IT is said that Southampton is a city with history around every corner.

To demonstrate this I went for a walk around Portswood and Highfield starting from Portswood library which was opened in October 1915 by the Mayor William Bagshaw.

Bagshaw asked local residents to donate books to the library as reading needed to be encouraged to offset the growing influence of the cinema.

The need for a local library had been recognised by Councillor Sydney Kimber who secured the land for the library.

Next to the library was the Palladium Cinema opened in February 1913 by Mayor Henry Bowyer and considered to be the prettiest picture house south of London with its Wedgewood style interior, plush blue seating for 650, perfect ventilation and a flicker free projector.

The Library and Cinema were built on land that had formed part of Portswood Lodge the home of Walter Taylor who manufactured pulley blocks for the Royal Navy at Woodmill in the early 1800s.

A Captain Abbot later leased the house renaming it Abbots Park after which Abbotts Way is named.

Portswood was home to the Southampton Tramways Company which began a horse drawn service from Portswood to the Floating Bridge in May 1879.

The service was extended to Shirley from the Floating Bridge a few weeks later.

The trams and the horses were kept in sheds and stables where Sainsbury’s Portswood store is today.

Behind Sainsbury’s at 94 Belmont Road – now renumbered 116 – lived the Titanic’s 1st Officer William Murdoch and his wife.

Murdoch was the officer on watch on the evening of April 14, 1912 when the Titanic hit an iceberg.

He perished when the ship sank early the following morning.

Nearby at 2 Church Lane lodged Thomas Davies and his wife.

Thomas was a leading fireman on the Titanic and he too was lost when the ship sank.

Thomas lodged with a Mr and Mrs Jeffrey whose son William was a stores clerk for the Titanic’s first class restaurant.

He also drowned.

Christchurch in Portswood was originally built as a Chapel of Ease for South Stoneham Church. It was designed by Joshua Brandon who died at the age of 25 and is buried in the churchyard, as is Sydney Kimber who lived in nearby Wellbeck Avenue.

Councillor Kimber was the driving force behind the building of the Civic Centre and the Sports Centre.

The west porch, a later addition designed by Ernest Berry Webber who designed the Civic Centre, was constructed in memory of Sydney Kimber.

In the churchyard is a monument to members of the Aslett family who were well known local coach builders.

Not far from the church at 6 Highfield Close lived Ellis Martin, an artist employed by the Ordnance Survey.

Educated at the Slade School of Art he had been a war artist and from 1919 to 1940 his cover designs for Ordnance Survey’s maps led to vastly increased sales and ensured financial stability for the famous map maker.

His designs are highly sought after today.

Brookvale Road was home to Herbert Collins the much admired local architect who developed the Orchard Way and Bassett Green estates in the 1920s and many fine buildings in the city.

With the financial support of his father and other local builders he helped set up Swaythling Housing Association to provide good quality housing for working families.

Collins was a great friend of Ebenezer Howard the founder of the Garden City Movement who influenced much of his work.

Round the corner, in Russell Place, is the former home of R J Mitchell the aircraft designer whose many innovative designs included flying boats, sea planes and of course the famous Spitfire.

He died in 1937 and did not see the important role the Spitfire played in WW2.

Russell Place is named after Henry William Russell Bancroft who played an important part in the management of sport locally and is best remembered for having saved Hampshire County Cricket Club in 1879 when it faced extinction.

Godfrey Collyer is a tour guide with .