ON A short visit to Southampton from France, I wanted to take a walk down memory lane last Sunday.

I am an Old Grammarian and worked in Brunswick Place and then Below Bar before leaving to live abroad many years ago.

We parked the car in Ogle Road and then set out to discover the High Street area but then the (mis)adventure began.

We were astounded by the number of men (including a young girl) with sleeping bags on either side of the street, many actually begging. There were supermarket trollies overflowing with their belongings in doorways.

The ground is covered with chewing-gum, rubbish and cigarette stubs.

This degrading picture of what was once a thriving city centre saddened me. I also felt ashamed as to what tourists leaving and arriving on the numerous cruise ships must think.

Once completed, will the Bargate Quarter project suffer the same fate?

Pauline DANIEL (née BARNES)

Le Mesnil le Roi, France