If it was not for statues, monuments and memorials, Southampton's parks and pavements would be much duller and less decorated than they are today. These cover a surprising range of topics, including mythology, politics, cannibalism, heroic horses, aviation and football. Perhaps the most moving are the many memorials to Southampton's most famous ship, the RMS Titanic.
Many of these owe their existence to the 1844 Marsh Improvement Act. Under this Act, Southampton Corporation bought Southampton's Lammas Lands1 in order for them to be devoted and kept exclusively as open space for the general and public advantage of the inhabitants of Southampton. The ownership of these fields and their transformation into parks in the late 1850s and early 1860s allowed Southampton Corporation, later to become Southampton City Council, to have somewhere they could erect and display statues and monuments with pride. There are, of course, many more memorials in Southampton's cemeteries as well as smaller plaques commemorating places, people and events, so this is a short snapshot of the largest, most imposing monuments and a select few smaller memorials.
Many statues, fountains and monuments were erected on the main routes to and from Southampton before the invention of the motor car. Consequently they have had to be moved in order to avoid obstructing what have since become busy roads.
The Bargate Lions
The oldest statues in Southampton can be found guarding the Bargate, the northern gateway to the mediæval town of Southampton. These are two statues of rampant lions, reflecting the local legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton, the mythical founder of Southampton. In the legend, two lions kill Sir Bevis' friend Sir Boniface and trap Bevis' love interest, the Lady Josian, in a cave. Fortunately, as she is a King's virgin daughter the lions are unable to harm her, and the lions are killed by Bevis after a fierce struggle.
The first lion statues were made in 1522, when the Bargate was decorated for the visit of King Charles V of Spain, and were made of wood. These original lions were replaced by the current lead lions in 1743, although the pedestals they are on date from 1892. In many versions of the story, Bevis fights one lion and one lioness. The statues are identical, however, though mirror images, and both male.
On the south side of the Bargate is a statue of King George III made in 1809. George is dressed as an Emperor. This statue is based on a Roman statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian2, now on display in the British Museum.
In Andrews Park, also known as East Park, is a Grade II Listed statue of Richard Andrews (1796 - 1859), unveiled in 1861. The son of a wheelwright, he became an eminent coachbuilder and was five times Mayor of Southampton. This Portland Stone statue was designed by Philip Brannon but made by Benjamin Brain, a stonemason from Shirley.
Beneath the Andrews Statue originally was a finely engraved, Victorian-gothic triangular pedestal 15 feet tall that also served as a water fountain. However, in order to cut costs it was built from softer Bath stone, a material that was known to weather extremely badly. When this decision was made Brannon resigned in protest, having designed the pedestal for Portland stone, which is why Brain was employed to make the pedestal. This pedestal was finished in 1862 and the statue placed on top of it. It was soon realised, however, that the Bath stone was unsuitable for use as a drinks fountain, and instead the pedestal's water supply was turned off and an iron fence erected around it. Despite these precautions the original pedestal eroded and weathered badly and was finally removed in 1971, with the statue left almost at ground level until a plain, cylindrical column was constructed for it in 2002.
As the closest statue to Southampton Solent University, this statue, along with that of Palmerston, is frequently found wearing a traffic cone on his head.
Sir Isaac Watts was born in Southampton in 1674 and was a famous author, educator, philosopher and hymn writer. He is now mainly remembered for his hymns which include 'Our God, Our Help in Ages Past', the tune of which chimes from the Civic Centre clock at 8am, noon and 4pm, and the Christmas carol 'Joy To The World'. He also wrote the poem 'How doth the little busy bee' which was parodied in Alice In Wonderland as 'How Doth The Little Crocodile'.
A statue of Watts was unveiled in West Park, also known as Watts Park, in 1861. This Grade II Listed statue is opposite the entrance to Southampton's Art Gallery, Central Library and the Sea City Museum in the Civic Centre complex. The statue is made of white stone and is on a granite pedestal, with Watts holding a book. The pedestal shows him with globe, hourglass and telescope, emphasising his influence on learning.
Palmerston Park contains a Grade II listed statue of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784 - 1865), who lived at Broadlands House in nearby Romsey. He began his extraordinary political career as MP for Newport, Isle of Wight in 1807 and later became MP for South Hampshire. He was Prime Minister from 1855 to 1858 as leader of the Whigs and later as a Liberal, a political party that he formed, from 1859 until his death. His term in office is famous for his fierce foreign policy matched only by his determination to abolish slavery worldwide. He was the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to die in office and his last words were the witty, Die, my dear doctor? That's the last thing I shall do.
The statue is seven feet tall, in white marble and granite. Paid for by public subscription and made by Thomas Sharpe, it was unveiled by the Earl of Caernarvon in June, 1869.
John le Flemyng
On Southampton's mediæval city walls, looking over the battlements, is a bronze statue of John le Flemyng. Flemyng, who lived 1295 - 1336, was Mayor of Southampton from 1315. The statue was built by Anthony Griffiths in 1991.
Lord Louis Mountbatten
A 9-foot bronze statue of Earl Mountbatten of Burma was erected outside Mountbatten House in Grosvenor Square in 1998. Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900 - 1979) lived in nearby Broadlands House. A cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, he rose from being a midshipman in the Royal Navy to Admiral of the Fleet; his exploits as captain of HMS Kelly inspired the Oscar-winning war film In Which we Serve. After the Second World War he was the last Viceroy of India, overseeing its independence, and the last Governor of the Isle of Wight as well as being appointed the first Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight. In 1979 he was assassinated by the IRA.
Libraries have been named in his honour, both in Newport on the Isle of Wight in 1984 and at nearby Southampton Solent University in 1994.
Nicknamed 'Mr Southampton', Edric 'Ted' Bates played, coached and served on the board for Southampton Football Club from 1937 up until his death in November 2003. Southampton Football Club and fan donations through the Ted Bates Trust raised £112,000 to erect a statue of him outside St Mary's Stadium. An 11-foot-tall bronze statue was unveiled on 17 March, 2007.
Immediately after its uncovering, it was heavily criticised by fans for being disproportionate, as the arms and legs were the same length, and it did not even vaguely resemble Bates. Within a week it was removed and a replacement statue was put in its place on Saturday 22 March, 2008, at a cost of a further £100,000.
On 10 April, 1912, the RMS Titanic left dock from Southampton for her maiden voyage, sinking on 14 - 15 April. Only 706 people onboard survived. Of the 1,523 people who died on the Titanic's ill-fated voyage, 549 were from Southampton. Most were employed by White Star, the Southampton-based company that had built the Titanic. It was said that there was not a family in the city that had not suffered a loss.
Today, Southampton has a Titanic Trail and is opening the Sea City Museum in April 2012, 100 years after the disaster, dedicated to the tragedy.
Following the disaster, several separate collections were organised to erect memorials to those who perished onboard, which is why there are so many commemorating the disaster. Some are simple plaques, such as can be found in the Seamen's Chapel of St Mary's Church, Holy Trinity Church and one originally erected in St Augustine's Church, now owned by Southampton Museums Service. The smallest memorial is a brass plate on the leg of an oak table in St Joseph's Church, Bugle Street, dedicated to the restaurant staff3 who died on the Titanic. Many memorials are far grander; all are equally poignant.
The Titanic Musicians' Memorial
The Titanic Musicians' Memorial is located just northwest of the start of the QE2 mile, on the corner of London Road and Cumberland Place, on the outside of a law firm office building. The original Titanic Musicians' Memorial was destroyed by bombing in 19404, this is a replacement unveiled in 1990 by local Titanic survivor Miss Millvina Dean, who was nine weeks old when the ship sank. The memorial includes the opening bars of the hymn 'Nearer My God To Thee', a grieving woman and the infamous iceberg. It names all the musicians who died on the RMS Titanic. No musicians onboard the Titanic survived.
The Titanic Engineer Officers' Memorial
This Grade II listed memorial is the grandest of the Titanic memorials in Southampton. It is dedicated to the engineer officers onboard the Titanic, none of whom survived. The memorial, built of grey granite and bronze, is 30 feet long, 20 feet high and weighs over 60 tons. In the centre a superb winged angel above a ship's prow is flanked by representations of engineer officers. The names inscribed on the memorial include Thomas Andrews, designer of the ship, Archibald Frost and Robert Knight all from Harland and Wolff, the builders of the Titanic. Whitehead and Son designed the memorial. When it was first unveiled in April, 1914, an estimated 100,000 Southampton residents attended.
In 2010, the statue was restored by Southampton City Council and Twenty Twenty Television, who made a documentary series about the ship and the statue's restoration.
The Titanic Crew Memorial
A memorial to the crew, stewards and firemen stands just inside the remains of Holyrood Church. Smaller than the Officers' Memorial despite more crew than officers dying, it was not unveiled until 1915. It had taken longer to raise the funds for this memorial as the relatives and friends of the crew who had died were often paid small amounts weekly.
Originally a drinking fountain, this highly decorative Portland stone fountain has a square plinth, four columns rising above a central urn and the basin to a classical roof, with four columns above this level to a dome. Unlike previous fountains, for hygiene reasons no drinking cup was to be supplied; only a flow of water, and it was erected outside Southampton Common. The Common was an area popular with children and within two months of the memorial's erection there were requests to fence the memorial off and remove the water supply, as children were playing with the water and even climbing to the top of the memorial.
After the Second World War the urn disappeared, rumoured to have been stolen by Canadian soldiers returning home. In 1971 it was decided to place the memorial somewhere safer. It was moved from Southampton Common to the ruins of Holyrood Church, now the Merchant Navy memorial. A replica urn was fitted and a 7-foot fence protected the memorial. Next to the memorial is a 'talking post' where you can listen to the story of the Titanic and its relationship with Southampton.
The Titanic Postal Workers' Memorial
In Southampton Civic Centre is a memorial plaque to the five postal workers who drowned on the Titanic, made out of a spare Titanic propeller. They died when trying to rescue the 200 sacks of post onboard the Royal Mail Ship Titanic as it sank.
The Titanic Passengers' Memorial
At the entrance to Dock Gate 4, the dock that the Titanic left from, is a plaque dedicated to the passengers who died onboard. As this memorial is inside the working dock, permission to see it has to be granted before you are allowed past the security checkpoint. It is best to contact Associated British Ports who own the dock in advance, especially if you wish to also see the Titanic's berth.
Other Ship Monuments
The Pilgrim Fathers left England at Southampton in two boats, the Mayflower and Speedwell, in 1620, sailing for America, although the Speedwell was believed to be unseaworthy, causing the ships to divert to Plymouth. The Mayflower Monument made in 1913 commemorates their voyage. This is a tall limestone pillar, topped by a highly decorative dome on pillars, and at the very top, a Mayflower weathercock made out of copper. Local architect RM Lucas designed this Grade II listed monument.
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2 for short, was a luxury ocean-going cruise liner whose home port was Southampton during all of its cruising life, between 1967 and 2008. The QE2 was 963 feet long, 171 feet high and had a maximum recorded speed of 34 knots or 39mph, with 20 knots or 23mph travelling astern. She could carry up to 1,892 passengers on 12 decks with a crew of 1,040. In 2008 she was sold to Dubai, despite a campaign to keep her in Southampton.
Cunard donated the QE2's 13-tonne anchor to the city of Southampton. It is situated outside Holyrood Church. To celebrate this, High Street and Above Bar Street were renamed the QE2 Mile.
Mary Ann Rogers Stella Memorial
Opposite Mayflower Park is a small covered fountain memorial to Mary Anne Rogers, the heroine of the Stella. This was a passenger steamer owned by London & South West Railway, the train company that ran a service from London Waterloo to the Channel Islands via Southampton in competition with Great Western Railway, which ran a service from Paddington to the Channel Islands via Weymouth. The Channel Islands' ports, St Peter Port and St Helier, were only large enough to berth one ship at a time, and so these rival companies often raced to get into harbour first. On Maundy Thursday 1899, both companies advertised a special steamer service arriving in Guernsey at 5:30pm – the race was on.
The Stella left Southampton at 11:40am in fine weather with over 217 passengers and crew onboard, but south of the Isle of Wight hit heavy fog. Rather than risk arriving in port second, the captain maintained full speed. The Stella drifted off course in the fog, hit the Black Rock, one of the Casquets rocks 8 miles west of Alderney at 4pm, and sank almost immediately, at the cost of 105 lives. Mrs Mary Ann Rogers was the senior stewardess aboard, and had worked for LSWR to support her children after her husband had drowned in the company's service in 1883. When the ship struck, she distributed lifebelts to the women and children and guided them into the boats. She sacrificed her own lifebelt to a young girl who had lost her mother in the confusion. Despite being urged to also go into the boat with the women by the crew, she refused, saying that the lifeboat would be too overloaded and would likely sink if she got in, and stayed at her post onboard the Stella. She died along with the crew.
Following the disaster, Miss Frances Power Cobbe5 campaigned for a memorial to Mary Ann Rogers, which she wrote the inscription for. This memorial took the form of a canopied drinking fountain with a central pillar and six outer columns, topped by a globe. Herbert Bryans designed it. After debating about where to put it, it was finally erected near the city walls overlooking the sea. It was unveiled in July 1901, with a reading of Poet Laureate Alfred Austin's6 poem 'The Wreck of the Stella'. The monument was originally surrounded by cannon from the Crimean War, but these were melted at the start of the Second World War to help the war effort. Although intended as a memorial specifically to the bravery and sacrifice of Mary Ann Rogers, it has since been seen as a memorial to all onboard the Stella. Like many drinking fountains in Southampton, the water supply was cut off from the Grade II listed fountain before the war and never re-established.
Richard Parker Plaque
In Peartree Churchyard is a plaque commemorating local lad, Richard Parker. He died at sea aged 17 on 25 July 1884, nineteen days after the yacht Mignonette was wrecked in the tropics. Trapped in a lifeboat with their supplies gone, the four survivors drew lots and his three colleagues ate him. His companions were rescued five days later, were tried for his murder and sentenced to death.
Southampton's Cenotaph, or War Memorial, was unveiled for Remembrance Day, 11 November, 1920, to commemorate those who died during the Great War. It was paid for by public donations and built by Sir Edwin Lutyens who later also constructed the simpler Whitehall Cenotaph in London based on his Southampton design. The names of 2,008 Southampton men who died during the Great War are inscribed on it, with Southampton men who died in later conflicts listed on panels surrounding it. Like many cenotaphs it is tall, white and built of Portland stone and topped with a coat of arms, a wreath, big acorns and a coffin guarded by two lions.
The Church of Holy Rood, erected in 1320, was severely hit by bombing on 30 November, 1940. As it was known as the Church of the Sailors, rather than being rebuilt it has instead become the Merchant Navy War Memorial.
World War II Memorial
Outside the entrance to the Bargate Shopping Centre is a large stone containing a plaque commemorating the Second World War. It states:
Southampton In The Second World War 1939 - 1945
During the 1939 - 45 War Southampton suffered great damage from repeated air attacks. The worst raids were on 30 November and 1 December, 1940. The Town Centre was virtually destroyed, 630 Citizens died, nearly 1900 were injured, 3,589 buildings were destroyed and over 40,000 damaged. 2,631 high-explosive bombs and 30,652 incendiary bombs were recorded.
More than 3.5 million members of the Allied Forces including over two million United States Troops embarked from Southampton in 1944–45 for the Invasion of Occupied Europe.
In the Sports Centre by the golf course is a plaque to a war horse named Warrior7. It is engraved:
Warrior. Died 22nd August, 1935, aged 26 years. This white gelding, 16 hands, served with the Old Contemptibles in France from 1914 to the end of the war. He took part in the retreat from Mons and was wounded in the advance on the Aisne... He was presented to the town and at once assumed the chief position in the police stud, and became honoured and loved by all.
In 2011, Stephen Spielberg made a film, entitled War Horse, based on a fictional story by author Michael Morpurgo that drew inspiration from tales like that of Warrior.
Queen's Peace Fountain
In addition to these monuments to war, in Southampton's East Park can be seen the Queen's Peace Fountain. This, Southampton's Millennium Project, opened in 2001, to commemorate the 56 years of peace granted to the nation under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1936, Supermarine constructed the prototype Spitfire in the area of Southampton known as Woolston. RJ Mitchell, Supermarine's chief designer, was determined to design and construct the greatest fighter aircraft in the world, drawing on his impressive Schneider Cup8 experience.
The test flight of the first Supermarine Spitfire prototype, numbered K5054, powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and piloted by Captain J 'Mutt' Summers, flew for the first time on 5 March, 1936 from Eastleigh Airport, now known as Southampton Airport. This was the first of almost 23,000 Spitfires. This was commemorated in 2004 with the erection of a small sculpture of K5054, the prototype Spitfire, at the roundabout leading to Southampton Airport. The sculpture has a wingspan of 24 feet, compared with the original 36 feet span of the aircraft and was unveiled exactly 68 years after the Spitfire first flew.
Giant Spitfire Statue
Southampton has long wished to have an impressive statue commemorating its association with the Spitfire, with attempts to do so discussed in the 1960s and again constantly from the 1990s. This national campaign gathered momentum in 2010 with the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown9 as well as national newspapers, and it was originally optimistically hoped to construct the statue before March 2011, in time for the 75th Anniversary of the first flight from Eastleigh airport.
An Open Competition to design a Spitfire statue to be three times the original size attracted 315 submissions. These were displayed in the Solent Sky Museum and published in the local paper. The winning design is estimated to cost £2 million and will stand at Trafalgar Dock, reaching a height of 131 feet (40 metres), twice the height of the Angel of the North and almost the height of the bottom of the Statue of Liberty's torch. Beneath the statue will be a 30m circular viewing platform on the water's edge, inspired by the Royal Air Force roundel, complete with a pool of remembrance in the centre.
Unfortunately, the competition has attracted nationwide controversy. Instead of one of the six finalists winning, an unseen entry which did not comply with the entry requirements was declared the winner. John Hannides, Chairman of the Spitfire Tribute Foundation that is organising the statue's construction, when questioned why an entrant one and a half times the size of a Spitfire won a competition for a landmark three times the size, refused to answer other than stating you should read the specification, it might help you. The specification, when read, clearly said at least three times in bold. A BBC investigation and Freedom of Information requests have revealed that although the first time the seventh design was publicly announced was when it won on 7 November, 2010, it was mentioned in the minutes of a secret Spitfire Tribute Foundation meeting on 21 September, after the six finalists were announced on 15 September. These finalists were then asked for a more detailed report to be submitted to the Spitfire Tribute Foundation on 8 October 2010 in time for a feasibility study. The feasibility study and final judging, however, secretly took place unannounced on 5 October.
Although the design chosen does indeed look impressive and will, when completed, be a fitting addition to Southampton's waterfront, the competition has been marred with the taint of the Spitfire Tribute Foundation's actions. Although these appear both incompetent and negligent at best, dishonest and corrupt at worst, the Spitfire Tribute Foundation had no legal requirement to build a design from the competition's entries. At time of writing (March 2012) this statue has been granted planning permission, with fundraising still ongoing.
Drinking Water Fountains
Front line weapons in the wars against cholera and drunkenness, water fountains were popular in the late Victorian era. These were normally equipped with a tin cup on a chain for the user to drink from, before it was realised that this was not very healthy. Many also had troughs to allow horses, cattle and dogs to drink. Since the popularity of the motorcar, however, horses no longer require places to drink in the city centre. All Southampton's drinking water fountains have now been disconnected from the water mains10.
Kell and Melly Fountain
The first drinking fountain in Southampton was a result of a collaboration between Edmund Kell and Charles Melly. Kell was a minister who, after 30 years at Newport, Isle of Wight's Unitarian church, moved to Southampton in 1853. On his arrival he was shocked at the town's drunkenness and disorder, and in 1858 concluded that the best way to tackle this was to build a drinking fountain so that no longer would the only drinks available to working men outside their homes be alcoholic. This was such a new concept that he had to explain what a drinking fountain was.
His campaign was brought to the attention of wealthy Liverpudlian Charles Melly, who had installed drinking fountains in Liverpool since 1854. Melly offered to pay for a drinking fountain to be installed in Southampton. This was accepted, and after a discussion about where the fountain was to be erected, this small obelisk was installed in 1859 at the corner of Marsh Lane, East Street and St Mary Street. Its design was a square man-height pillar, topped with pediments and a globe on top. In 1939 the fountain was disconnected from the water supply. In 1969, in order to make way for a busy road, this Grade II listed obelisk moved to Houndwell Park.
In 1865 councillor and ship-owner John Ransom supplied Southampton with another drinking fountain on what was known as Asylum Green, a strip of grass on The Avenue named after the Duke of York's Royal Military Asylum for Children of Soldiers Killed in the Peninsular War which stood nearby. This was the site of Padwell Cross Pond, used as a watering place for horses and cattle approaching Southampton from the north, but following the 1849 cholera epidemic it was realised that this pond was unsanitary and a health threat. The pond was filled in, but a lowly trough did not meet the needs of cattle and horses travelling to and from Southampton. Ransom therefore paid for the construction of the fountain to quench the thirst of both man and beast; it was inaugurated in 1865.
The square fountain had water points and basins on all four sides beneath panels representing the four seasons, with columns on the corners, pediments above the panels and was topped by a dome and four-armed cross. The water supply was turned off in 1939. The Avenue, still the main road into Southampton, was expanded in 1966. Fortunately the fountain was moved 20 yards north of its original position and is now Grade II listed.
Councillor Jonas Nichols presented a cast-iron drinking fountain and gas-lamp to Southampton in 1882. This 22 feet tall column has dolphins and lion heads on all four sides from which water poured into four basins and was erected in Six Dials, St Mary's, with Nichols drinking the first cup of water from it. In 1904 the fountain was moved to Kingsland Square and in 1954 it was moved to Bevois Street, near St Mary Street, with an electric lamp resembling a gas lamp installed. Grade II listed, it is now in the centre of Bevois Square.
Golden Jubilee Fountain
Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1887 and in Shirley11 fundraising for celebrations resulted in a large surplus. Although not enough to create a recreation ground or library, it was enough to create the Jubilee Memorial Drinking Fountain. Although the whole village enthusiastically greeted creating a drinking fountain in principle, there were initially bitter disagreements on what side of Shirley High Street it should be erected on. Many outraged local residents signed petitions on this contentious issue.
This fierce debate raged until March 1889 and finally in April 1889 the fountain was positioned on the west side of Shirley High Street. Made of Portland stone, it is rectangular and gothic in style with a trough for dogs, a basin for horses and cattle and a bowl for people with a push-valve control allowing water to gush through a lion's head. Four granite columns rise above the pedestal, with a decorative water fountain in the middle, topped by a triangular spire supporting a crown. When Southampton's tramline was extended to this part of Shirley in 1911, the fountain was considered in the way. Again the debate on which side of the road the fountain should be on raged, followed by a fiercer debate on who should pay for it to be moved. In 1923 the fountain was moved to the east side of Shirley High Street, on the corner with Romsey Road. In the early 1970s it was often hit by traffic, and so in 1976 was moved a short distance into the middle of Shirley's shopping precinct, again on the east side of Shirley High Street. In common with the other drinking fountains, the water no longer runs and it is Grade II listed.
Shirley Road Fountain
A small Grade II granite drinking fountain and water trough is located at the junction of Millbrook Road East and Shirley Road, on the main road between Shirley and Southampton. Dating from 1888, this has a trough and pillar and is decorated with a lion's head. It is inscribed, 'Thou preservest man and beast'.
Diamond Jubilee Fountain
There is a small Grade II Listed water fountain built in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 near Riverside Park in the area of Southampton known as Woodmill. It was donated by Sir Samuel Montagu MP12. A square fountain, this had a decorative shell design through which water passed to a trough below, complete with water cup and topped by a copper crown. In 1961 it was moved to the corner of Woodmill Lane and Forest Hills Drive to enable traffic to flow better. It was severely vandalised in 1964 and lost its cupola and crown. The fountain was refurbished in 1992 and restored to its former glory, but it has since again been vandalised and at time of writing the crown has been bent beyond all recognition. National Cycle Route 23 passes this fountain.
In Palmerston Park is the Bandstand. This was newly-built in 1999 as part of Southampton's parks' restoration. The original bandstand was erected in 1885 and stood until 1940, when after suffering bomb damage, the metal was salvaged to help the war effort.
In Gate 8 of the Western Docks stands a Bath stone column topped by a bronze globe decorated with the signs of the zodiac, celebrating 100 years of the Southampton Docks in 1938 since Sir Lucius Curtis laid the foundation for the modern Southampton Docks in 1838.
The Clock Tower
Bitterne Park Clock Tower is a Grade II Listed 43-foot-tall clock tower built in 1889 at the bequest of Mrs Henrietta Bellenden Sayers, who left £1,000 to provide 'one or two drinking fountains for Southampton'. This was a vast sum for such an undertaking, and her executors invited architects to submit designs for a drinking fountain for persons, cattle and dogs incorporating a clock tower and lamp. The winning design was a square, buttressed 13th Century Gothic style tower 45 feet tall, with troughs on two sides for horses, cattle and dogs and a side for people to use. It also incorporated a four-dialled clock illuminated by gas-light which would chime every hour.
In 1889 it was unveiled at the junction of New Road and Above Bar. In 1916 it was realised that having a cup on a chain for use by any who thirsted was not very healthy and so the water supply to the human side of the fountain was cut off. In 1929, when the Civic Centre was under constructed, it was realised that the clock tower was an obstruction to traffic. It moved to its present location in Bitterne in 1934, but the new site overlooking the hill from Cobden Bridge was not without its difficulties. Due to being reconstructed on soft soil, it now leans downhill, west, by at least 7 inches, just over 1°. National Cycle Route 23 passes close to this clock tower.
A second drinking fountain had been constructed from the money left by Sayers: an elegant octagonal three-tiered 27-foot-tall fountain with a steeple was constructed in 1890 near the tram stop by the former floating bridge. When the last tram was removed from service in 1949 this whole area was redeveloped and the fountain sadly destroyed.
In Queen's Park is a Grade II listed memorial to General Gordon in the shape of Corinthian columns topped with a cross. Also known as Chinese Gordon for his service in the Far East and Gordon of Khartoum, after where he was killed in 1885, Gordon lived in Southampton and served in the Crimean War, and the second Opium War, and reorganised China's 'Ever Victorious Army', leading it to a series of brilliant victories during the Taiping Rebellion. He later was Governor-General of the Sudan and evacuated some 2,600 civilians and soldiers from Khartoum before the Mahdi's revolt, dying there in 1885. His death featured in the film Khartoum, in which he is played by Charlton Heston.
William Chamberlayne Gas Column
The Grade II Listed William Chamberlayne Gas Column dates from 1822 and is one of Southampton's oldest monuments. It is a 50-foot-high Doric iron column, built by public subscription in tribute to William Chamberlayne, who was Southampton's MP from 1818 until his death in 1829. He also owned nearby Netley Castle between 1825 and 1829. He freely donated iron columns for Southampton's new gas street-lights. Curiously, the column doesn't mention that William Chamberlayne owned the gas company that supplied the gas to the street-lights, or the prices he charged Southampton to do so.
First erected at the junction of New Road and Above Bar Street in 1822, it has been moved several times, first to Town Quay in 1829, then Houndwell Park in 1865, and on to Speakers Corner Roundabout in 1957. It returned to Houndwell Park in 2000 as part of the parks restoration scheme.
The city has a fine collection of art in Southampton Art Gallery, including Rodin's statues Eve and Crouching Woman. In addition to these, there are many works of art on display throughout the city and at the University of Southampton, among which are the following:
Adam and Eve
In the road called Cossack Green, near Hoglands Park, are two concrete nude sculptures, male and female. Made at the John Cass School of Art in London in 1951, they were given to Southampton by the architects of the estate on which they exist. They are known as Adam and Eve.
The Child of the Family
Three steel figures opposite the Sea City Museum on the crest of the Southampton railway tunnel near Southampton Central Station. The work was made by Danny Lane in 1995 and funded by Hampshire County Council and British Railways Board.
'Enclosure' by Paul De Monchaux was installed in 2000 when Southampton's Central Parks were refurbished. It is a four-metre-high Portland Roach stone sculpture located in Watts Park. Its shape is a cubic frame. It is positioned to allow the viewer to walk around it and look through it, turning the buildings and the park around the sculpture into pictures in a frame.
A piece of modern art in Watts Park made by John Maine in 1996.
In late 2012, cycling charity Sustrans announced that it would fund a new sculpture as part of their national Portrait Bench initiative, in which famous figures are recreated in life-size bronze cut-outs beside benches along their National Cycle Routes. The Boardwalk Cycle Path, part of National Cycle Route 23, was the location for figures from the Southampton area, with the figures chosen by a vote. Over 7,000 votes were cast, with unsuccessful candidates including Oscar-winning stop-motion writer and director Suzie Templeton, wildlife presenter Chris Packham and gardening television presenter Charlie Dimmock as well as Emily Davies, Craig David, King Cnut and RJ Mitchell. The three winners were:
Matt Le Tissier, a retired footballer and television presenter from Guernsey. He spent his entire career playing for Southampton Football Club, when not representing his country.
Pete Waterfield is a diving Olympic silver medalist (2004) and Commonwealth gold medalist (2002).
As the statues are life-sized, short Pete Waterfield, 5 foot 4, is dwarfed by the tall, slender figure of Jane Austen.
The most distant Southampton memorial, and perhaps the most unusual as it was not intended to be a memorial, can be found in Bundaberg, Australia. Australian-born Avro test-pilot Squadron Leader HJL 'Bert' Hinkler lived in Southampton between 1918 and 1933. He broke many flying records and competed in the 1925 Schneider Cup. He flew to Australia in 1928, the first person to fly solo from England to Australia, in under 16 days. In 1931 he was the first to fly across the South Atlantic solo.
In 1925, Bert Hinkler built a modest detached house named Mon Repos in Thornhill, Southampton. His home was a popular destination for other aviation enthusiasts, and Bert planned his great solo flights from this house. Bert died in a flying accident in Italy in 1933, attempting to break his record of flying solo to Australia. Fifty years later, in 1983, Mon Repos was dismantled, shipped to Bundaberg and rebuilt as a memorial to Australian aviation as part of the Hinkler Hall of Aviation. Bert Hinkler also has a street, park and pub named after him in Southampton.
People Southampton Should Have Statues of:
There are several famous Southampton residents who have not had statues or memorials erected to them, and perhaps should have. These include:
- Michael Andrews, the 776th Mayor of Southampton. Born in 1947, he died in 1998 rescuing people from a sinking flying boat despite being unable to swim himself.
- King Cnut (985 - 1035), also known as Canute. King of Denmark and Norway, he was also crowned King of England in Southampton in 1016. While in Southampton, he famously tried to stop the tide from coming in.
- Craig David, musician. He was born and lived in Southampton from 1981 until he became famous and mocked by comedy programme Bo' Selecta!, after which he moved to America.
- Emily Davies (1830 – 1921). A pioneering suffragist13 who campaigned for women's university education, founding the first British college to educate women, Girton College, in 1869. She also organised the first Parliamentary petition requesting women's suffrage in 1866.
- Bert Hinkler, who lived in Southampton 1918 - 1933. His house is now in Australia.
- John Everett Millais, pre-Raphaelite painter born in Portland Street, Southampton, 1829.
- RJ Mitchell, who designed several record-breaking aircraft (including the Spitfire) in Southampton, and lived at 2 Russell Place 1917 - 1937. There is a small statue of him half-hidden in Solent Sky – the Southampton Hall of Aviation. He deserves something more impressive, however.
- Ken Russell, director of Oscar-winning film Women In Love, lived in Southampton 1927 - 2011.
- Aircraftman TE Lawrence 'Of Arabia' Shaw, who briefly lived at no 13 Birmingham Street and served at nearby Calshot Castle.
- Shane Warne, world-famous Australian cricketer who played for Hampshire 2000 - 2007.