SeaCity Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

SeaCity Museum

Southampton, England, United Kingdom

Luke Tomes

04 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About SeaCity Museum

SeaCity Museum is a maritime museum located in the heart of Southampton’s city centre. It tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with RMS Titanic.

SeaCity Museum history

The SeaCity Museum opened on 10 April 2012 to mark the centenary of RMS Titanic’s departure from the city. The city and the ship have a close connection. Not only did passengers board the Titanic at Southampton, but many of the ship’s crew did as well.

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic arrived left Southampton with her passengers to launch her maiden, yet famously ill-fated, voyage. She would stop off in Cherbourg and Cobh in Ireland before heading toward New York City. Over 500 households in Southampton lost at least one family member in the Titanic disaster and so the city has become intexricably linked with the disaster.

In terms of its wider maritime history, Southampton has remained a hub of human migration to England over the centuries, something which the Museum explores. Ever since the Norman Invasion of 1066, Southampton became an important trading port, as well as a gateway for migrants entering and leaving Britain.

During the victorian era and in the twentieth century, hundreds of other ocean liners, excluding the RMS Titanic, connected the port with Britain’s Empire and with America, making the city Britain’s “Gateway to the World”.

The Museum today

Today there are currently three exhibitions at SeaCity Museum. Two permanent exhibitions are housed in the former police station and magistrates’ court.

Gateway to the World examines Southampton’s history, and its role as a hub for human migration. Exhibits include a one tonne, seven-metre long replica of RMS Queen Mary, rehoused from Southampton Maritime Museum. Both Southampton Maritime Museum and Southampton Museum of Archaeology closed permanently in September 2011 to allow their exhibits to be rehoused at SeaCity and Tudor House Museum.

Southampton’s Titanic Story explores the Titanic tragedy through the eyes of its crew, the majority of whom listed Southampton as their address. A preserved court room uses audiovisual elements to re-enact scenes from the British inquiry into the sinking and to explore its ramifications.

The civic centre clock tower, approximately the height of a funnel on the Titanic can be viewed through a roof light as visitors enter the exhibition, giving them an impression of the scale of the ship. The story incorporates audio recordings given by the survivors and features interactive elements allowing visitors to steer the virtual ship and to stoke its engines.

Getting to SeaCity Museum

SeaCity Museum is situated on Havelock Road, on the former location of the magistrate’s court and Southampton Central Police Station. The museum is on the west facing side of the building with the entrance directly beneath the clock tower.

If travelling by car from the M3 to Hampshire, take junction 14 and follow the A33 to A3024 in Southampton. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Bassett Avenue. Continue along this road until you reach outh Hants Hospital. Follow the one-way system (A3024) round East Park until you see clock tower on your left. The SeaCity Museum entrance is directly below the tower.

There are a number of city car parks within easy walking distance, the closest three being West Park Multi Storey, Civic Centre Forecourt and Marlands Multi Storey.

If travelling by public transport, the nearest train station is Southampton Central (roughly a 5 minute walk away) while the nearest bus stop along most bus routes is Havelock Road and Commercial Road.

 

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