MANY areas on the outskirts of town were torn down in the 1960s to make way for modern council accommodation and tower blocks – one being Southampton’s Chapel district.

The tightly packed homes provided cheap accommodation for dock workers, seamen and their families, often with numerous amounts or multiple generations cohabiting under the same roof.

Many also took in lodgers, helping to stretch their often tight budgets further.

The high concentration of people lead to the forming of a tight-knit community – one which is sadly no more.

The area and times are detailed by Southampton author Dave Marden in his latest book, Southampton’s Chapel Area: A Hundred Years of the Past.

The work is not about the author himself, but a look into the history of the district, interlaced with a wealth of old pictures.

The following is part of the introduction, providing a taste of what his book contains.

“The 1960s saw many local authorities clear away such city centre areas in favour of modern council accommodation and tower blocks built on the outskirts of towns and cities in the name of “regeneration”.

“At the time, this was deemed as necessary to provide decent homes in place of dilapidated buildings that were by then, well below an acceptable living standard. But, sadly, such action destroyed many communities that had grown over many generations and dispersed them to alien territories.

“My personal childhood memories from the 1950s recall buildings well past their best with most being 100 years old and, to most people who can remember it, the Chapel area of Southampton was not exactly a salubrious place and to the casual visitor in past times it was possibly quite fearsome setting foot there, but I would say strangers were treated more with suspicion than hostility.

“For those of us that lived in the old neighbourhood it didn’t seem so bad. Chapel was probably no different to the back streets of many towns and cities all over the country before they were swept away in the post war years.”

Marden goes on to talk about the pubs in the area, the differences between them and the important role they played within the community.

“Perhaps a pub on every corner is an overstatement but there were quite a few. In the area covered by this book there were around 70 so it is difficult to ignore them as they played a prime role in local life.

“Almost without exception, every street in the Chapel area had its own pub – some had several, ranging from the elite with polished bars, brasswork and etched mirrors, down to the basic beer house with just a counter and a few sticks of furniture.

“The grander establishments were fine for relaxation at the weekend. A place to unwind from the week’s stress, somewhere to take the wife or girlfriend for an evening of carefree chatter and song, and a place to forget about the workaday problems before the Monday drudgery loomed once more.”

l Southampton’s Chapel Area: A Hundred Years of the Past can be purchased by contacting