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15 December 2017


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A history of Bitterne Park PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 November 2005 19:34
Read part one of Jason A. Jenkins' history of Bitterne Park.

Bitterne Park — A Liberal History

Part One

They say that those who do not learn from history, are destined to repeat it.  I believe that this is the case, but I would add that those who do not know history are not likely to learn from it.

We all have an interest in history in some way, even though we may not realise it.  This could range from an interest in learning about famous people or from learning about what created the world in which we live in today.  In this short history, I will not be looking at either but, instead, will be looking at our small part of the world and seeing how it became what we know today.

The residential development of Bitterne Park began in the late 19th century, being promoted by the National Liberal Land Company, whose plaque can still be seen on either end of Cobden bridge.  They bought a section of land in 1882 for Ł26,415, the size of which was 317 acres, 1 rood and 17 perches and laid west of Middenbury Lane, as it was spelt at that time.  It extended on from Bitterne railway station and almost to Woodmill.

As Lords of the Manor, the Bishops of Winchester owned Bitterne Manor Farm; this was then transferred, in 1869, to the Ecclesisatical commissioners who owned it until 1878.

After its purchase, four years later, the Land Company instantly spent Ł11,500 on an iron bridge to connect the estate to St Denys.  This became known as the Cobden Free Bridge and was opened officially on June 27th 1883 by Professor J.E. Thorold Rogers MP, chairman of the Land Company.  It was then handed over to the mayor for the free use of the inhabitants forever.  Since that time, the bridge has gone through two major changes, being reconstructed between 1926-1928 and renovated in 1979/80.

The reason for its name was the toll bridge in operation until 1929 on Northam Bridge: the owners of this bridge opposed the free bridge as it affected their revenue, but were later to drop this complaint.

Jason A Jenkins

• come back soon to read the next part of our history…



0 #1 byterne 2006-02-12 17:08
Very nice introduction to the subject. For more detailed information read the chapter on Bitterne Park in "The Illustrated History of Southampton's Suburbs" by Jim Brown - and on Cobden Bridge, read "Bridging the Itchen" by the same author. Both books are available from Bitterne Local History Society's shop in Peartree Avenue.
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+1 #2 newtonite 2006-03-29 21:02
I would like to know more about any pre-history of the Bitterne Park area.
Is there any records of finds kept anywhere?
Local historians seem to only have more recent (albeit still interesting) history totell us about.
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+1 #3 pauli123 2006-10-01 19:37
Does anybody know what used to be on the land at the bottom of Cobbett Road before it bacame housing? I have heard rumours it was a graveyard and a sespit at some points in the past but have found no evidence on what it used to be. If anyone knows where I can find out this info I will be most grateful. Thanks! Paul (Resident of Cobbett Road) :D
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+1 #4 AnnMacGillivray 2008-09-20 17:07
The land at the bottom of Cobbett road behind and to the side of the library was once a very large detached Victorian House and garden.
The garden was very big.
I always remember wanting to play there.
A large wooden Wendy house stood in the garden and in the far corner on the opposite side to the library was a fenced off corner with a stable and small paddock.
The children who lived there had a small dark bay pony.
The pony was very bored on its own and used to stand looking over the wooden fence at the main Bitterne road.
I often wanted to go and say hello to it but I was much too scared to ask the people who owned the house, so I used to click at the pony from the pavement, its ears would prick up and it would whinney back to me.
Then one day the pony was gone and the wendy house and then the Big Victorian house was demolished.
Economics I suppose but a sad day.
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+1 #5 Mrsthampshire 2013-05-03 18:19
Does anybody know the name of the garage that used to be next to the Bitterne Park Hotel? What was it called in the 1970's and 80's?
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+1 #6 Tinkle 2014-03-14 15:14
Does anybody remember the team that was very successful in the late 1950's. It was sponsored by the fireplace manufacturer E. L Summers whose son played for the team. Other players were Norman Flight, Spacagna, Laurie ?, and also a young Terry Paine and John Sydenham. I believe the team was so good that they even won the National Sunday league Cup on Hackney Marshes.
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