Southampton is the largest city in the ceremonial county ofHampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated 75 miles (121 km) south-west of London and 19 miles (31 km) north-west of 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 River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The local council is Southampton City Council, which is a unitary authority. The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, and the city itself has an estimated population of 253,651. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "So'ton" or "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.
Significant employers in Southampton include The University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, Southampton Airport, Ordnance Survey, BBC South, the NHS, ABP andCarnival UK. Southampton is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire and more generally in the World War II narrative as one of the departure points for D-Day, and more recently as the home port of a number of the largest cruise ships in the world. Southampton has a large retail park called West Quay which, although it employs just under 30 people, most of which are maintenance staff, has stores which collectively employ just under 800 people. In October 2014, the City Council approved a follow-up from the West Quay park, calledWatermark WestQuay, which aims to start building work in November 2014[needs update] and employ 650 people once the construction is scheduled to finish in 2016. Hammerson, the owners of the retail park, aim to have at least 1,550 people employed on its premises at year-end 2016.
Despite the oft-expressed naked antipathy between the cities, most notably from amongst their football supporters, Southampton is sometimes considered together with Portsmouth and surrounding towns to form a single metropolitan area known as South Hampshire. This combined area has also been known as Solent City, particularly in the media when discussing local governance organisational changes. With a population of over 1.5 million this makes the region one of the United Kingdom's most populous metropolitan areas.
Montage of Southampton. Clockwise from top-left: Bargate; Guilldhall; Top of west walls; Wool house and custom house; Southwestern house
The town was sacked in 1338 by French, Genoese and Monegasque ships (under Charles Grimaldi, who used the plunder to help found the principality of Monaco). On visiting Southampton in 1339, Edward IIIordered that walls be built to 'close the town'. The extensive rebuilding—part of the walls dates from 1175—culminated in the completion of the western walls in 1380. Roughly half of the walls, 13 of the original towers, and six gates survive.
The city walls include God's House Tower, built in 1417, the first purpose-built artillery fortification in England. Over the years it has been used as home to the city's gunner, the Town Gaol and even as storage for the Southampton Harbour Board. Until September 2011, it housed the Museum of Archaeology. The walls were completed in the 15th century, but later development of several new fortifications along Southampton Water and the Solent by Henry VIII meant that Southampton was no longer dependent upon its fortifications.
On the other hand, many of the medieval buildings once situated within the town walls are now in ruins or have disappeared altogether. From successive incarnations of the motte and bailey castle, only a section of the bailey wall remains today, lying just off Castle Way. The last remains of the Franciscan friary in Southampton, founded circa 1233 and dissolved in 1538, were swept away in the 1940s. The site is now occupied by Friary House.
Elsewhere, remnants of the medieval water supply system devised by the friars can still be seen today. Constructed in 1290, the system carried water from Conduit Head (remnants of which survive near Hill Lane, Shirley) some 1.7 kilometres to the site of the friary inside the town walls. The friars granted use of the water to the town in 1310 and passed on ownership of the water supply system itself in 1420. Further remains can be observed at Conduit House on Commercial Road.
Southampton has been used for military embarkation, including during 18th-century wars with the French,the Crimean war, and the Boer War. Southampton was designated No. 1 Military Embarkation port during the Great War and became a major centre for treating the returning wounded and POWs. It was also central to the preparations for the Invasion of Europe in 1944.
estuary, which is a ria formed at the end of the last Ice Age. Here, the rivers Test and Itchen converge. The Test—which has salt marsh that makes it ideal for salmon fishing—runs along the western edge of the city, while the Itchen splits Southampton in two—east and west. The city centre is located between the two rivers.
Town Quay is the original public quay, and dates from the 13th century. Today's Eastern Docks were created in the 1830s by land reclamation of the mud flats between the Itchen & Test estuaries. The Western Docks date from the 1930s when the Southern Railway Company commissioned a major land reclamation and dredging programme. Most of the material used for reclamation came from dredging of Southampton Water. to ensure that the port can continue to handle large ships.
Southampton Water has the benefit of a double high tide, with two high tide peaks, making the movement of large ships easier. This is not caused as popularly supposed by the presence of the Isle of Wight, but is a function of the shape and depth of the English Channel. In this area the general water flow is distorted by more local conditions reaching across to France.
The city lies in the Hampshire Basin, which sits atop chalk beds.
The River Test runs along the western border of the city, separating it from the New Forest. There are bridges over the Test from Southampton, including the road and rail bridges at Redbridge in the south and the M27 motorway to the north. The River Itchen runs through the middle of the city and is bridged in several places. The northernmost bridge, and the first to be built, is at Mansbridge, where the A27 road crosses the Itchen. The original bridge is closed to road traffic, but is still standing and open to pedestrians and cyclists. The river is bridged again at Swaythling, where Woodmill Bridge separates the tidal and non tidal sections of the river. Further south is Cobden Bridge which is notable as it was opened as a free bridge (it was originally named the Cobden Free Bridge), and was never a toll bridge. Downstream of the Cobden Bridge is the Northam Railway Bridge, then the Northam Road Bridge, which was the first major pre-stressed concrete bridge to be constructed in the United Kingdom. The southernmost, and newest, bridge on the Itchen is the Itchen Bridge, which is a toll bridge.
The city has a strong higher education sector. The University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University together have a student population of over 40,000.
The University of Southampton, which was founded in 1862 and received its Royal Charter as a university in 1952, has over 22,000 students. The university is ranked in the top 100 research universities in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2010. In 2010, the THES - QS World University Rankings positioned the University of Southampton in the top 80 universities in the world. The university considers itself one of the top 5 research universities in the UK The university has a global reputation for research into engineering sciences, oceanography, chemistry, cancer sciences, sound and vibration research, computer science and electronics, optoelectronics and textile conservation at the Textile Conservation Centre (which is due to close in October 2009.) It is also home to the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), the focus of Natural Environment Research Council-fundedmarine research.
Southampton Solent University has 17,000 students and its strengths are in the training, design, consultancy, research and other services undertaken for business and industry. It is also host to the Warsash Maritime Academy, which provides training and certification for the international shipping and off-shore oil industries.
In addition to school sixth forms at St Anne's and King Edward's there are two sixth form colleges: Itchen College and Richard Taunton Sixth Form College. A number of Southampton pupils will travel outside the city, for example to Barton Peveril College. Southampton City College is further education college serving the city. The college offers a range of vocational courses for school leavers, as well as ESOL programmes and Access courses for adult learners.
There are 79 state run schools in Southampton, comprising:
There are also independent schools, including The Gregg School, King Edward VI School and St Mary's College.
Over 40 per cent of school pupils in the city that responded to a survey claimed to have been the victim of bullying. More than 2,000 took part and said that verbal bullying was the most common form, although physical bullying was a close second for boys.
It has been revealed that Southampton has the worst behaved secondary schools within the UK. With suspension rates three times the national average, the suspension rate is approximately 1 in every 14 children, the highest in the country for physical or verbal assaults against staff.