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THE STREETS AND KOADS OF OLD SOUTHAMPTON.
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ironstained sandstone of the Bagshot geological age, not good enough for building purposes. The mount went first and then the rocklike mass below, as I saw it in its last stage. The sand was used to assist in building the houses, and the stone in making the roads of new Southampton. In the 18th century it was a fine sight to stand at the top of the mount at high tide. Lord Peterborough would admit visitors at no other time, and Dr. Oosens evidently went there at such a time, when from the top he could see the waves beating on the strand below, and the wide expanse of sea visible from the height, far down Southampton Water. He writes of this and the country round :—
Such are thy scenes
Southampton ! loved of all the rural gods,
Thine are the pathless wilds and silent groves,
Where contemplation reigns ; thine are the plains And thine the hills, where fraught with florid health Blows every gale.
Verses such as these in a fashionable book of poetry dedicated to a princess of the royal family, and written in style suited to the taste of the time, could scarcely fail to attract visitors.
To make the town more attractive, the sea embankment that extended from the Platform, round the beach to the present site of Itchen Perry was improved, planted with trees, and laid out as a marine walk. Some of the trees then planted still remain.
Those of us who can remember the gilded decorations of the old Assembly Rooms at West Quay, will be able to some extent to realise the gaiety of the streets in the season. Close by the West Quay were bathing arrangements where those who were afflicted tried the effects of the " medicinal flood," which Oosens mentions. Hear what he says of this bathing in the tidal water :—
"See to thy baths what frequent crowds resort,
Groaning"beneath the varied rod of pain."
and also—
'' Hither is brought,
Robb'd of every grace, the pining, pale-eyed maid Who, Venus like, emerges from the flood,
Her cheeks bestrewn with roses."
Then to add one more to the attractions of the town, a spa was opportunely discovered just at the right time, and Spa Eoad, a veritable wreck of its former high state, remains, to tell us of its former importance. The mid-Georgian age was an age of spas, an age for going to the wells. I could show you a number of decayed spas round London, where people who perhaps could not afford to make long journeys, went to the wells nearer home. Southampton Spa was as good as some of the others, notwithstanding that a dozen chalybeate springs as good, may be found within a dozen miles of it.
As Dr. Cosens was, so I am now—only a visitor in your town. The British Museum, however, helps me to feel that old associations are not forgotten, for the library catalogue there contains a list
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