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Southampton Matters

The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, with a population of 228,600. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "So'ton" or "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.

Southampton is noted for being the home of the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire and more recently a number of the largest cruise liners in the world.

Subdivisions of the city include:

Bassett, Bassett Green, Bevois Valley, Bitterne, Bitterne Park, Bitterne Manor
City Centre, Chartwell Green, Chilworth, Coxford Freemantle Harefield, Highfield
Lordshill, Lordswood Mansbridge, Maybush, Midanbury, Millbrook Northam, Nursling, New Town, Ocean Village, Old Town Polygon, Portswood Redbridge, Rownhams Shirley, Sholing, St Denys, St. Mary's, Swaythling Thornhill, Townhill Park Weston, Woolston

Transport, Areas and suburbs

The Ocean Village marinaAs befits Southampton's role as a major port, the city has good transport links with the rest of the country. The M27 motorway, linking places along the south coast of England, runs just to the north of the city. The M3 motorway links the city to London and also, by linking to the A34 road at Winchester with the Midlands and North. The M271 motorway is a spur of the M27, linking it with the Western Docks and city centre.

Southampton is also well served by the rail network, which is used by both freight services to and from the docks and passenger services as part of the national rail system. The main station in the city is Southampton Central. Rail routes run east towards Portsmouth, north to Winchester, the Midlands and London, and westwards to Salisbury, Bristol and Bournemouth.

Local train services operate in the central, Southern and Eastern sections of the city, with stations at Swaythling, St Denys, Millbrook, Redbridge, Bitterne, Sholing and Woolston.

Southampton Coach Station, which is located near the West Quay Shopping Centre, was refurbished recently and the range and frequency of services offered by National Express services make use of the new facilities.

Southampton Airport Control TowerSouthampton Airport is a regional airport located in the town of Eastleigh, just north of Southampton. It hosts flights to UK and near European destinations, and is connected to the city by a frequent rail service from Southampton Airport (Parkway) railway station, and a number of bus services.

Whilst Southampton is no longer the base for any cross-channel ferries, it is the terminus for three internal ferry services, all of which operate from terminals at Town Quay. Two of these, a car ferry service and a fast catamaran passenger ferry service, provide links to East Cowes and Cowes respectively on the Isle of Wight and are operated by Red Funnel. The third ferry is the Hythe Ferry, providing a passenger service to the town of Hythe on the other side of Southampton Water.

Buses make up the majority of local public transport, with significant peak hour congestion in the city. The main bus operators are First Southampton, Uni-link and Solent Blue Line who operate the bluestar services. Other operators include Brijan Tours, Stagecoach and Wilts and Dorset. Free buses are provided by City-link and City Loop. City-link runs from town quay to Southampton Central Station and is operated by Uni-link. The Uni-link bus service was commissioned by the University of Southampton to provide access to students who are studying at the university to all parts of the city. The buses run from early in the morning to midnight meeting demands of students who wish to get to the city during the day and leisure places in the evening. There is also a door to door minibus service called Southampton Dial a Ride, for residents who cannot access public transport. This is funded by the council and operated by SCA Support Services.

There are two main termini for bus services. As the biggest operator, First uses stops around Pound Tree Road, and occupy a lot of space there. This leaves the other terminal of West Quay available for other operators. Uni-link passes West Quay in both directions, and Wilts and Dorset drop passengers off and pick them up there, terminating at a series of bus stands along the road. Certain Solent Blue Line services also do this, while others stop at Bargate and some loop round West Quay, stopping between Bargate and Pound tree Road.

Southampton used to be home to a number of ferry services to the continent, with destinations such as San Sebastian, Lisbon, Tangier and Casablanca. A ferry port was built during the 1960s. However a number of these relocated to Portsmouth and by 1996, there were no longer any car ferries operating from Southampton with the exception of services to the Isle of Wight. The land used for Southampton Ferry Port was sold off and a retail and housing development was built on the site. The Princess Alexandra Dock was converted into a non-tidal Marina. Now new car reception areas now fill the Eastern Docks where passengers, dry docks and trains used to be.

Areas and suburbs

Southampton is named the 'Green City' as it is graced with many green spaces and parks. The largest green space is the 148 hectare Southampton Common, parts of which are used to host the annual summer festivals, circuses and fun fairs. The Common includes a wildlife centre on the former site of Southampton Zoo, a swimming pool and several lakes and ponds.

As with most cities there are several council estates such as those in the Weston, Thornhill and Townhill Park districts. Overall, the city is ranked 96th most deprived out of all 354 Local Authorities in England.


The city has a strong higher education sector. The University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University together have a student population of almost 40,000.

The University of Southampton - which was founded in 1862 - is one of the top 10 research-led universities in the UK, and caters for 20,000 students. It is also considered to be one of the top 200 (141th) universities in the world. It also provides a wide range of services for the business community. The university has a global reputation for leading-edge research into oceanography, cancer sciences, sound and vibration research, computer science and electronics, optoelectronics and textile conservation. It is also home to the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, the focus of Natural Environment Research Council-funded marine research.

Southampton Solent University has 17,000students and its strengths are in the training, consultancy, research and other services undertaken for business and industry.

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.

Culture, Media & Sport and Crime

Tudor House, SouthamptonThe city is home to the second longest medieval walls in England that are still standing, as well as a number of museums such as Tudor House, The Maritime Museum and Solent Sky, which focuses on aviation. The annual Southampton Boat Show is held in September each year, with over 600 exhibitors present. It runs for just over a week at Mayflower Park on the city's waterfront, where it has been held since 1968. The Boat Show itself is the climax of Sea City, which runs from April to September each year to celebrate Southampton's links with the sea. Southampton has a vibrant nightlife, and has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK for single people aged 18 to 30, owing to its low cost of living, wide array of bars and club and cheap transport. Women voted it second best behind London, while men rated it as seventh. Music is an important aspect of the city and there are several music venues. The city is home to R'n'B soulstar Craig David, Coldplay drummer Will Champion, and was the birthplace of comedian Benny Hill.

The Mayflower TheatreThe main theatre in the city is the 2,300 capacity Mayflower Theatre, which hosts a number of West End shows, such as Les Miserables, The Rocky Horror Show and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The city is home to several art galleries, including the council run gallery at the Civic Centre.


Local media include the Southern Daily Echo newspaper based in Redbridge and BBC South, which has its regional headquarters in the city centre. From there the BBC broadcasts South Today, the local television news bulletin and BBC Radio Solent. The local ITV franchise is Meridian, which has its headquarters in Whiteley, around nine miles (14 km) from the city. Until recently, the station's studios were located in the Northam area of the city. Commercial radio stations include Radio Hampshire - which until 2007 was run by Southampton F.C. and known as The Saint - Power FM, Ocean FM and Original 106.


St. Mary's StadiumSouthampton is home to Southampton Football Club - nicknamed "The Saints" - who play in the Football League Championship at St Mary's Stadium. At grass roots level, the two local Sunday Leagues in the Southampton area are the City of Southampton Sunday Football League and the Southampton and District Sunday Football League. Hampshire County Cricket Club play close to the city, at the Rose Bowl in West End, after previously playing at the County Cricket Ground, near to the city centre.

The city is famous for yachting and water sports, with a number of marinas dotted around. From 1977 to 2001 the Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race, which is now known as the Volvo Ocean Race was based in Southampton.

The city also boasts the Southampton Sports Centre which is the focal point for the public's sporting and outdoor activities and includes an Alpine Centre, theme park and athletics centre which is used by professional athletes.

Southampton was named "fittest city in the UK" in 2006 by Men's Fitness magazine. The results were based on the incidence of heart disease, the amount of junk food and alcohol consumed, and the level of gym membership. In 2007, it had slipped one place behind London, but was still ranked first when it came to the parks and green spaces available for exercise and the amount of television watched by Sotonians was the lowest in the country. Speedway racing took place at Bannister Court Stadium in the pre-war era. It returned the 1940s after WW2 and the Saints operated until the stadium closed down at the end of 1963. A training track operated in the 1950s in the Hamble area. Southampton is also home to one of the most successful College American Football teams in the U.K the Southampton Stags, a joint team between Southampton Solent and Southampton University, that boasts 3 college bowl wins and access to some of the best facilities in the sport at the Wide Lane Sports Facility.

Notable people

See also: Category:People from Southampton
There have been a number of notable people who either hail from Southampton or who have lived in the city over the years. In the sphere of music, the city is the home of Coldplay drummer, Will Champion, whose father and late mother taught at the university. R&B singer Craig David was brought up on the Holy Rood estate in the city centre, and BBC Radio One DJ Scott Mills comes from the city too. In the past, the city was home to Isaac Watts, a famous hymn writer, who notably composed O God Our Help In Ages Past which is the school hymn of the King Edward VI school in the city and the peal of the Civic Centre clock tower. In other arts, Sir John Everett Millais, who now has a museum named after him in the city came from Southampton as did Benny Hill, the internationally renowned comedian, who had a milk round in nearby Eastleigh - the inspiration for his song Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West). SKY, & International Radio Presenter Andy Collins and naturalist TV presenter Chris Packham are natives too.

Admiral John Jellicoe, commander of the British fleet at the Battle of Jutland was a Sotonian and Argentinian dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas spent his last years in exile in the city.

Former England and Southampton F.C. footballer Matthew Le Tissier lives in the city, as he has done since the mid 1980s, and Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas lives there as did former tennis player Wally Masur.


According to government figures Southampton has a higher crime rate than the national average. In the Violence against the person category, the national average is 16.7 per 1000 population while Southampton is 38.4 per 1000 population and in the Theft from a vehicle category, the national average is 7.6 per 1000 compared to Southampton's 17.4 per 1000. Overall, for every 1,000 people in the city, 102 crimes are recorded, meaning that around 10 per cent of the population have been victims of crime in the last 12 months.

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