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Exploring Southampton's Titanic Legacy: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Key Sites and Memorials

"Take her to sea, Mr Andrews..."

Best known for being the departure point for RMS Titanic's ill fated journey to New York, Southampton has a tragically personal link to the disaster - the vast majority of the ship's crew lived locally and they made up almost a third of the 1500 lives lost when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on April 15th 1912. It must have felt like every street in the city lost someone.


Today, over 100 years later, the city is still very much tied to the Titanic and there are several buildings and memorials related to the famous ocean liner. We've put together a self guided walking tour so you can find them all:


1. SeaCity Museum

Start your Southampton visit north of the Old Town at the excellent SeaCity Museum. Opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the Titanic sinking, it is home to the excellent Southampton's Titanic Story exhibition. Focusing on the people on board the Titanic rather than the building of the ship, the exhibition begins in a busy Southampton Street where you are introduced to several crew members whose stories you follow throughout the museum.


The next rooms include a number of artefacts from the ship including Captain Smith's sword, plate ware, breakfast menus and keys, and you'll learn about life onboard, from the pampered luxury of First Class to the back breaking work down below shovelling 850 tonnes of coal a day to keep the engines running. Young visitors and the young at heart can get hands on with interactive displays: try steering the ship down the Solent or have a go at shovelling coal.

The telling of the sinking is particularly moving, told through amazing recorded interviews by survivors, and the resulting parliamentary inquiry is told very effectively with audio visual screens on the walls of a real courtroom - the museum used to be the city magistrates courts.


SeaCity is open Monday to Sunday 10:00 -17:00 (last entry 15:30)

Tickets can be booked online - adults £10.50, children £8, seniors (65+) and students £9, under 5s free.


2. Three important memorials : the engineers, the musicians and Millvina Dean

Not far from the SeaCity Museum are three important memorials related to the Titanic. Start immediately outside at a dark grey finger post in a small grassy garden: the site is dedicated to Millvina Dean, the youngest passenger on the Titanic - she was a tiny baby, only 2 months old, when she and her family sailed from Southampton, planning on joining relatives in Kansas for a new life. While Millvina, her mother and brother were placed in a lifeboat, sadly her father was lost in the sinking. Tragically they were never meant to be on the Titanic at all, but their booking was transferred onto it after coal strikes disrupted ocean travel. Millvina was also the last living survivor from the Titanic, dying in 2009 at the age of 97.


Cross the road behind SeaCity Museum and head for East Park where you'll find the Engineer's Memorial close to the road in the park's top left corner. Erected in 1914, the stone memorial features a large bronze statue of Nike, goddess of victory and bronze reliefs of the Titanic's engineers, all 35 of whom lost their loves in the sinking, heroically pumping and keeping the ship’s power going until the last moment in order to give as much time as possible to fill the lifeboats.


At the far corner of the nearby crossroads on what is currently the Paris Smith LLP building, there is a small white plaque: the Musician's Memorial, dedicated to the Titanic's 8 musicians who famously carried on playing their instruments as the ship was sinking.


3. Holyrood Church

Moving on to the other side of town, walk for about 17 minutes down the main high street, under the medieval Bargate and on to Holyrood Church, another of Southampton's rare medieval structures. Badly damaged in the Blitz, the remaining shell is now a memorial to Southampton’s merchant seamen. Inside the church, beneath the tower is a fountain, erected in 1912–13 in memory of those who lost their lives in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The carved panels near the top depict the ship. You can also press buttons on a panel to hear audio clips of the same survivors' interviews played in the SeaCity Museum.


4. Entrance to White Star Line dock and Titanic Memorial plaque

Carry on down High Street to the port and follow the main road round to the left. Beside a large red-brick Victorian building is the gate to Dock Gate Four, leading to Berth 44 where Titanic sailed from. Although you can't go in (this is a working port with security gates), on the grass nearby is a memorial plaque dedicated to the Titanic's passengers and crew. Take a moment to consider the excited passengers walking through this entrance to join the ship.


5. South Western House

Continue walking along the length of the park opposite to the corner of Platform Road and Canute Road, where you’ll come to South Western House. This huge grand building was the hotel where many of the first class passengers stayed the night before the sailing, including the owner of the White Star Line and the ship's designer. You'll have seen one of its room keys on display at the SeaCity Museum!


6. Canute Chambers

About 2 minutes further along Canute Road, on the opposite side of the street by the bus stop, is Canute Chambers. Back in 1912, this was the Southampton office of the White Star Line, the main HQ being up in Liverpool. A black plaque on the wall outside explains how after news of the sinking broke, the pavement outside was crowded with relatives for days, desperate to see if their loved ones had survived.


7. Southampton Terminus railway station, Oxford Street and the Grapes

Retrace your steps to South Western House and turn up Terminus Terrace. On the right is a casino which was once Southampton Terminus rail station – the place where many passengers would have arrived in Southampton before boarding the Titanic. Cross the road and walk up Oxford Street: now mainly pubs, bars and restaurants, this street lost more people than any other when Titanic sank. In total, 29 out of the 38 crew members who gave Oxford Street as their address died.

About halfway up the street is the Grapes pub, possibly the most famous pub in Southampton thanks to its RMS Titanic connection: being so close to the docks, the Grapes was traditionally a favourite drinking hole of sailors. On the morning of April 10th 1912, three brothers Alfred, Tom and Bertram Slade who were all to be firemen on the Titanic, popped in for a drink before boarding. On their way back to the White Star Dock, the Slade brothers were delayed by a passing train (you'll have walked over the tracks on your way from South Western House to Canute Chambers) and by the time they reached the Titanic they were too late - the gang plank was up and the ship was about to depart. That train may well have saved their lives!


8. Holyrood Estate

One last stop as you head back into the centre of town: Follow Oxford Street all the way to where it joins onto Bernard Street. Over the road you will see the red and white panelled buildings of the Holyrood Estate, with a curious statue of a man wearing the Titanic on his head in front: the Titanic Stevedore. Stevedores were men who loaded cargo on and off of the ships - if you walk around the side of the block of flats (down Orchard Lane), you'll find a mural depicting another stevedore, his loading crane and the Titanic.


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