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THE STREETS AND ROADS OF OLD SOUTHAMPTON.
THE
STREETS AND ROADS OF OLD SOUTHAMPTON.
By T. W. SHORE,
Hon. Organising Secretary of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society; Hon. Organising Secretary of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society.
I have noted from the reports in the local newspapers during the last few years, a tendency to change the old names of some of the streets in Southampton. Why should you abolish the old names of your thoroughfares ? These old names may be considered as the local landmarks of our history. In London all old names of streets and lanes are most carefully guarded, and as Honorary Organising Secretary of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, I can tell you from personal knowledge, that any motion in the Common Council of London to change these old names -would meet with a very short shift indeed. Some of the oldest of the names still surviving in Southampton may be regarded as traces of ancient conditions of life that formerly prevailed here. These old names are apparently thought by some people here to be out of date and useless, because their old significance is not understood in the midst of their modern surroundings. They are however, an intellectual inheritance, for if they were all abolished and modern street and place names substituted for them, should we not in reference to the streets, lose thereby much of their historical association ?
The earliest inhabitants we can trace in this neighbourhood since the topography of the district assumed anything like its present form are the Neolithic people, or those of the newer Stone Age. There are the remains of a camp at Basset which may be as old as this period. These people certainly frequented the foreshores of South ampton Water and the peninsular site on which the town is built, for their stone weapons and implements have been found. Food was required and fish was abundant. It is certain therefore that they had some primitive road. Old streets and roads like many other things have been evolved, and the course appears to have been first tracks, after which the shortest track became a path ; the path often became a road, and the road a street. The main street of Southampton is on the line of the shortest path that could have been made from the higher ground to the place on the water where the Itclien and Test formerly met. I therefore consider the High Street and the road north of it to have been the line of the most ancient track or path
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