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Photographing Southampton

I always enjoy visiting a new city and I was excited that such an opportunity arose through my research work. The City was Southampton.  Arriving in the city via the train station, it is quickly apparent how much of it is new and there is little in the way of old pre-war structures.  Blechynden Terrace is one of several reminders of the German Blitz during WWII.  Whilst interesting, it was not in a great state and there was a large metal ring which held the wall together.  The ring was a memorial to the past but the park was neglected and a refuge for the fringes of society rather than remembering the past. 

Photographing Southampton
The arch in Blechynden Gardens is a memorial to lives lost in the Blitz on Southampton.

The Southampton civic centre features on many photographs of the city.  The buildings are set in a public area and serve several functions.  I did not have time to visit inside the Civic centre and made my way around to the Guildhall Square.  Next to the square there is what appears to be an old department store building called the St James Mathews Building.  It is owned by Southampton Solent University and the part that I liked is all the Street Art on the outside of the building with some of it being very colourful. 

Photographing Southampton
Walking upwards to the Civic Centre
Photographing Southampton
Graffiti around the Solent University

I only had small parcels of time to get any photography done and, on the morning of the meeting, I got up very early and went down to the Mayflower Park to see which cruise ships were in.  these floating cities are quite monstrous in real life, and one wonders how they float yet alone sail.  My pictures show the Spirit of Adventure in the early morning light.

Photographing Southampton
Spirit of Adventure in Southampton docks

The meeting finished early, and I had a few hours before the train home.  I walked down Portland Terrace setting off from the Civic Centre.  The street is very non-descript with a range of shops and facades that would make you think you could be in any city.  I passed through Bargate and discovered more of the old city wall.  There is the Arundel tower of the old city and the forty steps.  I particularly liked the statue of one of the former mayors of the city looking over the old walls.

Photographing Southampton
Passing through Bargate
Photographing Southampton
Looking over the City walls.

The next point of call was the remnants of the old town and the Tudor House and the church of St Michael the Archangel.  Another part of the old area of Southampton and although only small in area full of history.  There was a passageway that led down to the Pig in the Wall pub and other interesting artwork including the outlines of merchant ships Western Esplanade and memorials of the voyage of the Mayflower.  I was now back at Mayflower Park and saw another of the big ships was in with the Spirit of Adventure.

Photographing Southampton
A view of the Church of St Micheal the Archangel from Tudor House
Photographing Southampton
Pig in the Wall pub set in the old City walls.
Photographing Southampton
A view through the misty afternoon from Mayflower Park
Photographing Southampton
Watching the ships

Time to catch my train home and as I walked to the station, I passed derelict areas where planners of large shopping centres had not realised that a change of tastes and economy would make them quickly redundant.  Southampton is a city to visit but it does portray a history of a changing city.

Photographing Southampton
The demise of Toys R Us

Pictures were taken mainly with my Fujifilm x100v and Silver Efex was used for the black and white conversions.

If you enjoy the Photographing cities and countries series then here are a few links to get you started.
Photographing Royal Leamington Spa
Photographing Oxford
Photographing Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Finally there is always the Visit Southampton webpages to follow up any interest that I may have generated 🙂


Upton House March 2022

In my opinion, the National Trust membership is a bargain. You are able to visit and enjoy different properties, many of which have beautiful gardens to photograph. I am very fortunate to have several properties near to me including Packwood House, Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court. These have featured in my past blogs as the links show. One place where I have made a fleeting visit previously is Upton House and on that occasion the place was very busy with a Christmas Fayre.

Upton House March 2022
The front face of Upton House
Upton House March 2022
Spring is starting around the reflecting pool.
Upton House March 2022
View of the countryside around the gardens

The opportunity arose to visit on a weekday in March 2021 and so Sandy and I drove down to Upton House which is near to Banbury. The approach is quite dramatic as you negotiate Edge Hill which gives dramatic views of the Warwickshire countryside that borders Oxfordshire. Upton House is not far from the village of Edge Hill. The house and gardens of Upton House have a connection with Shell, with past Chairman, Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted owning the property in the 1930s. During this time he remodelled the house and gardens. The gardens take advantage of the dramatic layout of the land and the reflecting pool is a feature at the lower levels of the property.

Upton House March 2022
The spectacular long gallery
Upton House March 2022
The Interior of the Church of St Catherine, Utrecht” by Pieter Jansz Saenredam
Upton House March 2022
Beautiful detail in the porcelain figures.
L’Agréable Leçon (The Agreeable Lesson) by Joseph Willems

The House is a treasure trove of artwork and also holds a large collection of fine china. There is much to see and enjoy. Visiting this National Trust property is a feast for the photographer and I took many pictures especially favouring the reflecting pool. One of my pictures was featured on BBC South Lunchtime news. The National Trust website contains detailed information about the house and gardens and as a reader I direct you there for further information. I took many photographs and I have put several here for you to enjoy.

Upton House March 2022
A feature on BBC South of our day at Upton House

Further reading
Upton House on the National Trust Website
The National Trust Collections website with further details of the painting by Pieter Jansz Saenredam and the porcelain figures by Joseph Willems.