walk Around Medieval Southampton (also staged as a walk)
The 'Old Town' has some of the best-preserved medieval walls in the country. It is a conservation area containing a unique cluster of Scheduled Ancient Monuments, including the vaults beneath the town, towers and gates. With the aid of high quality slides let me take you on an exploration of Southampton's rich medieval heritage. 

Southampton in the 20th. Century
At the opening of the 20th C. Southampton retained the characteristics of a country town despite its population of 105,000.  Shirley and Freemantle had only recently been incorporated, and to the north, many people considered that the country began at the Inner Avenue.  Apart from shipbuilding, and map making the town had few industries.
However, as the century unfolded Southampton expanded its borough limits both into its surrounding districts, and enlarged the docks through an ambitious programme of land reclamation.  The town proved attractive to new industries including aviation, vehicle manufacture, and cable production.  Benchmark periods include the golden age of luxury liners; amazing aviation pioneering; two world wars; 1950's rising prosperity; and the post-war rebuilding of the town centre.
By the century's end the city has de-industrialised, and reinvented itself as a centre of education, regional shopping centre, and UK capital of the cruise-line industry.

The Loss of the S.S. Stella: An Insight Into late Victorian Society
On 30th. March 1899, the ill fated SS. Stella left Southampton for a Channel crossing to Guernsey. Fifteen miles from St. Peter Port in deep fog, travelling at top speed, she struck the Casquets reef and sank within 10 minutes; of the 190 on board, at least 77 passengers and crew were lost. The humble stewardess Mary Ann Rogers emerged as the heroine of the hour, and several memorials were raised in her honour. On the surface late Victorian society appeared confident, but beneath, there were 'end of century jitters', and double standards abounded.

Southampton 1610 to 1840; from Economic Decline to Prosperous Spa Town
The lack of surviving architecture from the 17th.century gives testimony to the town's economically depressed state during that period. Nevertheless, the departure of Lord De La Warr in 1609, the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, and the arrival of the Huguenots in 1685 are important historical events of that century.  In 1724 Daniel Defoe described the town as 'decayed'. Yet, as he spoke Southampton was emerging as a Georgian spa town of high repute frequented by the Prince of Wales and his three younger sons. Enterprising individuals wasted no time in catering for their noble needs.  Baths, assembly rooms, hotels, shops, and stagecoach services sprung up and flourished.

Southampton's LUNGS: Historic Parks Walk  (also staged as a walk)
170 years ago, as Southampton's population grew, local politicians debated the future of the ancient Lammas Lands. Victorian foresight led to the creation of our prized Central Parks - the City's lungs. This illustrated talk will tell the fascinating story of its foundation, and describe the statues and memorials within the parks, each of which captures a snapshot of the City's remarkable history.

Victorian Southampton: The Age of Steam & Expansion 1820- 1894
In 1840 the railway link from London was completed, and Southampton's natural shoreline began to disappear under the development of the docks.  The burgeoning population grew from 27,000 to 105,000 spread out from the Old Walls into new suburbs east and north laying the foundations of the modern town. In the docks, the Royal Mail, and P&O shipping lines established services, and the port became central to the 'trooping the Empire'. In 1894 the American Line relocated from Liverpool laying the way open for Southampton to capitalise on the North Atlantic trade and passenger routes.

Southampton From Blitz to D-Day  (also staged as a walk)
This poignant illustrated talk is a tribute to the courage of Southampton people during WW2. Southampton was raided 57 times and there is a strong folk memory of certain incidents. The increasing number of attacks culminated in three major raids at the end of November 1940. It was Southampton's darkest hour.  The air-raids were shocking and violent, but it was queues, blackouts, rationing, shortages and working long hours, that typified Southampton during the war years. From early 1943 there followed the gradual build up to D-Day and Operation Overlord, with Southampton people playing an important role working in the factories and ship yards, and building the Mulberry Harbours. The US Army 14th. Major Port Transportation Corps arrived in July 1943 and took over docks organisation. One of their final tasks in 1946 was the embarkation of British war brides for the USA and Canada. 

Monarchy: Why Has Britain's Survived?
During the Roman period there were no kings of England, so where did they come from? And why has the British monarchy survived. This illustrated talk charts the development of monarchy, and traces the historical events, which laid the foundations for Britain becoming an outstandingly successful example of constitutional monarchy. 

Southampton Through The Eyes of Artists
Using high quality Power Point slides, Southampton is explored through the eyes of artists. Many of these rarely seen paintings are part of the Southampton City Art Gallery, and Southampton City Museums Collections.

Southampton Passenger Ships and Docks
With the aid of slides, this presentation looks back with nostalgia at some of Southampton's most famous passenger liners, and cruise ships. It also explores the growth and development of Southampton Docks

Southampton Lido
(Ideal as a  short humorous after dinner speech)  
This popular talk charts the development of Southampton's Lido. The speaker recalls personal memories of the happy times he spent there. 

Jo Smith, Archivist talks about the behind the scenes work in the SCC Archives and Records of Merchant Seamen  contact

Nigel Smith talks on the  Southampton Trams Project [restoring an old
Southampton tram] contact

Graham Mackenzie talks on the SS Shieldhall,  a steam vessel in preservation  contact
Graham Mackenzie 

Colin van Geffen talks on aviation development in the Solent, the Schneider Trophy and the Flying Boats.       Telephone 023 80897793

 Neville Cullingford The History of the Royal Observer Corps contact


Dr Andy Russel Dr Andy Russel SCC Archaeologist speaks on Southampton archaeology subjects, the restoration of Tudor House etc contact

Amenity and local history societies and groups.

City of Southampton Society [CoSS]


Friends of Riverside Park


Friends of Southampton's Museums, Archives and Art Galleries [FOSMAG]

Friends of Southampton Old Cemetery [FoSOC]

Friends of St James Park

Solent Sky  [Hall of Aviation]

Southampton Art Society 

Southampton Heritage Federation c/o Solent Sky

Southampton Museums and Archaeology Society

Other websites of interest
Memories of the Royal Pier by David St John [also memories of 60's music scene]

Southampton Local History and Southampton Heritage is a website managed by John Avery © 2011 /17 /18 contact

Lectern at RSH Hospital ChapelGuildhall courtesy Arthur JefferyCourt LeetQM2's first arrival Dec 2003Southampton Old Cemetery
Two mayors laying a wreathMayor's ParlourMural Hamtun Street SouthamptonThorners Regents Park Road
Ceremony to relay the foundation stone at the RSH Hospital in 2011Central Hall SouthamptonFriends of RSH Hospital ChapelSouthampton Art Gallery
 In the 1950's Southampton Council ran a fleet of Guy Arab buses, in fact it was the largest fleet of that marque in the UK
 A small number are lovingly cared for by amateur enthusiasts and are seen out and about from time to time.
The altar in St Julien's, the French Church in Southampton                       Site copyright 2018