Advent 21: I Saw Three Ships…

p1170778p1170569I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Photos of the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

Advent 12: Illuminations

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The Titanic leaving Dock Gate 4, Southampton

p1180671Southampton 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.

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p1180656Depicted, 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.

Do you have any festive lights where you are?

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Southampton’s city square

Photo Challenge: Mass Transit

Southampton was once "Home of the Ford Transit"
Southampton was once “Home of the Ford Transit”

Docks-caravans-1

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.

One of my first posts was about trying to keep the factory alive, but eventually it was demolished: https://wordpress.com/post/southamptonoldlady.wordpress.com/738

 

This has been in response to Cee Photo Challenge: Mass Transit:

https://ceenphotography.com/2016/04/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-mass-transit/

The Woolston Ferry

The Floating Bridge by L.S Lowry. On loan by Carol Ann Lowry to Southampton Art Gallery
The Floating Bridge by L.S Lowry. On loan by Carol Ann Lowry to Southampton Art Gallery
The Woolston Ferry is now a restaurant at Eelphant Wharf, Burseldon, Southampton www.ferryrestaurant.co.uk
The Woolston Ferry is now a restaurant at Elephant Wharf, Burseldon, Southampton
http://www.ferryrestaurant.co.uk

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.

The Reclining Gentleman

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…

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Ford Transit Celebrates 50th Birthday

Workers at Southampton Ford Factory when the One Millionth Transit was produced. BBC photo
Workers at Southampton Ford Factory when the One Millionth Transit was produced. BBC photo

The Ford Transit celebrates its 50th Birthday today – 9th August 2015.

Inside Southampton's empty Ford plant. Photo by Speed - 28 Days Later
Inside Southampton’s empty Ford plant.
Photo: SPEED – 28 Days Later

ford transits

Vehicles at The Port of Southampton awaiting transportation
Vehicles for transportation at The Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady
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. © Southampton Old Lady
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.
© Southampton Old Lady
Transits rolling on Chinese Container ship at the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady
Transits boarding Chinese container ship at the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

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.

‘28 days later’, a website I follow, is full of photos of abandoned buildings. A wonderful photographer who goes by the moniker ‘Speed’ has taken some stunning images inside this defunct plant. (You may want to check out his best 100 photos): http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/a-life-in-ruins-100-photos-from-10-years-of-exploring-the-uk.t93530

There is a current campaign to get the old Ford plant chosen for the new production of a revival of the 60s Aston Martin – the main demand for this ‘James Bond’ car mainly coming from China. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/13573355.Campaign_launched_to_bring_Aston_Martin_factory_to_Southampton/

007's Aston Martin
007’s Aston Martin

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

ford factory demolition

Sadlly the Aston Martin project did not go ahead. The Factory has been pulled down. R I P