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The 16-storey extension to South Stoneham House

Swaythling (Southampton)

Swaythling shown within Southampton
Population 13,394 [1]
Unitary authority Southampton
Ceremonial county Hampshire
Region South East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district SO16
Dialling code 023
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South Central
European Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Southampton Itchen
List of places: UKEnglandHampshire

Coordinates: 50°56'16?N 1°22'28?W? / ?50.9377, -1.3744

Swaythling was once a village but over the years it has gradually become a suburb and electoral ward of Southampton in Hampshire, England. The ward has a population of 13,394.[1]

Today, Swaythling has a large student population thanks mainly to Wessex Lane Halls, one of the largest halls of residence in Europe[citation needed], and the proximity of the University of Southampton. It borders (clockwise from South) Portswood, Highfield, Bassett, Eastleigh, Mansbridge and Townhill Park.

Swaythling is home to Ford's Southampton Assembly Plant, which produces the Transit van.


[edit] History

Recorded as Swæthelinge in 909 AD,[2] the origins of the name Swaythling are uncertain. It is widely thought that the name originally referred to the stream that runs through the area, now known as Monks Brook;[2] the Old English word swætheling is believed to mean "misty stream".[2]

Swaythling originally formed part of the Parish of South Stoneham, which encompassed Eastleigh and almost all of the land between Swaythling and the Bargate, in Southampton City Centre. The parish church was St Mary's; the present building is one of Southampton's two medieval churches. It is accessible from Wessex Lane, down a short track between Connaught Hall and South Stoneham House (both now halls of residence serving the University of Southampton).

South Stoneham House was built in 1708, and is attributed to Nicholas Hawksmoor. The grounds were laid out after 1772 by Capability Brown.

Swaythling railway station is on the main line between London and Bournemouth, and was opened in 1883. Originally Swathling Station, the "y" was added in 1895 at the request of the squire, Sir Samuel Montagu, who became the first Baron Swaythling in 1907.

With the construction of the "Flower Roads" council estate, St Alban's church was erected in 1933, and the parish maps were redrawn. The parish of Swaythling came into being, with both St Alban's and St Mary's church buildings being used for worship. In 1931 Connaught Hall was built, to accompany South Stoneham House as a hall of residence for the University. The University acquired South Stoneham House in 1921 and subsequently added the tower block that now dominates the Wessex Lane area.

Much of the Swaythling landscape and its architecture was captured in the 1950s and 1960s by local artist Eric Meadus.

In 1958, the Ford Motor Company bought a 44-acre plot of land in Wide Lane on which to build the Southampton Assembly Plant, now the dominant industry in Swaythling. The plant started producing vehicles in 1961, and in 1985 underwent a £74 million investment programme, which resulted in one of the most modern vehicle manufacturing plants in Europe at the time. Three quarters of the welding is now carried out by computer controlled machines. The main product of the plant is the Transit Van, with more than half of the UK's Transits being manufactured in Swaythling.

The very first branch of the DIY chain B&Q was opened in Swaythling in 1969, near to where the current B&Q store in Swaythling currently stands.[3]

On the 24th August 1988, Swaythling was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the site of the largest street party in the world when the A335 Thomas Lewis Way, which allows traffic to bypass Swaythling and the neighbouring suburb of Portswood when travelling from the M27 to Southampton's city centre, was first opened. Around 3000 people were present at the event.

Herbert Collins houses in Ethelburt Avenue, Swaythling
Herbert Collins houses in Ethelburt Avenue, Swaythling

[edit] Swaythling today

Swaythling is now very much urbanised, with much of the area used for residential housing. High Road, which was the village's high street, has waned in popularity recently with several established businesses, such as Dunning's grocery store, having shut down. The popularity of the shopping area in neighbouring Portswood, out-of-town supermarket developments at Chandler's Ford and Hedge End, and the building of the Thomas Lewis Way bypass to the city centre are all possible causes of this demise. High Road today is dominated by take-away food outlets and a couple of newsagents. The Old Black Cat(The Hampton Park Hotel) pub was turned into a McDonald's restaurant in the late 1990s.

The stream that gave the area its name is largely hidden from view as it runs through Swaythling, although it can still be seen next to the Fleming Arms pub (now owned by Gales Brewery, the Fleming Arms used to be a Beefeater restaurant until a fire led to the sale of the property). The Shell petrol station serving Thomas Lewis Way stands on the site of a cinema that fronted onto High Road.

[edit] Demography

The ward has a population of 13,394, consisting of 6,835 males and 6,559 females.[1] 63.4 per cent of the population of Swaythling are Christian, 22.7 per cent have no religion, 2.6 per cent are Muslim and 1.3 per cent Buddhist.[1] 70.5 per cent of Swaythling's population are in good health, a figure which is above the averages for Southampton and England. A further 21.9 per cent are in fairly good health, while 7.56 per cent are classified as "not good".[1]

There are 4,727 households in Swaythling, of which 17.9 per cent are owner occupied and owned outright, 25.1 per cent are owner occupied with a mortgage or similar loan, 1.6 per cent are shared ownership, 18.4 per cent are rented from the Council, 13.8 per cent are rented from a housing association, 20.1 are rented from a private landlord or letting agency, and 3.1 per cent rented from elsewhere.[1]

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. , a b c d e f Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics - Area: Swaythling (Ward). Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved on 2007-12-10.
  2. , a b c Mills, A. D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280074-4.
  3. , B&Q Website - Company History
  • Brown, Jim. The Illustrated History of Southampton's Suburbs. Breedon. ISBN 1-85983-405-1.
  • Mann, John Edgar. The Book of The Stonehams. Halsgrove. ISBN 1-84114-213-1.
  • Meadus, Eric. Not a Day Wasted: An Eric Meadus Sketchbook, (Southampton: First Gallery, 1991) ISBN 0-9512947-2-5

[edit] See also

(Source: Wikipedia)
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