the online A-Z of Southampton's history.

Southampton was ready to welcome home the Queen Mary on Saturday 11 August 1945. "No elaborate arrangements have been made for her arrival, but the occasion will not pass unnoticed" (Southern Daily Echo 10 August 1945)

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The Queen Mary being received back in port, all her colours flying. Tugs are at her side. On a jetty a large throng of people have gathered to watch her arrive, a small boat is unrecognisable, covered as she is with spectators.

11 August 1945 The Ocean Dock was decorated with bunting, the Mayor Councillor J C Dyas, as Admiral of the Port, had interrupted his holiday in Weymouth, and thousands crowded every vantage point, and the Queen Mary came into Ocean Dock to the sound of the Southampton Police Band.

Aboard the liner, at the end of a normal operational voyage as a troopship, were nearly 1,000 Services and civilian passengers from New York, including 5 Arabian Princes, 70 Distressed British Seamen and Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.

The first boat trains for nearly six years would be leaving at 5 and 7.30 pm.

The Queen Mary would still be in port for VJ day, 15 August 1945. For more about her arrival, see the unfolding story of Southampton's VJ day celebrations.

Visit Southampton has information about this year's VJ day events. All the ships in port are being asked to sound their whistles at midday on Saturday 15 August.

Good news: the Local Studies and Maritime Library is now making appointments for controlled access to their materials. You will need to book at least a week in advance: the first sessions are available from Tuesday 4 August on Tuesdays and Fridays only, 10-12 and 2-4.

Email ku.vog.notpmahtuos|seiduts.lacol#ku.vog.notpmahtuos|seiduts.lacol for more information.

Please note: You will only be able to consult pre-booked items: you will not be able to browse or ask for additional material on the day.

We will be keeping each other safe with social distancing, masks and perspex screens.

We continue to be able to answer your enquiries by email ku.vog.notpmahtuos|seiduts.lacol#ku.vog.notpmahtuos|seiduts.lacol or phone 023 8083 3007 (option 3) and ask for Local Studies.

This webpage will be continually updated to reflect changes in service availability and opening hours.


Dock Gates: details of the 1968 renumbering in the Eastern Docks.

Newtown Wesleyan Chapel, Alfred Street: a gift with strings attached

VE day celebrations: a new photograph showing Library staff on VE Day.

George Walters Bleckley, John Mansell, and Richard Wake: three local tradesmen who spoke up for themselves.


Follow Southampton Cultural Services on Facebook at Southampton Stories

Look out for #ThrowbackThursday and #Maritime Monday on Southampton City Libraries Facebook page.

Links to local history societies and other resources.

News and Events

Please note: due to Covid-19, events and activities may have been cancelled or postponed.

Bitterne Local History Society

City of Southampton Society

Millbrook Local History Society

West End Local History Society

Nursling and Rownhams History Group

The Southampton branch of the Hampshire Genealogical Society Family History Group

Getting Started

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Sotonopedia last updated 11 August 2020

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