Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|City of Southampton|
|Status:||Unitary, City (1964)|
|Region:||South East England|
- Total (2002 est.)
4,438 / km²
|Southampton City Council|
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|MPs:||John Denham, Sandra Gidley, Alan Whitehead|
Southampton is a city and major port situated on the south coast of England. It is the closest city to the New Forest and lies at the northern-most point of Southampton Water approximately halfway between Portsmouth and Bournemouth.
Although historically a part of the county of Hampshire, the city became an independent unitary authority in local government re-organisations on April 1, 1997. This makes Southampton an administrative county in its own right though it remains part of Hampshire for ceremonial purposes and in common usage. Under the name of Southampton there are several districts within the city, including Woolston, Bitterne, Portswood, Bassett, Shirley, Freemantle, Millbrook and Swaythling.
In common with many British towns and cities, such as Coventry and Plymouth, it was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Many historic buildings were lost as a result but the old city walls remain, as does the Bargate, formerly the main gateway to the city, located at the northern end of the walls. There are numerous large parks in the city centre.
There are three members of parliament for the city: John Denham (Labour) for Southampton Itchen (constituency for the east of the city), Dr Alan Whitehead (Labour) for Southampton Test (the west of the city), and Sandra Gidley (Liberal Democrat) for Romsey (a small portion of the north of the city).
Although Stone Age settlements are known to have existed in the area, the first permanent settlement was established by the Romans. Known as Clausentum, it was an important trading port for the large Roman towns of Winchester and Salisbury.
The Anglo-Saxons moved the centre of the town across the River Itchen to its present location, and it remained an important port. The Viking King Canute the Great is supposed to have defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready here in 1014 and his fabled attempt to "command" the tide to halt took place in Southampton. However, its prosperity was assured following the Norman Conquest in 1066, when it became the major port of transit between Winchester (then the capital of England) and Normandy.
The Second World War hit Southampton particularly hard, because of its strategic importance as the major industrial area on the South Coast. Pockets of Georgian architecture remain, but much of the city was levelled.
Southampton has had a few significant impacts on global history...
- It was the original point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard the Mayflower. A memorial may be found on Town Quay.
- In common with most of the luxury liners of the time, the Titanic sailed from here, and it is still an important ocean liner port frequented by luxury ships such as the QE2, the Oriana , and most recently the Queen Mary 2. A memorial to the crew of the Titanic may be found in Above Bar Street.
- The Supermarine Spitfire was developed and initially manufactured in the suburb of Woolston. A memorial plaque to its designer, Reginald Mitchell, may be found in Russell Place in the suburb of Highfield.
- The city was the birthplace of hymn writer Isaac Watts. The Watts memorial in the city's West Park - also known as the Watts Park - was unveiled in 1861. Just across the road from there, the city's Civic Centre (the first building to bear that name) has a clock which plays a Watts hymn (O God Our Help In Ages Past) every four hours.
- BOAC had a flying boat base in the docks serving British colonial possessions in Africa and Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. It closed in 1950 when land based aircraft became dominant.
- Nearby, Calshot Spit was a base for the military flying boat services.
- It was the birthplace of comedian Benny Hill.
- For The Pubs in Southampton
- Southampton Football Club
- On Charles Miller and Brazilian Football
- Southampton City Council and CityWeb
- Southampton traffic information and web cameras
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