The Pier and Harbour Board (usually abbreviated to the Harbour Board) was the successor to the Pier and Harbour Commission, established by an Act of Parliament in 1803 to administer the docks, quays and piers on the Southampton waterfront. By this Act, the quays, the Platform and the administration of the port were placed under the auspices of a commission consisting of the mayor, the recorder, members of the common council and ten other commissioners. It was this body that oversaw the construction and development of the docks in the 19th and early 20th centuries, although it was a private company that built and operated the docks.

The board was also responsible for the building of the Royal Victoria Pier in 1837, and its rebuilding in the 1890s. In 1925 the Harbour Board offices, which had previously been situated on Town Quay between the end of the High Street and God’s House Gate, were moved to a new purpose-built building on the opposite side of Town Quay. The impressive new building was in an Edwardian Baroque style with a distinctive dome and clock faces surmounted by a weather vane. The Harbour Board was abolished in 1968, but the building survives and is now (2015) a casino. It is Grade II listed.

Harbour Board Offices

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A modern photograph, c.2010

Harbour Board Offices

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The new Harbour Board offices soon after construction in 1925.

See also:

Further reading:

Harbour Board Minutes 1896-1968 (HS/pb)
History of Southampton Vol 1, by A. Temple Patterson. (HS/h)
History of Southampton Vol 2, by A. Temple Patterson. (HS/h)
150 Years of Southampton Docks, by Bert Moody. (HS/pb)
The Story of Southampton Docks, by Mike Roussel. (HS/pb)


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