Southampton likes to boast of its connection to the ill fated Titanic, and there is evidence all around the city, some hearkening back to 1912, and some created to cash in on the interest around the ship. I have dealt with the memorials and graves already
at my webpage. This blogpost is more about the odds and ends that are neither.
Just up the road from me is….
and it is very close to…..
This is a newish area, and it could be that it is land cleared after the war. The railway line that runs into the docks is just behind this area, and it comes out alongside berth 43 and runs up to QEII Terminal which would have been the Test Quays in 1912. The boat train probably travelled along this railway line to pull up alongside ships berthed at 42, 43 and 44, I suspect there must be a branch out to where the Ocean Terminal is today (Berth 46 and 47)
Carpathia Court is also very close to the harbour, but again it is on a newish development.
And on the subject of the Carpathia, Captain Arthur Rostron used to have a house up in West End, and there is a close named after him.
His house also has a plaque in his honour.
It is not all about plaques and street names though, some of the buildings that are mentioned in various books about the Titanic still exist. “The Grapes” is a local pub that was frequented by members of the crew, it isn’t too far from dock gate 4, although it doesn’t face the harbour. However, the city did look very different then compared to now, and it must have still been quite a run (while full of beer) to the berth to catch your ship.
Dominating the skyline very close to here is South Western House. In 1912 this hotel was where many of the richer passengers took up lodging before boarding the ship. It also bordered on what was then the Terminal Station (now called Genting Club), so could have been a very noisy and smokey place in 1912. Today it is high priced apartments.
Interestingly enough, Union-Castle Line had their offices just across the street from this building. It is also a short 2 block walk to the headquarters of the former White Star Line in Canute Street.
Very close to The Grapes is the White Star Tavern, although in 1912 it was known as the Alliance Hotel, which was used by some of the passengers before they embarked on the ship. It is interesting that it is now named after the defunct shipping line that owned the Titanic.
Not too far from this area is a new housing development, and it too has been branded with the Titanic. A very nice mural adorns the one wall of the flats, sadly, a guy with a strange hat also adorns the parking lot…
To make matters worse, close to St Michael’s Church is “The Titanic”, a pub named after the ship.
The QE2 Mile has a number of plaques referring to historical events set into the pavement, two of them relate to the Titanic.
It is hard to visualise this spot 100 years ago, the ships then looked very differently from what they do today, and they did not have the ability to berth and unberth without the aid of tugs. There would also be a pall of smoke over the docks from all the coal burning ships and trains. The view below is looking into the Ocean Dock area, and the orange bollards mark where the Titanic was alongside.
I am sure there are other references in Southampton, so I will probably add them in as I find them. The city back then was very different to what it is now, yet there are elements of it from 1912 that still survive, especially amongst the older buildings, and of course the old city walls. The big change probably came as a result of the Blitz, when portions of the city were destroyed by bombing.
Unfortunately Southampton is more renown as being the place where the Titanic sailed from as opposed to the premier port where North Atlantic liners sailed from, or where the Union-Castle mailships used to sail from.
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 09/04/2016