In the medieval town, the Town Quay was the town's southernmost quay, situated opposite the Water Gate. There is evidence that Porters' Lane and Winkle Street constituted arrays of private quays in the later 12th century so it is probable that the Town Quay only developed after the construction of the south town wall in the mid 14th century. It grew in stages until the 19th century by which time it comprised a pier-like promontory opposite the end of the High Street and extended to God’s House Tower to the east and the pier and yacht club to the west. At this time it came under the auspices of the Harbour Commissioners and was the focus for smaller coastal shipping and cross-channel cargo traffic. The new Harbour Board offices were built here in 1925. Coastal trade declined in the mid 20th century with the advent of motor transport and the Town Quay was closed to cargo shipping. Redevelopment for office and leisure use began in the 1980s, but Red Funnel and Hythe Ferries still run passenger services from the quay.

Town Quay

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Photograph, c.2005

Town Quay

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Philip Brannon's view of Town Quay, c.1850

Further reading:

Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p75. (HS/h)
A Pictorial Peep into the Past, By Arthur L. Smith, p12-13. (HS/d)
Southampton Reflections, by Jim Barnes, p45. (HS/h)


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