Station Name: SOUTHAMPTON ROYAL PIER

[Source: Dave Marden]

Date opened: 26.9.1871
Location: South side of Town Quay (A33) at the east end of Mayflower Park
Company on opening:

London & South Western Railway

Date closed to passengers: 1.10.1914
Date closed completely: 1921
Company on closing: London & South Western Railway
Present state: Although all trace of the station has gone the pier is still extant although much of it is in a poor and dilapidated condition after two fires.
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU417108
Date of visit: Not visited

Notes: The Victoria Pier (as then named) opened by Princess Victoria (just before she became Queen) in 1833 and with the opening of Southampton railway Station in 1840 passengers were conveyed to the pier steamers by horse drawn omnibus. The pier was used by steamers to the Channel Islands, Le Havre and the Isle of Wight.

A tramway from Southampton station (renamed Southampton Docks in 1858) to the Town Quay had been laid down by 1847, The tramway connected to the the LSWR main line via a wagon-turntable, so passenger carriages could not access it. In 1864 a floating pontoon and bridge were incorporated at the angle of pier neck and head. The tracks were extended to a new station on the pier in 1871 with a new direct connection at Southampton Docks station allowing trains to run through and on to the pier with between 5 and 7 trains a day. The construction of the station required the removal of the floating pontoon. The LSWR had leased the horse drawn tramway since 1851 and sought to run a steam service from the Docks station and, despite much opposition from vested interests, the service began in September 1876 with a speed limit of 5mph although the station didn't appear in public timetables until January 1891. In 1896 Southampton Docks was renamed Southampton Town (for Docks).


Royal Pier and station in 1888

Initially, the pier station consisted of just a single open wooden platform with a run round loop for the loco, but when the pier was substantially rebuilt and enlarged in 1892, a new station was constructed with two platforms, each complete with canopies opening on 2nd June 1892; a pier head pavilion was added in 1894.

Photographic evidence suggests that early services used both platforms but subsequently, only the westerly platform was used in operations. After the turn of the century passenger numbers began to decline, and the service was suspended from the autumn of 1913, although partially reinstated the following spring.


Royal Pier and station in 1918

The station and track had badly deteriorated by the outbreak of WWI and passenger services officially ceased on 1st October 1914 but some troop movements were carried out during the hostilities.

Southampton Town (for Docks) station was renamed Southampton Terminus in 1923

It seems that sometime after the war a ship had collided with the pier and damaged the already semi derelict infrastructure and track. The cost of restoration was considered too costly and most of the railway, including the station, was removed in the early 1920s but despite the loss of the railway the busy Red Funnel ferry routes continued to flourish. The pier pavilion was extended in 1922 and a new domed pier entrance building was added in 1930.

By 1979, the pier was becoming unsafe and was not economic to maintain and it closed in 1982. Plans to rejuvenate the pier were formulated and the Victorian entrance was restored, and re-opened as a pub/restaurant in 1986. Further regeneration was cut short in 1987 when a serious fire completely destroyed the pavilion and bandstand at the pier head. A subsequent fire in 1992 destroyed much of the pier neck and caused serious damage to the conservatory at the rear of the gatehouse.

Today the pier remains as a charred ruin although there have been numerous plans to restore it and in November 2007 a mixed-use development of housing, shops, bars and restaurants was proposed. So far the 1930 entrance building has been restored reopening as Kuti's Thai Restaurant but no other restoration work has started.

For more pictures of Southampton Road Pier see Simplon Postcards web site.

See also Southampton Terminus & Northam


Southampton Royal Pier station in 1880. As built the station had one open platform


Southampton Royal Pier station after 1892 when the second platform and shelters were provided.

Southampton Royal Pier and station before October 1903
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Southampton Royal Pier station before 1910
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Southampton Royal Pier station c.1910

Southampton Royal Pier in 2006
P
hoto by Ian Boyle from Simplon Postcards web site

Recent aerial view of the site of Southampton Royal Pier station which was located top centre.

1892

1892

c.1900

Early 20th century

Early 20th century

c.1910

Before June 1914

July 1947

Early 1960's

1906

August 2006

August 2007


Click on thumbnail to enlage

 

 

 

[Source: Dave Marden]



Last updated: Tuesday, 20-Apr-2010 16:10:21 BST
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