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Norman work, and it has a ponderous roof formed of chestnut beams. It formerly served as a prison for prisoners of war, whose initials are cut in the timbers, and bear witness to the weariness of their confinement. After passing the Pier Hotel are two magnificent stores, French-street branching off between them. The first of these occupies the site, and even includes portions of an ancient Hospital for Lepers. A little more to the south is a mass of building occupied as houses and stores; succeeded by the Corn Exchange built on the site of the Old Custom House, and part of the old wall; another portion, with the machicolations that once guarded a postern Gate, adjoining the Water Gate west flank tower, is seen in the adjoining Castle Hotel. And near this spot was built, in 1866, the largest store in Southampton. It was erected for the Harbour and Pier Commissioners by Messrs. Bull, from a design by Mr. Donald Geddes, surveyor to the Board. It is worthy of remark, as evidence of the increasing trade of the Port, that every floor of this immense building wa# stored with grain within eight days of its completion.
The plan of the ancient wall may still be recognized distinctly,—from the corner of Cuckoo-lane, where rug. ged fragments of antique masonry, which formed the corner tower still project into the water, it made a convex sweep of about 600 feet to the Water Gate, allowing only a narrow lane between it and the opposite buildings and the streets which branch from it On this portion of the wall there were two towers—St. Barbara's and "Woolbridge—the latter probably near the bottom of French-street.
The High-street now opens its wide and gracefully winding thoroughfare, which till 1804 was shrouded by the protecting towers and heavy archway called Water Gate, through which access was obtained to the then solitary Quay named after it, and mentioh#atpage 18.
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