Southampton is not usually forthcoming on Christmas lights as much as other cities – What with the Christmas market and so many lights from shops, ships and offices – But, to open up a leisure area for Christmas at West Quay malls this year, a stunning loop of 7-minute, light and sound illuminations ran on our Old Town Wall at the weekend.
Depicted, was the history of Southampton’s port, which focused on departures of: Henry V troops leaving for Agincourt, The Mayflower with Pilgrims preparing for America, The Titanic leaving for New York, boats and planes in WW2 manoeuvres, J-Class yachts, powerboats, hovercraft, container-ships and so on.
Southampton Docks is packed with Mass Transit scenes. Every type of vehicle from Rolls Royces and Land Rovers to JCBs and camper-vans, are exported around the world. Southampton was once “Home of the Ford Transit”. This was a Ford factory that produced white (though sometimes other colours) commercial vans, which employed thousands of people in my home town.
The main link is a reblog from The Reclining Gentleman – a fellow Sotonian that I follow. This song has filled me with so much melancholy. I just loved the Woolston Ferry (Southampton’s Floating Bridge) and it made a wonderful free day out for me as a child. The video (if you click on the original blog) show clips at Southampton Art Gallery with paintings of the ferry at by L.S Lowry, who was in love with a Southampton girl at the time. Sadly she married someone else, then so did he. But both couples remained good friends during their lifetimes though. The Woolston Ferry song is by Gutter Percha & The Balladeeros from Southampton.The Ferry itself has made a comeback since this song. It is now a summer restaurant further along the River Itchen at Elephant Wharf, Bursledon, for anyone interested.
This tune will mean nothing to 99.99% of readers, but i don’t care. I love it. The tune and the ferry are part of my heritage.
You can see my flat in the map near the beginning. In fact i have never lived outside the area of that map since i came home from Southampton General Hospital at age 2 days. You can also see St Mary’s Stadium where Southampton FC play. Every few years the fans try to get the chorus of this song to become our anthem and sing it at games, but sadly it has never properly caught on. I love singing it in away pubs though and seeing the confused looks of the home fans.
You can keep your Ferry Cross the Mersey, your Skye Boat Song, and anything Bryan Ferry has ever recorded. This song, its ferry, its heart and its history are about the…
The Ford Transit celebrates its 50th Birthday today – 9th August 2015.
Arriving into the City of Southampton via the M27 Motorway, one used to be welcomed by a huge banner, declaring: “Southampton. Home of the Ford Transit.” Passing the Ford Transit factory the tarmac grounds gleamed with rows of white transit vans. The colour was chosen because white was the perfect colour to keep drivers cool in the days before air conditioning. This gave rise to stereotype phrase “white van man”.
The Transit is essential to many British workers. 600,000 of the utilitarian vans are now built globally each year. But sadly local production ceased in 2013 when the Ford Transit plant at Southampton closed. The Plant, which was one of Southampton’s biggest employers, has remained empty now for two years.
Giant container ships from China arrive regularly at The Port of Southampton to fill British High Streets with imports. They used to sail back empty. But now return with recycled plastic, antiques and British vehicles.
UPDATE December 2015
Sadlly the Aston Martin project did not go ahead. The Factory has been pulled down. R I P