There is a plaque on a large anchor outside a derelict church in Southampton’s High Street (QE2 Mile) which reads: The Church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors, the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea.

There are many memorials in this peaceful place to those lost at sea. From mediaeval captains that went down with their ship to those bombed while bringing supplies during WWII.

There is a special corner dedicated to the crew who drowned when the Titanic sank. Of her 1,517 victims, Southampton was home to 538 of the 685 crew members who died on this White Star liner’s fateful crossing to New York on the 15th of April 1912. It was like our 9/11 – our city lost a generation.

gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen's Memorial (this was once Holy Rood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen’s Memorial (this was once Holyrood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady

I have been meaning to write about the Holyrood neighbourhood of Southampton for some time.  In the 1960s a new area of council flats were developed on that which was raized to the ground by the Blitz. In the last decade Southampton council has employed mural artists and sculptors to reveal the history of the area. However, Marie Keats, another Southampton blogger I follow, has been able to do this so much better than I on her ‘I Walk Alone” wordpress site – so if you are interested in her lovely mural walk around the area please do visit her blog: http://www.iwalkalone.co.uk/?p=22590

28 thoughts on “Holyrood

  1. A great photograph. Lieutenant Lightoller features in all the histories of the Titanic. He even appeared as a character in the Leonardo de Caprio film. Bruce, you must be very proud of your ancestor.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your photos are wonderful, and I completely agree with you that “history should be told.” There are too many forces in the world today who are determined to follow in the footsteps of those who would erase the uncomfortable, the ugly, and the distressing. I ran out of Christmas season to post about one of a carol that suffered the fate. Next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely photos, as always. I hate the idea QE2 mile, but that’s just me.
    I read recently that in the road that runs parallel to mine one in ten houses lost someone in the Titanic. I know that numbers were higher in streets nearer the docks, but I presume there were similar losses in the surrounding streets. It must have had a huge impact on the area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you seen the floor map at the Sea City Museum? (a section of it here: http://wp.me/p6jveM-t ) They have a red dot for where someone lived that died from the Titanic disaster. They are evenly distributed really. A few more in Northam, Chapel and Holyrood as that is where more merchant seamen lived. They have a list with photos of many of the victims and survivors too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It really is fabulous but I must admit the prices are enough to put most off. I cannot wait until a private enterprise takes it over from the Council. Once you’ve been there is no reason to go again – I think we should be able to do like Portsmouth, Bristol and Brighton that if you are local and a council tax payer – you can go back in and out again all year. I would take guests with me if that was the case. The museum is empty most of the time, yet if they tried to attract cruise ship passengers they would love it.

        Liked by 1 person

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