Ten photos showing 120 years of changes on Above Bar Street in Southampton

Above Bar Street as it is today

Above Bar Street as it is today

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Digital Editor

Southampton has changed a lot over the centuries, perhaps no more than during the last one.

These nine photos below show how Above Bar Street in the city centre has evolved since the 1890s.

All the pictures were taken from the roof of the Bargate, looking north.

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1890

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1920

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1940s

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1956

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1958 at Christmas

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1960s

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 1970s

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 2000

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 2005

Daily Echo: Above Bar Street in 2011

And this is how it was thought Above Bar Street might look in the future, as seen from 1999:

Daily Echo:

Enjoy this? You might like - 10 historical facts about Southampton >>

Comments (12)

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8:34pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Eric_Cartman says...

Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats!
Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up.
I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.
Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats! Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up. I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become. Eric_Cartman
  • Score: 42

8:43pm Fri 24 Jan 14

elvisimo says...

Eric_Cartman wrote:
Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats!
Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up.
I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.
Emigrate
[quote][p][bold]Eric_Cartman[/bold] wrote: Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats! Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up. I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.[/p][/quote]Emigrate elvisimo
  • Score: -29

9:30pm Fri 24 Jan 14

KingMawwaw says...

Eric_Cartman wrote:
Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats!
Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up.
I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.
Is it fair to compare Southampton to Brisbane? Brisbane is, what, eight times larger and a state capital. I guess it must be richer than Southampton.

But I agree, Above Bar in particular is awful. Question is: what are you doing to make it better?
[quote][p][bold]Eric_Cartman[/bold] wrote: Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats! Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up. I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.[/p][/quote]Is it fair to compare Southampton to Brisbane? Brisbane is, what, eight times larger and a state capital. I guess it must be richer than Southampton. But I agree, Above Bar in particular is awful. Question is: what are you doing to make it better? KingMawwaw
  • Score: 12

11:51pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Dchadder says...

elvisimo wrote:
Eric_Cartman wrote:
Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats!
Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up.
I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.
Emigrate
I did, in 1993, to Melbourne.
[quote][p][bold]elvisimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Eric_Cartman[/bold] wrote: Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats! Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up. I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.[/p][/quote]Emigrate[/p][/quote]I did, in 1993, to Melbourne. Dchadder
  • Score: 14

11:54pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Dchadder says...

I recall in the 1990s a detailed plan for an overhead monorail to serve the city centre, railway station and docks. If it had been built, there would not be the traffic gridlock recently experienced. What happened to the monorail plans?
I recall in the 1990s a detailed plan for an overhead monorail to serve the city centre, railway station and docks. If it had been built, there would not be the traffic gridlock recently experienced. What happened to the monorail plans? Dchadder
  • Score: 14

12:33am Sat 25 Jan 14

mikesmike says...

Give the city centre to me for a year, I'll get it changed and looking shipshape!
Give the city centre to me for a year, I'll get it changed and looking shipshape! mikesmike
  • Score: 9

9:42am Sat 25 Jan 14

Saint Botley says...

Eric_Cartman wrote:
Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats!
Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up.
I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.
I completely agree with this post. The chewing gum is horrendous and all over the place. The paving hasn't been right since they did it (probably on the cheap) and the street vendors just make it tacky and small town. Don't even get me started on the market that's encroaching on more and more of it, gawdawful chavvy nightmare that it is. Anyone know what they're doing with the circular bit of paving that's cordoned off outside West Quay at the moment? A fountain would look great there, or an anchor like the QE2 display below bar. Just something to add a bit of character. It looks so bland and tacky through the precinct at the moment. And irrespective of development elsewhere, it's still the centre and probably the most important part of town. Come on council, bit of imagination to liven it up please.
[quote][p][bold]Eric_Cartman[/bold] wrote: Above and Below Bar are grim now. I was walking through Above Bar today; as you leave the niceness of Westquay, you are greeted by smokers. Then there's the chewing gum minefield and the charity people. Once past them you have to go past the guy selling smelly hotdogs playing music on a tinny stereo. Then there are stalls after stalls selling cheap tat and mobile phone covers. There's that roundabout thing by Barclays and did I mention, the countless chewing gum splats! Everything is just so cheap, tacky and nasty. When you compare Southampton to cities like Brisbane and yes, even some British cities we just look so dirty and scruffy. In many other cities (Brisbane), the centre street concessions are permanent, not just wobbly tents. They included pubs, quality eateries and souvenir shops. People still chew gum and I'm sure they still spit it out but there are people to clean it up. I weep for Southampton. We should be so much better than we are. The councillors should walk down our main thoroughfare with the eyes of a visitor, maybe even from overseas and realise just how crap they've allowed it to become.[/p][/quote]I completely agree with this post. The chewing gum is horrendous and all over the place. The paving hasn't been right since they did it (probably on the cheap) and the street vendors just make it tacky and small town. Don't even get me started on the market that's encroaching on more and more of it, gawdawful chavvy nightmare that it is. Anyone know what they're doing with the circular bit of paving that's cordoned off outside West Quay at the moment? A fountain would look great there, or an anchor like the QE2 display below bar. Just something to add a bit of character. It looks so bland and tacky through the precinct at the moment. And irrespective of development elsewhere, it's still the centre and probably the most important part of town. Come on council, bit of imagination to liven it up please. Saint Botley
  • Score: 19

1:04am Sun 26 Jan 14

sundance_118 says...

I lived in Southampton from 1948 until 1968 , in the 60,s the above bar was the busy part of Southampton , in 1977 the last time I was there , it did,nt look too bad ,, but what I see now from the pictures on here above bar looks like hell ,, I emigrated to Canada in 1968 I think that it was the best move I made , I still have family in the Southampton area and they told me to stay where I am , as you would,nt like back in Southampton again , its a shame because southampton used to be a beautiful and clean city, and I have fond memories of growing up there ,, but I guess as life , everything changes , but in the case of the above bar ,, not for the better
I lived in Southampton from 1948 until 1968 , in the 60,s the above bar was the busy part of Southampton , in 1977 the last time I was there , it did,nt look too bad ,, but what I see now from the pictures on here above bar looks like hell ,, I emigrated to Canada in 1968 I think that it was the best move I made , I still have family in the Southampton area and they told me to stay where I am , as you would,nt like back in Southampton again , its a shame because southampton used to be a beautiful and clean city, and I have fond memories of growing up there ,, but I guess as life , everything changes , but in the case of the above bar ,, not for the better sundance_118
  • Score: 5

4:59pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Saint Botley says...

sales@shuttersouth.c
o.uk
wrote:
I really hate all the markets they put on the high street, markets are for muddy fields and chavs buying slush puppies... And by the way does the fruitcake hotdog god weirdo pay rent like all other businesses do on the high street, if I owned pret paying 6 figure rent and rates and they near permenantly put street food vendors opposite I would pull the plug on it. Pret is a an asset to Southampton unlike Greek chip sausage wraps.
End the markets and close the street vendors down.
The market and the street vendors lay waste to the entire city centre. Not that the short sighted council will care of course, they will be more than happy to accept the trading license fee because they are all about the quick buck. Nevermind the fact that it's putting people off going there because the place looks like a hole. I don't like cynical marketing etc but shoppers are aspirational, that's why they're shopping. They don't spend money when the environment looks like a tip. Southampton has great potential but the authorities badly lack imagination. Is the market our elusive 'wow factor' then council? As in 'wow, look at the state of that'?
[quote][p][bold]sales@shuttersouth.c o.uk[/bold] wrote: I really hate all the markets they put on the high street, markets are for muddy fields and chavs buying slush puppies... And by the way does the fruitcake hotdog god weirdo pay rent like all other businesses do on the high street, if I owned pret paying 6 figure rent and rates and they near permenantly put street food vendors opposite I would pull the plug on it. Pret is a an asset to Southampton unlike Greek chip sausage wraps. End the markets and close the street vendors down.[/p][/quote]The market and the street vendors lay waste to the entire city centre. Not that the short sighted council will care of course, they will be more than happy to accept the trading license fee because they are all about the quick buck. Nevermind the fact that it's putting people off going there because the place looks like a hole. I don't like cynical marketing etc but shoppers are aspirational, that's why they're shopping. They don't spend money when the environment looks like a tip. Southampton has great potential but the authorities badly lack imagination. Is the market our elusive 'wow factor' then council? As in 'wow, look at the state of that'? Saint Botley
  • Score: 3

6:23pm Sun 26 Jan 14

redsnapper says...

Southampton has changed but for the worse. The ever unimaginative city council have failed completely to deliver a city to be proud of. It is and is known nationally as nothing more as an unplanned, poorly planned retail mess. A city with unequalled seafaring links has nothing of interest to promote or commemorate these links.

There is no tourist attraction of any note to attract people and the complete lack of any waterfront zone which most port cities seem to have successfully developed us completely missing.

Access in and out of the city has been well documented of late and thus incompetent council cannot even keep the magnificent Portland Stone that makes up their offices in a pristine condition.

The City has been let down by one useless group of councillors followed by another for the last 120 years.
Southampton has changed but for the worse. The ever unimaginative city council have failed completely to deliver a city to be proud of. It is and is known nationally as nothing more as an unplanned, poorly planned retail mess. A city with unequalled seafaring links has nothing of interest to promote or commemorate these links. There is no tourist attraction of any note to attract people and the complete lack of any waterfront zone which most port cities seem to have successfully developed us completely missing. Access in and out of the city has been well documented of late and thus incompetent council cannot even keep the magnificent Portland Stone that makes up their offices in a pristine condition. The City has been let down by one useless group of councillors followed by another for the last 120 years. redsnapper
  • Score: 2

4:44pm Mon 27 Jan 14

sotonboy84 says...

Saint Botley wrote:
sales@shuttersouth.c

o.uk
wrote:
I really hate all the markets they put on the high street, markets are for muddy fields and chavs buying slush puppies... And by the way does the fruitcake hotdog god weirdo pay rent like all other businesses do on the high street, if I owned pret paying 6 figure rent and rates and they near permenantly put street food vendors opposite I would pull the plug on it. Pret is a an asset to Southampton unlike Greek chip sausage wraps.
End the markets and close the street vendors down.
The market and the street vendors lay waste to the entire city centre. Not that the short sighted council will care of course, they will be more than happy to accept the trading license fee because they are all about the quick buck. Nevermind the fact that it's putting people off going there because the place looks like a hole. I don't like cynical marketing etc but shoppers are aspirational, that's why they're shopping. They don't spend money when the environment looks like a tip. Southampton has great potential but the authorities badly lack imagination. Is the market our elusive 'wow factor' then council? As in 'wow, look at the state of that'?
Labour council - quick buck spendthrifts. Need I say more.
[quote][p][bold]Saint Botley[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sales@shuttersouth.c o.uk[/bold] wrote: I really hate all the markets they put on the high street, markets are for muddy fields and chavs buying slush puppies... And by the way does the fruitcake hotdog god weirdo pay rent like all other businesses do on the high street, if I owned pret paying 6 figure rent and rates and they near permenantly put street food vendors opposite I would pull the plug on it. Pret is a an asset to Southampton unlike Greek chip sausage wraps. End the markets and close the street vendors down.[/p][/quote]The market and the street vendors lay waste to the entire city centre. Not that the short sighted council will care of course, they will be more than happy to accept the trading license fee because they are all about the quick buck. Nevermind the fact that it's putting people off going there because the place looks like a hole. I don't like cynical marketing etc but shoppers are aspirational, that's why they're shopping. They don't spend money when the environment looks like a tip. Southampton has great potential but the authorities badly lack imagination. Is the market our elusive 'wow factor' then council? As in 'wow, look at the state of that'?[/p][/quote]Labour council - quick buck spendthrifts. Need I say more. sotonboy84
  • Score: 1

12:57pm Tue 29 Apr 14

daisy.talks says...

Hate having to avoid the sign holders that block the way outside Westquay with all their weird 'mates' just hanging around
Hate having to avoid the sign holders that block the way outside Westquay with all their weird 'mates' just hanging around daisy.talks
  • Score: 1
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