THE lovely situation of Southampton, the elegance of its buildings, the amenity of its environs, and the various other attractions which it possesses, in a very high degree, will always render it a place of fashionable residence, as well as of frequent resort. As a sea-bathing place, indeed, it has less reputation than some others that are described in this work. It has no machines, nor is its beach favorable for immersion; the marine is, also, deeply mixed with the fresh water; but, if the opinion of those is correct, who maintain, that water acts only by the shock and ablution, and that one cold or one warm bath is the same as another, Southampton, notwithstanding the disadvantages we have mentioned, is as eligible as any other station on the coast, and, in many respects, it is superior. The air is soft and mild, and sufficiently impregnated with saline particles to render it agreeable, and even salutary, to those who cannot endure a full exposure to the sea, on a bleak and open shore.


EQUALLY adapted for health, pleasure, and commerce, Southampton, distant about seventy-seven miles from London, is bounded on the east by the river Itchin which flows past the ancient city of Winchester, and on the west by the Tese or Anton, which rises near Whitchurch. It occupies a kind of peninsula, the soil of which is a hard gravel ; and, as the buildings rise from the water with a gentle ascent, the streets are always clean and dry. The approach from the London road is uncommonly striking and grand; in fact, it is almost unparallelled in the beauty of its features, for the space of two miles. At first appear an expanse of water, and the distant Isle of Wight, the charming scenery of the New Forest, and Southampton itself, in pleasing perspective. Elegant seats and rows of trees, nearer the town, line the road on both sides ; and, on entering the place, by one of its most fashionable streets, that venerable remain of antiquity the Bargate, gives a finish to the scene, and fixes the impression of the objects through which we have passed.


SOUTHAMPTON now exhibits a very different appearance from what it must have done in the time of Leland. The High-street, however, still continues to maintain the pre-eminence which he assigned it, but the ” timber buildings’ have disappeared, and stone has chiefly been substituted. In its width, bend, and beauty, it greatly resembles the High-street of Oxford; but is superior to it for its commencement with the Bar, and its termination with the quay.

In this street are shops, which might vie with any in London, and here apartments are frequently let to summer visitants, which are equally pleasant and commodious. Conduits, disposed at proper distances, supply it with excellent water, which is brought, from a considerable distance, by pipes; and, except in the eastern part of the town towards St. Mary’s, the streets are well paved and lighted, and regularly patrolled by watchmen.

Many new and elegant piles of building have arisen within the last few years. Albion_place, Moira-place, Brunswick-place, and various other assemblages, do honor to the taste and opulence of their projectors and proprietors. The population has increased in a similar degree, and by the last enumeration it amounts to nearly 8000 souls.


FROM the neglect of the harbour, which there is a prospect of having remedied and improved, the trade of Southampton has much declined. Its chief intercourse is with Portugal for wine and fruit, and with she islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark. Several sloops are continually passing and repassing between those islands and Southampton, which, exclusive of goods, carry away annually a limited quantity of unwrought wool, which, by act of parliament, must be sent from, or relanded and duty paid at this port. In return they import large quantities of coarse worsted hose.

There is, likewise, during times of peace, a frequent communication between Southampton and Harre de Grace. The merchants have also a few vessels engaged in the Baltic trade; and a coal ship or two is generally seen unloading at the quay.

The wine and timber merchants of Southampton are pretty numerous and respectable. A carpet and silk manufactory are both established here; and, as South Stoneham, a few miles distant, are mills for manufacturing blocks and pumps for the navy, the invention of the ingenious Mr. Walter Taylor, who has an exclusive patent for their fabrication.

To facilitate the communication between Southampton and Salisbury, an act of parliament was obtained for cutting a navigable canal from the platform at Southampton, to join the Andover navigation at Redbridge; and, likewise, a cut from Northam to Houndwell, adjoining Southampton, to connect with the Winchester navigation.

Nothing can appear more ridiculous than these canals, or can be more unsightly, in the beautiful environs and suburbs of Southampton. Where nature has furnished the place with two navigable rivers, fit for ships of very considerable burden, to make a paltry canal to run by their sides, in order to early barges, was a kind of Hiburnian policy, which the corporation alone can explain. The Present Poet Laureat’s Epigram onthis subject, will not soon be forgotten.

We mention, however, a real improvement of another kind. A bridge has been thrown over the Itchin at Northam, and another ever the Burlesdon river, by which the road to Portsmouth has been shortened several miles, and the necessity of ferrying across, in a great measure obviated.


ALL former charters granted to Southampton were confirmed by Charles 1. The corporation consists of a mayor, a recorder, a sheriff, and two bailiffs, and only those who have served one of those offices are common-council melt. The burgesses, however, are unlimited, and in consequence of their election have a vote for a mayor and members of parliament. Among the burgesses are commonly some of the royal family. At present his Majesty, and his brother, the Duke of Gloucester, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, she Dukes of York and Cumberland, honor the list. All who have passed the chair are aldermen, and there are eleven justices of the peace, namely, the mayor for the time being, the Bishop of Winchester, the recorder, the last mayor, the five senior aldermen, and two senior burgesses. Other inferior officers are, the town clerk, four serjeants at mace, a town crier, &c.

In the mayor’s court small debts are recovered. In the Guild-hall, where the quarter sessions are held, all causes are tried and, except for capital crimes, offenders of every description are here arraigned and heard.

King John made Southampton a county in itself. The mayor is admiral of the liberties from South-sea castle to Hurst-castle, and half seas-over from Calshot-castle to the Isle of Wight. There are nearly 600 voters for members of parliament for this place.

Two annual fairs are held here. Trinity fair commences on Saturday morning, in Whitsun week, and continues till Wednesday noon, in Trinity week, with several singular ceremonies and observances. St. Mark’s fair is held on the 6th and 7th of May.

There are three weekly market days, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, when meat, fish, butter, vegetables, and other kinds of provisions, are plentifully produced. Whiting and mackarel are caught in the river, and various species of fish, such as cod, sole, mullet, plaice, flounders, may be purchased here, frequently on reasonable terms.

The market-house is a large modern fabric: over it is the council-chamber of the corporation, a very elegant apartment.


THE Theatre, which was built by subscription in 1766, is commodious, and capable of admitting a large audience. It is under the management of Messrs. Collins and Davies, who exert themselves to give satisfaction, and have a full attendance during the season.

They usually open their campaign in the beginning of August, and perform every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, till the end of October, after which they take a regular circuit to Portsmouth, Chichester, and Winchester.


IN every part of Southampton, Lodgings may be hired, from a whole house to a single apartment. burin- the season, which commences in July and ends with October, the terms are often high but, since other sea-bathing places have started up in every direction on our coasts, as the influx of company must be less at each, the expences are more nearly equalized.

For those who prefer Boarding-houses, here are sufficient opportunities for indulging their taste. The accommodations are good, and she society pleasant and select. Of this description are Harland’s and Hannam’s, in High-street ; Jones’s, Whitways, and Ibbetson’s, in Westgate-street.

The Coach and Horses, George, Dolphin, Vine and Mitre, are all capital houses of entertainment. At the latter, which stands in the High-street, a genteel Coffee room is fitted up, well furnished with Newspapers.

The terms of admission are:-Yearly subscribers, £1. Is. quarterly 6s. monthly 2s. 6d. non-subscribers 3d. each time.


NEAR the west quay is a range of convenient and permanent baths. Ii th for ladies and gentlemen, belonging to Mr. Martin. The water is changed every tide and, though it contains less salt than where the tide is pure and unmixed, it does not appear to be less efficacious in those complaints for which cold sea- bathing, is generally prescribed.

Here is also a commodious warm bath, which may be engaged for any hour.-Terms 3s. 6d. each time.

Farther on to the eastward, are Webb’s Baths, which are likewise well-frequented.

Each suite of baths provided with every necessary convenience, and the whole is laid out in a judicious and elegant manner. Careful guides attend each bath.


AT the bottom of Orchard street, on the right, without Bar-gate is a spring, of the nature of Tunbridge Wells, and is used with effect in the same complaints, for which that chaylebeate is recommended. A middle sized tumbler is a sufficient dose, which it is more advisable to repeat than enlarge. This water is frequently drank to promote the advantages of a course of sea-bathing.


THE public rooms are situated near the baths, and command a delightful prospect of Southampton river, and the sylvan scenery of the opposite shore.

The jail-room is spacious, and handsomely decorated. The band of music is disposed in the centre. The card-rooms and other appendages, are corresponding with the stile of the rest

Mr. Martin, the proprietor of these rooms, has fitted them up at a liberal expence; and no convenience seems wanting, except an easier approach for carriages, for which the situation is unfavorable.

A minute attention to dress is not required here; but the following regulations, established by \V. Lynne, Esq. Master of the Ceremonies, must be complied with


THESE assemblies are held at the Dolphin inn, and were first established in the year 1785. Assemblies are held every fortnight during the winter, on Tuesdays, commencing the beginning of November, and ending in April; at which, by the unanimous desire of the subscribers, W. Lynne, Esq. acts as toaster of the ceremonies, with a clear ball on any one night during the season, most eligible to himself, the queen’s ball night alone excepted.


FOR the amusement of gentlemen, there are Billiard Tables and a Fives-court; and also a pleasant Bowling green, near St. Mary’s, which is well filled in a summer’s evening.

The principal Promenade is above Bar-street, towards the barracks, which is often filled with beauty and fashion. East-street leads to many rural paths and the raised walk along the margin of the Itchin, towards the Ferry, is also much frequented on account of its airiness and picturesque scenery.

For riding and walking, indeed, in every direction, there is the greatest inducement in this vicinity, as the roads are most excellent, and for some miles round, lead to a succession of pleasing or magnificent objects.

No amusement, however, which Southampton affords, can be more salutary or delightful than sailing. A boat, or pleasure-vessel, may be engaged for hours, or by the day, in any course, on reasonable terms; while the packets, which daily sail to Cowes , and receive passengers at 1s. each, offer a cheap and agreeable aquatic excursion, which is frequently enjoyed by the company resorting to this place. Packets and boys likewise sail from Soouthampton to Portsmouth, to Guernsey and Jersey, and to Cherbourg in France.


BAKER’s LIBRARY, in the High-street, contains a well-chosen collection of more than 7000 volumes, in every branch of learning, and in every department of composition Jewellery, stationary, &c. are likewise sold at this shop.

Messrs. Baker have also a printing-office, from which books have issued that would do no discredit to the London presses. The good sense, information, and civility of that family, which is large and respectable, render their acquaintance desirable to every visitor of the place.

Skelton’s Library, standing nearly opposite, is likewise well filled with valuable and entertaining books, and much frequented.

He has likewise a printing-office, and a subscription News-room, which is open from nine in the morning to nine its the evening, on reasonable terms.

If superior industry, understanding, and a zeal to oblige, are claims to patronage, Byles will not be forgotten, though his establishment is comparatively new.

There are some other libraries in Southampton,which possess their appropriate merits, and are ad mired by their respective customers.


SOUTHAMPTON contains three banks, all under very respectable firms. For physicians, it has been long distinguished ; and happy is that person who wants medical assistance, who falls tinder the care of the humane and SKILFUL Dr. Mackie, who has been justly celebrated in a poem entitled the ” PHYSIClAN,” by kindred genius and philanthropy.

The post arrives daily from London, except on Monday, and there is likewise a cross-post from different places.

Coaches pass and repass from London, and Portsmouth daily; from Bath, Bristol, and Oxford, thrice a week, exclusive of other places, with which there is a frequent communication, by land as well as by water.


ABOUT half a mile from Bar-gate stand the barracks, which have been erected within the last seven years. The area is about two acres. The building is neat and plain, and capable of accommodating a troop of horse, with all the requisite conveniences and appendages.

Text, Map and Engraving: A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places etc(1803) by John Feltham.

AustenOnly Posts on Southampton

Jane Austen’s Particular Places: Southampton

The French Street Theatre, Southampton

Jane Austen References

Jane Austen attended Mrs Crawley’s school here in 1783 till she was removed due to illness.  She then returned to live in Southampton from 1806-1809.

The Letters

Letter to Cassandra dated 20-21st November 1800

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 7th January 1807

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 20-22nd February 1807

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 15th-17th June 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 20th-22nd June 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 26th June 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 30th June 1st July 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 1st-2nd October 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 7th October 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 13th October 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 15th October 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 25th October 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 20th November 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 9th December 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 27th December 1808

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 10th January 1809

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 17th January 1809

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 24th January 1809

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 30th January 1809

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 6th June 1811

Letter to Cassandra Austen dated 4th February 1813

Letter to John Murray dated 1st April 1816

Letter to Caroline Austen dated 26th February 1817