Shops on Bridge Road
|Population||13,852 (2011 Census. Ward)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
The area is rich in maritime and aviation history. The ancient hamlet grew as new industries, roads and railways came to the area in the Victorian era with Woolston being formally incorporated into the borough of Southampton in 1920.
In the Domesday Book of 1086, the area is recorded as Olvestune. The area now known as Woolston is certain to have received consignments of wool to be ferried across the River Itchen, Hampshire by the inhabitants of Itchen Ferry village. The evolution of Olvestune into "Woolston" is a result of that trade.
Development of the Itchen Bridge in the 1970s, to link Woolston with the Southampton City Centre, required significant changes. Old terraces had to be demolished to make room for the new structure. However, as the station that served passengers boarding and departing the Woolston ferry was no longer required, it was demolished and made way for many new townhouses to be built.
Now, at the start of the 21st century, Woolston is again experiencing a period of major change, with the closure of the Vosper Thorneycroft shipyard and the start of construction on Centenary Quay on the site.
Before 1920 Woolston was governed as part of the Itchen Urban District, from when it became part of Southampton, which later achieved city status and then became a unitary authority, governed by Southampton City Council.
Woolston is within the Woolston ward which also includes the neighbouring Weston. The ward elects three councillors to the city council, currently all Labour members. Many locations generally considered part of Woolston, including the railway station and the Millennium Garden, are in the neighbouring Peartree ward.
Woolston is bounded by Sholing, Peartree Green, Itchen and Weston; with the western boundary as the River Itchen. Its boundary with Weston is the stream that runs through Mayfield Park.
The nearest motorway is the M27; Woolston is closest to Junctions 7 and 8.
Woolston has a shopping area centred on the Victoria Rd/Portsmouth Rd crossroads and by the Woolston Floating Bridge.
There had been a shipbuilding site on Victoria Road since 1870, (from 1900 the Vosper Thorneycroft shipbuilding company) which was the major employer in Woolston until 31 March 2004 when Vosper Thorneycroft relocated its operations to Portsmouth.
A large 'supermarket style' Co-op was opened on Victoria Road in April 2004, to replace a smaller ageing shop on the same road. On Saturday 23 May 2015, the large Co-op was shut down as the building would be sold to Lidl, which opened in February 2017.
The South East England Development Agency subsequently announced plans for the site, to be split into two sections:
The marine and commercial section will include several quays for vessels:
|North Quay||specialist working quay for repair and refit of vessels up to 75 m|
|Centenary Quay||main commercial quayside housing vessels up to 76 m.|
|Central Basin||working area focused around a large hoist dock or lift with associated pontoon berthing.|
|South Quay||new pier to accommodate feature vessels up to 65 m.|
The imminent redevelopment of that large waterside site seems likely to rejuvenate the shopping area, but the redevelopment has also been predicted to place extra burden on the Itchen Bridge and cause extra congestion in Woolston. Developers of the residential site are reported to be considering the possibility of re-introducing a ferry service to Southampton.
Work started on phase one of the Centenary Quay development July 2010. Phase one consists of creating family housing to the east of the site, as well as establishing a frontage to Victoria Road.
Houses have already been built on the land where the Royal Navy stores once stood. Clearing that brownfield site was a major exercise, complicated by old munitions, including Mustard Gas shells which had been buried in the ground and asbestos. The redeveloped area is now in the district of Woolston
Woolston is thus becoming more of a residential area, though it will still retain some marine industry with facilities to berth vessels of up to 76 m in length.
The Woolston Millennium Garden was created for the residents by a local group who wanted to give something back to their community and inject some pride into the area. It was completed in 2002. Its focal point is a 10-metre tall metal and recycled glass feather intended to signify Woolston's history of flight and sail. The garden is divided into three areas, signifying the earth, the sky and the sea. Many of the crew of the Titanic came from Woolston and there are bricks in the pathway through the garden that are inscribed with their names.
St. Mark's Infants school in Church Road, moved to new premises in Florence Road in 1974, becoming Woolston First School and now today is known as Woolston Infant School. Ludlow Infant School is situated on the same site as Ludlow Junior School, the largest Southampton primary school with 600 pupils.
Woolston no longer provides education for pupils over the age of eleven, since Woolston School was controversially closed in July 2008 to make way for Oasis Academy Mayfield. The woolston school porchester road site is at present in the stages of being demolished to make way for new buildings (to be confirmed by the council). The former Key Stage 4 block has now been relocated to sholing Grove site as the new site has been completed as of July 2011. In February 2012 all students hope to start study at the newly built site Oasis Academy Mayfield- in Sholing.
City College Southampton operates a Marine Skills Centre on Hazel Road which runs vocational courses (usually for 16+ pupils).
Woolston has two Christian places of worship. St. Mark's Church, built in 1863 serves the Church of England community; St. Patrick's Church, built in 1884 serves the Roman Catholic community (the site also houses a catholic primary school). There is also a Kingdom Hall operated by Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Archery Grounds, bounded by Swift Road and Archery Road, consists of a large grass space, with a children's play area. There is a path leading through to Mayfield Park, a partially wooded, partially open recreational area situated on the border of Woolston and neighbouring Weston.
The building that was previously St. Mark's Infants School in Church Road is now Woolston Community Centre.
The fire station in Portsmouth Road was no longer required once the Itchen Bridge provided easy access for the fire crews at St Mary's on the Southampton side of the river. That old building is now a Doctors surgery. (The Old Fire Station Surgery)
Across the road are two more doctors surgeries – Woolston Lodge Surgery and Canute Surgery – and a Lloyds pharmacy.
Woolston railway station is on the West Coastway Line, situated at the end of the Itchen Bridge and operated by South West Trains. The line from Southampton to Woolston was opened on 5 March 1866, accessible from Bridge Road, with an extension opened in November 1867 to serve the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, where it originally terminated. The line was extended to Fareham on 2 September 1889, whereupon it became possible to run through trains to Portsmouth via a separate line that had been built to link Eastleigh and Gosport in 1841.
The Itchen Bridge is a toll bridge that crosses the River Itchen, from Woolston to the Chapel area of Southampton near Ocean Village and St. Mary's Stadium. The bridge was opened to traffic on 1 June 1977 and formally named on 13 June 1977 by Princess Alexandra. Costing £5.7 million, the high-level concrete bridge spans 107 m between its central pillars and carries two lanes of traffic 24 m above the river, allowing large vessels to proceed further upstream to the wharfs and quays in Northam[clarification needed]. Tolls are charged for vehicles crossing the bridge, toll booths and a control room are situated at the Woolston end, however pedestrians, cyclists and now motorcyclists travel free. A cable ferry served Woolston from 1938 until the opening of the bridge. Prior to the Woolston Floating Bridge, the Itchen ferry boats provided transport across the River Itchen.
There is a major bus stop on the Woolston link road (a separate entrance/exit to the Itchen Bridge not used by normal cars), with a number of (mostly First Hampshire & Dorset) buses running through the suburb.