Titanic Southampton Remembers

Things are busier than ever with our attempt to move and live on a boat at the moment. I haven’t time to devote to well-researched thought-out posts. Instead I have found a lot of what I want to write about already out there.

Four years ago Southampton had a big commemoration – 100 years since the sinking of The Titanic.

Why is it so important to us? Well, out of over 900 crew members 750 were from Southampton. Unless you were in charge of a lifeboat – most of them drowned.

Repercussions of that event over a Century ago are still felt in Southampton today.

If you are interested here is a BBC Documentary presented by Bernard Hill, the British actor who played Captain Smith in the Cameron film. It’s about 25 minutes long, so unless you are interested in Southampton or The Titanic, you are forgiven if you don’t click:

http://wp.me/p6jveM-zH

Holyrood

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

2015 – Passing the Port

When two Sotonians meet, inevitably they will start talking about ships. The Port is a big part of our culture and important to those born here. However the majority of people living here are not from Southampton. They never even get to see the Port of Southampton, unless they love sailing, go on a ferry or cruise, study at the University’s Oceanography Centre or work at the Docks. So like trainspotters, if an interest is shown, the shipping conversation will delve into anything from tonnage the state of boiler rooms. So hopefully not being too big a bore, here is my experience of our wonderful Port vistors in 2015:

Bramble Bank cricket match 2015
Bramble Bank cricket match August  2015 (Royal Southern Yacht Club)
Hoegh Osaka leaning on Bramble Bank, Southampton Waters in January 2015
Hoegh Osaka leaning on Bramble Bank in The Solent in January 2015

Bramble Bank is a shallow area between Southampton shipping lanes and a cricket match takes place there on Boxing Day at low tide and in August.

Hoegh Osaka is one of the worlds largest container ships at 51,000 tonnes. Last January it had to ground itself deliberately on Bramble Bank in Southampton Waters when it got into difficulties after loading 1,400 new luxury vehicles from the Port of Southampton. Hoegh Osaka also made it to the BBC’s Year in Pictures for 2015: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-35102257.

In March, the Queen officially launched the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton.  in May the crowds came to see Cunard’s three Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together from Southampton – an event that was later repeated in Liverpool.

In March, the Queen officially launched the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton. In April was the official launch of Athem of Seas pictured in my heading and in May the crowds came to see Cunard's three Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth and Mary all set sail together from Southampton - an event that was later repeated in Liverpool
In March, I went to see The Queen officially launch the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton where the ship is registered. At the time she was the world’s biggest cruise ship, but there is fast-paced race on as to who can build the biggest cruise ship, so this may be overpassed now.
Royal Caribean's Anthem of the Seas was launched in April. She moors regularly between Dock Gates 8-10 and can be viewed from the town walls from West Quay.
Royal Caribean’s Anthem of the Seas was launched in April. She moors regularly between Dock Gates 8-10 and can be viewed from the town walls from West Quay.
Anthem of the Seas viewed from Forest Walk, Southampton. The building on the right belongs to Royal Caribbean
Anthem of the Seas viewed from Forest View, Southampton. The building on the right belongs to Royal Caribbean
4 Vessel Virgins set sail from our Coast in May. The three Cunard Queens Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together in May. Anthem of the Seas passes them first to quite a bit of horn-blowing and flag waving.
Four vessel virgins set sail from our coast in May. The three Cunard Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together. Anthem of the Seas passes them first to quite a bit of horn-blowing and flag waving.
Getting ready for a good view of the three Cunard Queens sailing. May 2015
Getting ready for a good view of the three Cunard Queens sailing. May 2015
Queen Mary 2 dwarfing The Calshot Spit
Queen Mary 2 dwarfing The Calshot Spit
In July I enjoyed an interesting day out on Enterprise with top researchers from Southampton University's Oceanography Department
In July I enjoyed an interesting day out on Enterprise with top researchers from Southampton University’s Oceanography Department
The Calshot Spit
The Calshot Spit
Hoegh Target is the world's largest car transporter with deck space the size of 10 football pitches and able to carry enough vehicles for a 26-mile traffic jam. She called to see us in August.
Hoegh Target is the world’s largest car transporter with deck space the size of 10 football pitches and able to carry enough vehicles for a 26-mile traffic jam. She called to see us in August.
Some giant pleasure boats also arrived for the Southampton Boat Show in September 2015
Some giant pleasure boats also arrived for the Southampton Boat Show in September 2015
P&O's Azura at Ocean Terminal, Autumn 2015
P&O’s Azura at Ocean Terminal, Autumn 2015
Ships as big as blocks of flats
Ships as big as blocks of flats
Oceana
Oceana
Old and new tie alongside each other.
Old and new tie alongside each other.
SS Shieldhall is a working heritage steam ship. During Heritage week she offered free cruises around the Solent. http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall
SS Shieldhall is a working heritage steam ship. During Heritage week she offered free cruises around the Solent. http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall

 

September: Sarah Harrison Band plays on board SS Sheildhall as part of a free music in unusual places festival in Southampton http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall
Sarah Harrison Band plays on board SS Sheildhall as part of a free music in unusual places festival in Southampton. October 2015 © Southampton Old Lady
And our regular Red Funnel ferries shuttling back and forth from the Isle of Wight
And our regular Red Funnel ferries shuttling back and forth from the Isle of Wight

 

WordPress Photo Challenge: CONNECTED

Connected ©Southampton Old Lady
Connected
©Southampton Old Lady

I took this at Southampton Boat Show as part of the WordPress Photo Challenge on the theme: CONNECTED.

I don’t know if there is a similar word in your country but here in Britain, as well as being physically attached, ‘Connected’ can also refer to someone who has an unfair power or wealth because of who they know. Examples: part of the Aristocracy or Royalty, having the King’s ear, sleeping with the director or related to your boss.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/connected/”>Connected</a&gt;

Dismaland – Reply to Banksy & Co

Sunbathing on the beach
Sunbathing on the beach
Bookshop/cafe closure notice
Bookshop/cafe closure notice

Much as I love Southampton, which has some wonderful positive things to offer cruise ship tourists (which I shall get around to writing about more – I am usually a positive person) these are some snaps from my home city in support of Banksy’s Dismaland.

All photos © Southampton old lady

If you have not heard of Dismaland then please do an image search online. This is a ‘bemusement’ park that has been opened up in South-West England, for six weeks, by a group of 59 British artists including: Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo… headed by Banksy. Actors (as disgruntled security guards and staff) and writers have also been employed (Julie Birchill re-wrote a macabre Punch & Judy script).

Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton's Medieval wall.
Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton’s Medieval wall.

The Tropicana swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, a one-time holiday-haven, has been turned into an anarchistic statement about Western capitalism – A Disneyland gone wrong.

Banksy hails from near-by Bristol. He possibly recalls as a child, summer days on the sands and pier at Weston-Super-Mare, which have deteriorated now. The type of British family that used to spend their holiday here, no longer have money for resorts. Pictures like this can be found at tourist areas throughout Europe. In London, visitors are sad not to meet people like characters from Downton Abbey.

But don’t book £3 tickets on the Dismaland website, or you will just be trolled. The project highlights the down-side of Britain emulating USA-style boom and bust financial strategies. Our boom from the 1990s sub-prime-type/hedge-funding and such, burst its bubble in 2008. Although the Government has announced that the Country is now “doing well” – giving themselves generous pay-rises; people argue that these strategies have little way of ‘trickling down’ any benefit to the common people. There is also a sense of childhood loss, a feeling of being cheated by the false promises of a fairytale with a happy ending.

Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (a middle class supermarket)
Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (an up-market supermarket)
The Royal Pier, which burnt down in the 1970s.
The Royal Pier in Southampton has not been repaired since it burnt down in the 1970s.
Closer view of the pier.
Closer view of the pier.
Prickly Justice
Prickly Justice
Northam Bridge Graffiti
Northam Bridge Graffiti
River Itchen cycle path - west side
River Itchen cycle path – west side
Please return your shopping trolley
Please return your shopping trolley
Riverside apartments (or they could be)
Riverside apartments (or it could be)
Site of television studios - build here please.
Brown site that used to be television studios – build homes here please.
Itchen River from Roman East site
Itchen River from Roman East-side
Council allowed 'graffiti' to encourage cycling complete with chewing gum spots.
Council allowed ‘graffiti’ to encourage cycling. Complete with chewing gum spots.
The sky line
The sky line
Memorial bench at victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Memorial bench at Royal Victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Park restrictions: Do not pass go... Different signs for English and Polish speakers.
Park restrictions: Different signs for different languages
A traditional pub closes every day.
A traditional pub closes every day.
Shirley Park Hotel - closed
Shirley Park Hotel – closed
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Beauty Parlours in the hope of a change to feel better.
Beauty Parlours offer hope of a change to feel better. Not something I could afford or want.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
off-licence in residential area
Late off-licence in residential area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre - watch your step.
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre – watch your step.
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis 'gentlemans' club - in Southampton's High Street (Above Bar).
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis ‘Gentleman’s’ club – in Southampton’s High Street (Above Bar).
For Your Eyes Only - mens lap dance club on the QE2 Mile
For Your Eyes Only – another club for men (table-dancing) on the QE2 Mile
English Heritage Listed II street with Police car.
Grade II Listed street with house cordoned off for drugs bust.
Empty commerce
Empty commerce
The Cricket Pavilion
The cricket pavilion in a park where cricket is not allowed
A reminder of the Banksy murial that was removed in Southampton
A reminder of the Banksy mural’ that was removed in Southampton

You may also want to look at this YouTube video of buskers Phat Bollard performing ‘Millionaires’ in Southampton High Street (contains swearing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQBAu0Yypk

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/phatbollard. Downloads can be found at Bandcamp: http://phatbollard.bandcamp.com.

 

 

 

 

Decaying Old Grandeur 4 – The Royal Pier Southampton

The Mecca Ballroom at the end of Southampton's Royal Pier  burnt down in the 1970s
The Mecca Ballroom at the end of Southampton’s Royal Pier
burnt down in the 1970s

Royal Pier postcard

The Royal Pier at its best with the Pavilion leading to the Mecca Dancing ballroom at the pier's end
The Royal Pier at its best in the Victorian/Edwardian eras (top) and 1960s (above), with the Pavilion leading to the  ballroom at the pier’s head

I stare out at the gangrenous remnants of a burnt-out and buckled boardwalk.

I once walked along here in my long white gown to my wedding reception at the pier’s head.

A teenage discotecque, held every Saturday afternoon, paraded the latest fashions.

Mecca Ballroom danced the night away, and in the early hours there were women

Weeping over fights among bouncers and drunks.

Southampton's burnt pier, still an eye-saw in 2015
Southampton’s burnt pier, still an eye-sore in 2015

New wooden jetties, hoping to entice wealthy yachts and bearing ‘No Swimming’ signs, have become diving platforms today for sunburnt disobedient boys in trunks.

Diving boys

Diving through oily green waves of frothy seaweed, they wiggle down with the pipe fish and grey mullet to boat wrecks, over-stewed and stuck in the bed of blue-grey clay, razored with cracked cockleshells and broken bottles.
Here is the underworld city to hermit crabs, sea slugs or the occasional murder victim anchored by heavy slabs of concrete.

by Southampton Old Lady – August 2013

The Royal Pier, Southampton. Pavilion decorated in time for 1953 Queen's Coronation.
The Pavilion at Southampton’s Royal Pier, decorated in time for The Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
Privatised, the Pavilion opens as a restaurant:  'Kuti's Royal Thai Pier' in 2010
The Pavilion opens as a restaurant:
‘Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier’ in 2010

My Blog starts here…

 

Sotonians waving to Anthem of the Seas as she leaves the Port of Southampton, May 2015 © Southampton Old Lady
Sotonians waving to Anthem of the Seas as she leaves the Port of Southampton © 2015 Southampton Old Lady

 

This post has been moved to the About page. Scan below for my posts, most recent first.