The traditional boat ferry ran from the east end of the bulwarks, i.e. the north-east end of Crosshouse Road in Chapel, to the former ‘Royal Oak’ hard at the end of Sea Road in Itchen Ferry village. Ferry boats have been operating across the Itchen probably since medieval times - before the construction of Northam Bridge in 1799, they were the only means of crossing the river south of Mansbridge. The Cross House which provided shelter for travellers on the Southampton side of the river was first mentioned in 1577, but it was probably of medieval origin. The ferry boats were superseded by the Floating bridge, which began operating in 1836.
The modern Itchen Ferry boat is a type of small yacht that was developed from the original ferry boats.
Itchen Ferry Village
Itchen Ferry Village grew up around the ferry crossing point on the east side of the river. It was traditionally a small tight-knit community with most families involved with the ferry or fishing trades. In the late 19th and 20th centuries village families provided crews and some captains for all classes of yachts, particularly the ‘J’ class racing yachts. Itchen Ferry mariners were known as 'Algerines' but it is not clear why.
Itchen Ferry Village, by R G King. (HS/h.ITC)
We only wore shoes on Sunday: Oral Testimonies from Itchen Ferry, Southampton, by Dr Cheryl Butler. (HS/h)
‘Itchen Ferry Village’, by Lillian King in Southampton Local History Forum Journal, no. 6, Spring 1997, p10-11. (HS/h)
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