Hampshire Hogmanay. January 2018.


Helen Rose Outdoors Diary

We (a friend and I) were in Hampshire to bring in the New Year. Hampshire is a county on the south coast of England on the English Channel notable for housing the birthplaces of the Royal Navy British Army, and the Royal Air Force. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK’s armed services, it is known as the Senior Service. From the late 17th century until the mid-20th century, the United Kingdom was the greatest economic and Imperial Power in the world and this dominance was principally achieved through the strength of the Royal Navy. We visited Southampton to spend time with family and also visited Portsmouth.


Southampton is on the Solent part of the English Channel. It is the largest city in Hampshire, located 75 miles south-west of London and 19 miles from Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. It lies at the northernmost point of Southampton Water at the confluence of the Rivers Test and Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city walls include God’s House Tower built in 1417 – the first purpose-built artillery fortification in England.

Most of the city walls are still standing and inside them we visited Bugle Street which has a family connection. Running south from St. Michael’s Square to the Town Quay, Bugle Street, has also been known as Bull Street, is one of the oldest streets in the walled town. The name derives from the Latin Buculus, a young bull, and by transference also indicated its horn, or bugle, originally made from such a horn. The oldest house was built in the 16th century and altered in the 18th century had been known as Golden Dolphin Cottage.


Further up the street is the Tudor House Museum. The timber-framed building facing St Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th Century, with King John’s Palace, an adjacent Norman house accessible from Tudor House Garden, dating back a further 300 years. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we were there. There was a lot more to see with the Merchants’ House and the links to the Titanic. After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, the Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland before heading west to New York. On 14 April, four days into the crossing and about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, she hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time. One third of the people, including the musicians, who died when the ship sank were from Southampton. Hampshire has much maritime history given the location on the southern coast.


The visit to the Mary Rose in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard was fascinating; you could spend days at the exhibition and still not take in all of the history. Mary Rose is located in the Dockyard with other interesting Maritime Vessels including the HMS Victory. HMS Victory is best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar. The Victory currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy. The Battle of Trafalgar was fought in the Napoleonic Wars with Admiral Nelson in command against the French and Spanish.

Mary Rose

The highlight for us was the visit to the Mary Rose. The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510 and in service for 34 years. She sank in 1545 and was discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982 and now in the final stages of conservation, she takes her place in a stunning and unique museum. There are various theories on why she sank and one is that she was overloaded with heavy cannons and was turning at the time. When Henry VIII became king in 1509 he only had a handful of warships at his disposal – usually, in times of war, merchant vessels would be loaded with guns and used. However, with threats both from the Scots to the north and the French to the south, Henry knew he needed a standing navy, available at a moment’s notice. Thus, he got to work building his ‘Army by Sea’, starting with two carracks, the Peter Pomegranate and her larger sister ship, the Mary Rose. The Mary Rose was likely named after the Virgin Mary, who was also known at the time as “The Mystic Rose”


Only the half of the ship buried in the mud which preserved it was recovered and has been reconstructed indoors. It is viewed from three gallery levels and the artefacts on display explain life on board the ship and the different crew members. Over 19,000 artefacts were recovered and many are used in displays. There is a lot of information and there is plenty of interactive activity to entertain and educate children. A great day out and a valuable piece of history.


We spent Hogmanay in Southampton and at midnight opened the front door to let the old year out and the new one in. There were lots of fireworks going on and we were invited a few doors down to the Romanian’s house where we toasted in the New Year with țuică. It is prepared from early October until early December (after winemaking is complete) from plums. The process must generally be finished before Christmas, so as not to leave unfinished business for the next year.

Contact me at helenrose52@hotmail.com

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This section: Helen Rose Hillwalking Diary

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