musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Weston

Retrospective: Woolston and Weston

This is yet another of my retrospective posts about my time in Southampton. and it really encompasses the area I lump together as Woolston/Weston/Southampton Water and of course the River Itchen. I grew up in a landlocked city so never really had the opportunity watch the tide come in; Southampton has an unusual phenomenon known as “Double High Water” and frankly I am not qualified to explain how this works because there are so many factors that come into play. If you are really interested please go read up at the Associated British Ports website where it is explained in detail. The important thing to know is that it results in unusually prolonged periods of high water which makes things easier for large ships (of which there are quite a lot) calling in Southampton.

My exif data has 4 separate dates for the images I took in this area, so I am really going to lump them together as one.  To understand where the images occur you really need to see the River Itchen from the bridge. The area I am dealing with is on the left of the image just past the pier that juts out from the land.  Southampton is to the right of the image. 

The ship underway is the Arco Dee, and I did a whole series of images about her transiting the Itchen Bridge en route to Southampton Water.  Our story really starts at Woolston Station, which is below.

Actually I cheated by crossing the bridge and not using the train.

The line extends all the way to Fareham and onwards to Portsmouth.  I then took Victoria Street to get to my destination. Woolston is really a village and is rich in maritime and aviation history, but unfortunately the Vosper Thornycroft yards closed in  2004 and when I was in the area the site of the yards was being redeveloped. ​

 

The Woolston Millennium Garden  was completed in 2002. Its focal point is a 10-metre tall metal and recycled glass feather intended to signify Woolston’s history of flight and sail. The garden is divided into three areas, signifying the earth, the sky and the sea. Many of the crew of the Titanic came from Woolston and there are bricks in the pathway through the garden that are inscribed with their names. Unfortunately I did not realise that the bricks did have those names otherwise I would have photographed them too. Many of those who died on the Titanic are remembered on graves in Southampton Old Cemetery.

The church I associate with Woolston/Weston is the Holy Trinity Church. there is one Second World War casualty buried in it’s churchyard. There is also the grave of Ada Maria and Charles Valentine Clarke,  2nd Class Passengers on board the Titanic. Ada survived while Charles was lost.  
 

   
   
   

Eventually you will come to a sewerage plant. You will probably smell it first though. Carry on a bit further and  you will run out of land unless you start following the road to the left. It was here that I spent some time observing the tide and exploring the area. This is also the route I took to reach Royal Victoria Country Park in August 2013

The Domesday Book has the following to say about Woolston:

  • HundredMansbridge
  • CountyHampshire
  • Total population: 6 households (quite small).
  • Total tax assessed: 1 exemption units (very small).
  • Taxable units: Taxable value 1 exemption units. Taxed on 0.12.
  • Value: Value to lord in 1066 £0.5. Value to lord in 1086 £0.3.
  • Households: 3 villagers. 3 smallholders.
  • Ploughland: 1 men’s plough teams.
  • Lord in 1066Tovi.
  • Overlord in 1066King Edward.
  • Lord in 1086Reginald (Cnut).
  • Tenant-in-chief in 1086Reginald (Cnut).
  • Phillimore reference: 59,1

It was a hot day, the sun was strong and the sky blue, that water looked very inviting. Fortunately I am not one of those who dash into the water flinging clothing aside and then doing a swan dive into it. 

The ship at Ocean Terminal was Queen Mary 2, and this image I took on a different occasion. (1500×443)

That is the Itchen Bridge in the distance.  I found the water fascinating, and the yellow boat was on the slipway when I arrived and was afloat and heading out to sea when I left. I wonder where it eventually ended up?

The movement of the water really transforms the shingle beach, it creates a whole new submerged environment that is inhabited by numerous critters that depend on the tide and the ecosystem around it. Dogs however are not included in that equation, like me they are casual visitors.

And of course the comings and goings of cruise ships do not affect the dogs but they do sometimes cause people to shade their eyes and stare, wishing that they were on board and looking at the shore. This is Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth in Southampton Water (1500×707). 

If you continued to walk and follow the road through to Weston you would see the buildings that comprise a housing estate. These buildings sufferer some of the problems that are associated with this type of housing, but Hampton TowersHavre TowersOslo TowersCopenhagen TowersRotterdam Towers and Canberra Towers are a very distinctive landmarks when viewed from Southampton Water. Just imagine what the view must be like from there…. The recent fire in a tower block in London has thrown the spotlight on fire safety in buildings like this, and I suspect a lot of rethinks will be required to sort out any potential issues in these buildings.  

The final oddity I wanted to add in here is called “Fox’s Monument” and it may be found in Mayberry Park.

This memorial is a tall unadorned obelisk on a square base commemorating Whig politician Charles James Fox. It was erected in 1810 in the grounds of Mayfield House by his admirer and friend William Chamberlayne of Weston Grove. Charles Fox’s name does not appear on the memorial but there is an inscription that reads: “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the Fullness Thereof“. 

That concludes this disjointed diatribe, it did not quite turn out the way I would have liked, but I hope it does leave some sort of impression on what the opposite bank of the Itchen River looks like. I am hoping to do a similar sort of post about Northam, but not today. Bits and pieces will be added to as and when I get the urge. 

DRW © 2013-2018. (Domesday image and data available under the CC-BY-SA licence, with credit to Professor John Palmer and George Slater, (Opendomesday.org)

Updated: 13/04/2018 — 08:38

Random Churchyards: Holy Trinity Church Weston.

A turn in the wrong direction led me to this beautiful church with attendant churchyard in Weston. It is roughly half way to Netley Abbey, and of course almost in view of Southampton Water. 

I have not been able to get into the church itself, in fact I thought that I would only visit there once, but it turns out I had to make a return visit as there is a CWGC grave in the churchyard as well as a Titanic related grave

 
 
The churchyard may still be in use because I saw a number of new headstones, and there is a portion laid out as a Garden of Remembrance. It is however a nice shady and peaceful part of this area, and it is well worth the detour away from the shoreline. 
 
 
As usual there is no real way of knowing how many graves there are, or when they started using this as a burial ground. The foundation stone for the church was laid on March 17, 1864 and it was consecrated on the 26th of  July 1865. (http://www.winchester.anglican.org/assets/downloads/Weston_Info_Pack2.pdf)  
 
It is very possible that the founder and first vicar of the church are buried in this churchyard, certainly the third vicar is.
The grave of the third vicar of the church, George William Walter Minns (1879-1914)

The grave of the third vicar of the church, George William Walter Minns (1879-1914) 


 
 
Leaving behind the church, it is a quick walk back to the shorefront with its views along Southampton Water and the cruise ships berthed at the terminals, or down towards the Isle of Wight and Calshot.
 
  
DRW © 2013-2018. Images recreated 11/04/2016
Updated: 12/04/2018 — 13:14

View from a bridge.

Bridges: love them? or loathe them? Personally I love a good bridge, and I don’t only mean the type found on board ship either. One of my dreams was to photograph a ship going under a bridge, and that is a problem on it’s own because there are not too many navigable bridges in my area. The one exception is the Itchen Bridge, which has a height of  28 metres.  

(1500×576). The Itchen Bridge  

I have seen a number of ships on the Itchen River and I expect there are a few limitations to taking a largeish vessel under the bridge without running into it. For maximum clearance you should go under at low tide, but then your vessel must not be heavily laden or you would run aground. You could go through at high tide too, but then you must be down on your marks, you also need to aim for the middle of the centre span. Oh, and it does not help if your vessel is higher than 28 metres. 
 
I watched my handy vessel movements website for a number of weeks, trying to find a chance to catch a ship going under the bridge, and that came on the 20th of July when a dredger; Sand Harrier, was due to transit from American/Burnley Wharf to Southampton Water. I was due to go shipwatching at Weston that afternoon and hoped to be back in time to see this happen.
 
On my way to Weston I spotted the vessel alongside, and just hoped that I would be back in time, or that she did not sail early. 
 
Shipwatching from Weston can be fun, but somedays there are certain ferries that are determined to ruin the photography. Once I was completed I headed up to the bridge. Sand Harrier had not passed me at Weston so she was still upriver, but anything could happen between my leaving where I was at Weston, and arriving on the bridge. By the time I got to the bridge she had not sailed, but by the looks of she was about ready to go. 
 
It is not a long distance to sail, although you do have to be careful of small craft or the odd kayak that may be oblivious to what is bearing down on them. You also need to steer towards the centre span of the bridge almost immediately after clearing the channel. Interestingly enough the vessel is able to turn at the berth, and she does so without the help of a tug. 
 
What a moment it was. The funnel gases and sound and sheer thrill of seeing something like this for the first time! I was so enthralled I forgot to press the shutter on the video camera. But, I did manage to get some video of the event. 
 

And then she was on her way towards Southampton Water, and I was on my way home. A happy puppy indeed. However, I needed to do this again. On 22 August I made an interesting discovery (which I should have noticed the first time around). Sand Harrier has a hinged mast! I feel cheated!!
Anyway, this is what she looks like from ground level. As you can see she is riding quite high, and the tide was out too, so she did not have a problem going under the bridge at all. I also managed to capture this sequence on video.
A further opportunity came a few days later when the dredger Arco Dee was due to transit from the same place and I was ready and waiting 30 minutes before sailing time. 

 
The same circumstances were involved with relation to harbour traffic, tide, draft and weather.
 
 
And then she was past. This time around I did much better with the video but did loose a bit as I had to cross the street and the traffic was hectic. 
 
 

Satisfied? not really. I now needed to see this from the bottom of the bridge. As luck would have it the trailing suction dredger City of Chichester was due to transit. But the weather was gross, and the images were really not up to scratch, so I stuck around waiting for the next opportunity which happened on 15 August.

It was a late afternoon, same ship, but better weather. For some reason I shot mostly video, but do have a screen cap that will help.
It was difficult to know how much clearance there was between the tip of her mast and the bottom of the span, But by the looks of it there was quite a bit. The tide was high too.
And finally, the clincher.
As stated previously though, it really does depend on tide, draft, ship height and that you are in the centre of the span. I expect there may be leading marks out Weston Area or possibly at Hythe for guidance and I must check up next time I am there.

And that concluded three very interesting ship transits under the Itchen bridge. I now feel kind of lost, having completed my observations. The video is available on YouTube too, as are the video’s shot from above. Come to think of it, I haven’t managed to get this dredger from above yet……

DRW © 2013-2018. Images recreated 10/04/2016 

Updated: 12/04/2018 — 13:09
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