Sotonians include Jane Austen, who lived in what is now Old Town, and it is rumoured that Southampton Water is the site where King Canute tried to hold back the tides.
Our city has an important aviation and maritime heritage. Henry V marched his troops through the Westgate (still standing) to sail for France and the battle of Agincourt. The Mayflower sailed from Southampton taking settlers to the New World of America. The Titanic embarked from Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, taking over five hundred Southampton residents who would never return. Southampton was home of some of the first flying boats, and it is thought that the term ‘air port’ was first used in reference to Southampton in this role. Local resident RJ Mitchell designed the Spitfire and it had its maiden flight from what is now Southampton airport. Local people kept production of this vital plane going throughout the war. The port also served as a critical base for American soldiers amassing in secret for the D Day landings.
Old Town today still contains a wealth of historical attractions – the Bargate, the medieval walls and Tudor House are some of the many sites worth visiting. You can find out more from links in the left hand panel.