“A society dedicated to studying and researching the history of Southampton in general, but with particular reference to the City areas east of the River Itchen – Bitterne, Bitterne Park, Harefield, Itchen, Merry Oak, Midanbury, Peartree, Sholing, Thornhill, Townhill Park, Weston and Woolston.”
How It All Began…
The imminent construction of the Bitterne bypass was the catalyst for the formation of BLHS in 1981. Local people, keen to ensure that the area’s heritage was not lost under the bulldozers, began salvaging items of interest.
Letters appeared in the local paper recounting memories of the past, and an exhibition and meeting were arranged: the BLHS was formed with the objectives of:
- Advancing public education in, and the study of, our Local History.
- Securing the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in those areas of Southampton east of the River Itchen.
And Now …
Our membership extends to many people who live, or have lived, in Bitterne or to their families. Most live locally but others are spread around the country or around the world.
We rescue artefacts (such as pub & shop signs, photographs and documents, regalia, house and shop fittings), campaign on local history matters (saving the last cob & thatch cottage in Bitterne and the Bitterne Lion when the shops it was above were demolished). We have regular meetings with illustrated talks from speakers; give talks and guided walks; hire items to schools, care homes and theatre companies; publish books and a series of local papers; run a website and Facebook page; and produce a quarterly magazine sent to all members.
We also run a Charity Shop to fund our Heritage Centre and Museum. The Heritage Centre is staffed by volunteer Stewards who give guidance on local history enquiries and our Museum has changing displays of some of our collections. If you feel that you could spare some time to help in either the Charity Shop or Heritage Centre please contact us via our Chairman.