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OUT HAMPTON, as a port, due to the spirited policy oj the London and South-Western Railway Company, whose acquisition of the great docks of the town set rolling the ball of progress, will not cease to revolve until this revivified crusted old port has obtained pride of place in British shipping returns and outgoings. The history of the rise and fall of Southampton has been a chequered one, or rather, a want of chequered one, and its immense importance deserves all the attention this narration may bring to it.
With perhaps the solitary exception of that at Milford, the Harbour of Southampton is the finest in the British Islands. It owes everything to Nature. The famous Southampton Water is a prawny arm of the sea, is quite landlocked, and its approaches are so irreproachable that it is practically impossible for a tempestuous sea to make its presence felt within its broad expanse. From the entrance to this superb channel up to Southampton quays, which are independent of locks, there is a five-mile reach of deep water, over half a mile in width. Nature was in a bounteous and capricious mood when she arranged things at Southampton, for, apart from these immense advantages, the port has all the assistance the incongruity a couple of high-water tiles can afford it. Four out of every twelve hours provide Southampton Harbour with a high-water mark of excellence. This phenomenon is, in the main, due to the proximity of the Isle of Wight, which forms Southampton's great breakwater, and which cost nothing to build.
Here, therefore, is a port with double high-water, an advantage too great to be comprehended by all non-seamen persons. The anchorage in the Channel has never been found wanting, and yet Southampton is only now receiving due attention, upon the grounds of its manifold excellencies, from the shipping companies of the world.
The Port is within two hours of London by the London and South-Western Railway, and connected by main lines with all parts of the Kingdom, from or to which rapid communication is regularly maintained passenger and goods trains.
There is ample depth of water in the harbour, and safe anchorage for the largest ships afloat, which can enter or leave at any time of the tide.
Ships coming to the Port of Southampton will find the Town Quay, belonging to the Harbour Board, very advantageously situated, having a Quay frontage of 3,500 feet, with convenient Berthing and every accommodation for working their cargoes, including Electric Cranes.
The ordinary Harbour Dues allow vessels to discharge at these Quays without any extra charge.
The depth of water at the Extension Quay is 27 feet at High Water Ordinary-Spring Tides, and 25 feet at High Water Ordinary Neap Tides.
The Railway Lines on the Quays, worked by Locomotives in connection with the mam lines of Railways, run alongside the Vessels, and Cargoes can be
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