Historical places in Hampshire
Hampshire is one of the few counties to have prospered after the Second World War, formerly being mainly an agricultural county, it is now seventh wealthiest county in the UK. Overspill of bombed-out Londoner’s and a much improved rail and road network has made Hampshire a very attractive place to live.
Bronze Age farmers lived at Quarley, and numerous Iron Age hill forts adorn the chalk uplands, both inland and on the coast. There were many Roman villas in the north-west of the county, in addition to the towns at Winchester (Venta Belgarum), Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum) and Southampton (Clausentum); they also had potteries in the New Forest and weaving works at Winchester.
One of the major landings of the West Saxons was in Hampshire when they invaded in the late 5th century, and Jutes (thought to have come from Jutland) also landed here at that time. Part of south Hampshire was conquered for a time by the Mercians in the second half of the 6th century before the Wessex kings recovered it. Winchester became the capital of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and later of England, until the Normans moved the administration to London. The area was subject to many raids by the Danes during the Saxon period, but was relatively peaceful in mediæval times. In consequence, few castles were built. The prosperity of the area was based on its rich agriculture, especially wool, and on the activities of the busy port at Southampton. With no coal or iron ore to be worked, the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries was over-shadowed here by the modernisation of agriculture.
Over several centuries a series of castles and forts were constructed along the coast of the Solent to defend the harbours at Southampton and Portsmouth. These include the Roman Porchester Castle which overlooks Portsmouth Harbour and a series of forts built by Henry VIII including Hurst Castle, situated on a sand spit at the mouth of the Solent, Calshot Castle on another spit at the mouth of Southampton Water, and Netley Castle. Southampton and Portsmouth remained important harbours when rivals, such as Poole and Bristol declined, as they are amongst the few locations that combine shelter with deep water. Southampton has been host to many famous ships, including the Mayflower and the Titanic, the latter being staffed largely by natives of Southampton.
|March 5th 2006, Southampton Airport.||Saturday 12th & 13th 1981, Calshot Spit.|
Hampshire played a large role in World War II due to its large Royal Navy harbour at Portsmouth, the army camp at Aldershot and the military Netley Hospital on Southampton Water, as well as its proximity to the army training ranges on Salisbury Plain and Isle of Purbeck. The Supermarine Spitfire was designed and developed in Southampton, evolving from the Schneider trophy winning seaplanes of the 1920s and 1930s. Heavy bombing of the factory in September 1940 destroyed it as well as homes in the vicinity, killing civilians and workers. World War II hit Southampton particularly hard because of its strategic importance as a major commercial port and industrial area. Prior to the Invasion of Europe, components for Mulberry Harbour were built here. After D-Day, Southampton docks handled military cargo to help keep the Allied forces supplied, making it a key target of Luftwaffe bombing raids until late 1944. Aldershot remains one of the British Army’s main permanent camps. Farnborough is a major centre for the Aviation industry.
|Far left Mutt Summers, centre R.J. Mitchell,
far right Jeffrey Quill. 1936
|Jeffrey Quill and Leonard Snaith 1981|
The Isle of Wight has traditionally been treated as part of Hampshire for some purposes, but has been administratively independent for over a century, obtaining a county council of its own in 1890. The Isle of Wight became a full ceremonial council in 1974. Apart from a shared police force there are now no formal administrative links between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, though many organisations still combine Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch also fall within the traditional county of Hampshire, but were ceded to Dorset in the local government reorganisation of 1974.
Hampshire is a popular holiday area, with tourist attractions including its many seaside resorts, the maritime area in Portsmouth, and the motor museum at Beaulieu. The New Forest National Park lies within the borders, as does a large area of the South Downs, which has now become a National Park. Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England’s largest ports, Portsmouth and Southampton, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdon Brunel. Hampshire is blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside and accessible coastline, offering a wide variety of sporting facilities and leisure activities. Whether you stay in a Country Pub, a Bed and Breakfast or a fine Town Hotel, the welcome is always warm, and you are never far away from something to do, rain or shine. Hampshire is a great place to take a short break, fantastic food and wine, great walks with Pubs at the end, Heritage in abundance and Theatres offering a wide range of entertainment.