How did Houndwell Park get its name?

The answer to that question isn’t as simple as one would think - there are two conflicting trains of thought.

Some believe the name of Houndwell Park comes from a stream that once ran near the area. Hunters would follow the stream with their hounds - hence the name.

The public sit on the grass in Houndwell Park, Southampton. In the Background is Vincents Walk. August 23, 1967. (Image: Echo)

This stream rose close to where Pound Tree Road and Sussex Road meet today.

The other theory is that it comes from the Hound Well once located at the same spot.

A building, Houndwell House, was erected over the old well which served as the community's washing place for many centuries.

It may have even been a mixture of the two theories - the Hound Well perhaps named after hunts by the stream.

Before becoming a park, Houndwell Park was known as Houndwell Field.

Katrina Sheehan took Katie, John and baby Emma for an alfresco lunch in Houndwell Park on June 8, 1989.Katrina Sheehan took Katie, John and baby Emma for an alfresco lunch in Houndwell Park on June 8, 1989. (Image: Echo)

This field was one of the common lands surrounding the medieval town of Southampton. Residents had the right to graze their animals there.

In the mid-19th century, Southampton embarked on a civic improvement scheme, likely influenced by landscape architect and botanist JC Loudon.

This led to the creation of a chain of public parks, including Houndwell Park, laid out between the late 1850s and early 1860s.

A notable feature in Houndwell Park is the William Chamberlayne Gas Column, a 50-foot tall iron Doric column. It was erected as a tribute to William Chamberlayne, a Member of Parliament for Southampton from 1818 to 1829.

The column has a rather interesting history of relocations.

Houndwell Park on June 4, 1962.Houndwell Park on June 4, 1962. (Image: Echo)

Originally placed near Above Bar Street, it's been moved several times – to Town Quay, then to Houndwell Park, then Speakers Corner Roundabout, and finally back to its current home in Houndwell Park.

The name "Houndwell" featured in many parts of the town at one stage. There was Houndwell Cut, Houdwell Cross, Houndwell Buildings, Houndwell Gardens, Houndwell Place and Houndwell Street. All that survives now is the park.

Overall, Houndwell Park reflects Southampton's transformation from a medieval town with surrounding fields to a modern city with dedicated green spaces.