Southampton Street heads south from the Market Place. In 1399 it was simply called Suthstrete, South Street in 1464 and then from 1537 it was known variously as Hampton Street or Southampton Street. Nearly all the original buildings on the street have been demolished to make way for new housing developments and parts have been closed off to traffic. Outside the old town it becomes a footpath and continues down beside what is now Volunteer Way past the new health centre to what was once the very end of Butts Road (now Park Road). It then continues as an old disused tarmacked road blocked by the A420 bypass, on its way to Wicklesham Lodge Farm. There is then a dirt footpath continuing across the fields but it is doubtful if this is what remains of an ancient route though Berkshire into Hampshire and all the way to Southampton.
See Faringdon Streets for an indexed list of all streets in Faringdon.
A Tour of Southampton Street in 2000
A. The start of Southampton Street heading south off the Market Place between the Bell Hotel and what was then Barclay’s Bank. Once there was Pocock & Son’s tailor shop on the site of the bank. The Bell goes back a long way and has a courtyard and old barn at the rear. On the right behind the bank is Jackson & Browning (undertakers), previously the Electricity Generating Company.
B. Looking to the right at the public toilets and town car-park created in the 1960’s behind the bank. Once this site was Taylor’s (a cobbler) and old cottages were said to be there. Also a brewery yard with large stables for teams of horses and a long shed for the drays. In 1863 it was called the Vale of the White Horse Brewery and changed its name in 1876 to the Eagle Brewery. The buildings were all demolished in the 1940/50s
C. Just past the car-park, Portway branches off to the right and the new flats on Portway can just be seen behind the trees on the right. A map of 1910 shows cottages here all along the right hand side of Southampton Street. On the left, out of view, are private houses #1-3. They are shown in the second photograph at the same point looking up from Portway.
D. Just across Ferndale Street (previously Union Street). New private houses #6-12 on the left. On the right is the back garden wall of the new flats on The Lees estate built in the 1960s/70s. Note the grassed area in front of the photos, effectively cutting off the street – it can now only be accessed by foot from this direction. The house on the left can be seen at the top in the previous photograph. A map of 1910 shows cottages here along both sides of the street.
E. Bennett Road crossing. A new road, which now provides the only vehicle access to this part of the street. Private houses #23-25. The white gable-end wall up the street is #27 with the red door shown below.
The same house but looking back down the street across Bennett Road to the cut-off at Ferndale Street. The pink house at #1 Ferndale Street belonged to Raymond Hutt, who donated his verbose photographic tour in and around Faringdon to the society: Hutt Collection 1953
Private houses #27-35 on the left-hand side. Phillips, a grocery & sweets shop was one of these houses. Immediately opposite these houses on the right of the street, once orchard or fields in 1910, are now three tennis courts.
F. House #35 again on the left and the high fence of the tennis courts on the right. Access to Liddiard’s Row (built pre-1910) is a gated gap in the wall at the lamp post. On the opposite side, the turning to the right just past the tennis courts now provides pedestrian access to the new housing development of Willes Close, but was once the site of Faringdon Girls’ School and adjoining Infants School in the 1920-30s. The school became Faringdon Secondary (mixed) School in the 1930s, then Faringdon Secondary Modern School before that moved to its new site in Fernham Road. It reverted to a Junior School in 1964 but was demolished in 1986 to make way for Willes Close. The White Horse Dairy and Russell Spinage’s builders yard were also on the right of the street opposite the wall. See older photos later.
G. Arriving at footpath access to Harding Close on the left (part of the new Berner’s Way housing estate). Private houses #41-43 are just before the bend. Southampton Street continues straight on as just a wide tarmacked footpath. Turning around to look back at the same point shows part of the new housing development of Willes Close, where the schools used to be. There is an old footpath running along the wall to the left that once lead to Hobwell cottages, which were between the railway line and Station Road in the mid 1950s. The now neglected scrubland to the left of the path was once Hobwell allotments. The path now provides a useful walking route to Tesco’s and the industrial estates that replaced the railway. The garden fence for #43 (middle photo above) can be seen here on the right.
H. Moving on up the wide tarmacked footpath there is an access point to the end of Berner’s Way. The footpath then continues onwards to the new housing development on Volunteer Way, the new White Horse Medical Practice and Oriel Cottages on Park Road. Back in the 1970s before these estates were built, there were the ruins of a prison of war camp and a cricket field on the left-hand side and this was just a footpath across open fields to the site of the old bathing pool and Oriel Cottages where the end of Park Road met the old railway line.
See Faringdon Shops & Businesses for explanations and acknowledgements.
Views of Southampton Street in the 1900s
1953 Somewhere along Southampton Street, either before or after the crossing of Ferndale Street (previously Union Street). The rows of cottages were occupied by many old Faringdon families, for example Archer; Barnes; Timms; Long; Phillips; Haynes; Greenaway. All of this was demolished to make way for the Portway, The Lees and other housing developments. The last house on the left (also shown close up in the second photo) was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Long; Jane Long had a small sweet shop there. Next door was Cadel’s stable and cart house (note the feed loft). The building with the long, low roof was the monumental masons, carpenters and painters shed and was owned firstly by Cadel, then Mr. Reason and finally Russell Spinage.
Jane Long’s sweet shop was later taken over by Mrs Phillips. Her husband, Mr Phillips came to Faringdon in a strange way. Mr Porter, of the Corn Stores in Gloucester Street, was one of the first people in Faringdon to buy a car and, as he was frightened to drive it, he decided to go by train to London and ask the first taxi driver he met to become his chauffeur. This he did and Mr Phillips came to live in Faringdon. However, after marrying and becoming the father of three children, he died, so Mr Porter set up his widow in the sweet shop in order that she might earn a living. The last occupants were Mrs. Bayly and family.
Photo: c1913 On the left Nellie Philips with her elder sister, Margaret, and her brother who died young. Later Margaret married Robert Davis and Nellie married Montague Webb.
1953 Worlds End, Southampton Street. This is exactly the same spot photographed in 2000 at point F above, but looking back towards town. The long wall on the right is the boundary wall of Liddiards Row cottages and gardens. The house at the end of the wall is #35. The building on the left was occupied by the Lang and Arlott families, the latter being cook and caretaker for the school. The place was called ‘Worlds End Cottage’, possibly because it was the last building in the street that soon disappears as a track then a footpath across wide open fields. The White Horse Dairy is next on the left.
1986 Southampton Street School. Prior to 1925 the right hand side of the school was built for Infants and on the left a school for girls. The main hall was built to join the two sections when the Infants moved to Lechlade Road and it became Faringdon Secondary Modern School in 1937. The separate Domestic Science and Woodwork block is out of sight on the left. In 1964 it became the Junior School when the Junior children were moved from Lechlade Road. In 1986 the Junior school again moved, this time to the Elms site in Gloucester Street. The old building was then demolished and a small housing estate, Willes Close, built on the site.
Extracts from: The Changing Faces of Faringdon and Surrounding Villages – Bk1 p25-26 & Bk2 p17 & 26 . By Rosemary Church, Jim Brown, Millie Bryan and Beryl Newman. Robert Boyd Publications.
Researched by Ian Lee, December 2019.