SouthamptonThis page discusses the English city of Southampton. For other places named Southampton, see Southampton (disambiguation).
Southampton is a city and major port situated on the south coast of England, in the county of Hampshire. The city has a population of 215,000. It is the closest city to the New Forest and lies at the northern-most point of Southampton Water.
There are numerous large parks in the city centre.
In common with many British towns and cities, such as Coventry and Plymouth, it was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Much of its historic buildings were lost as a result but the old city walls remain, as does the Bargate, formerly the main gateway to the city, located at the northern end of the walls.
Although historically a part of the county of Hampshire, in recent local government re-organisations it has become a self-administering unitary authority (similar to a county), as has its neighbour, Portsmouth.
Although Stone Age settlements are known to have existed in the area, the first permanent settlement was established by the Romans. Known as Clausentum, it was an important trading port for the large Roman towns of Winchester and Salisbury.
The Anglo-Saxons moved the centre of the town across the River Itchen to its present location, and it remained an important port. The Viking King Canute the Great is supposed to have defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready here in 1014. However, its prosperity was assured following the Norman Conquest in 1066, when it became the major port of transit between Winchester (then the capital of England) and Normandy.
Southampton has had a few significant impacts on global history...
- It was the original point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard the Mayflower. A memorial may be found on Town Quay.
- In common with most of the luxury liners of the time, the Titanic sailed from here, and it is still an important ocean liner port frequented by luxury ships such as the QE2 and the Oriana. A memorial to the crew of the Titanic may be found in Above Bar Street
- The Supermarine Spitfire was developed and initially manufactured in the suburb of Woolston. A memorial plaque to its designer, Reginald Mitchell, may be found in Russell Place in the suburb of Highfield.
- The city was the birthplace of hymn writer Isaac Watts. The Watts memorial in the city's West Park - also known as the Watts Park - was unveiled in 1861. Just across the road from there, the city's Civic Centre (the first building to bear that name) has a clock which plays a Watts hymn on the hour.
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2 Nearby rivers
3 External links