In the 17th century Bernard Street was known as Pitts Lane (named after a vicar of Holy Rood Church who lived nearby) and stretched only from the High Street to the town walls. In the 18th century when the walls fell into decay a rope bridge was built over the town ditch immediately east of Pitts Lane, thus giving access to the old town from the eastern suburbs. Modern day Bernard Street dates from the early 19th century when Pitts Lane was extended eastwards and a stone bridge was built to replace the old rope bridge. The name Bernard Street originally only applied to the section east of the bridge, the west section being called Bridge Street. Bernard Street gets its name from the builders Thomas and Peter Bernard who settled in Southampton in 1800 and built the stone bridge and many other buildings in the area. Most of the street's original buildings have been demolished, but a number of interesting building survive: two terraces at the east end of the street, 113-121 (image 2) and 123-133 Bernard Street (image 3) and the former Globe Hotel on the corner of Orchard Lane all date from the 1830s; nos. 83 and 85 and the terrace of five three-storey houses at 87-95 - sometimes known as Latimer Gate - are all from the mid 19th century.

Benny Hill was born in the west section, known then as Bridge Street, in 1924.

1. Bernard Street, c.1850

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Philip Brannon’s view of Bernard Street looking west, c.1850.

2. 113-121 Bernard Street

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Photograph, c.2000

3. 123-133 Bernard Street

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Photograph, 1941

Businesses in Bernard Street included:

Further reading:

Southampton’s Historic Buildings, by R. J. Coles, p27-28. (HS/k)
Building of England: Hampshire and the I.O.W., by Nikolaus Pevsner and David Lloyd, p554-5. (H/i)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p70-71. (HS/h)


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