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The Point Eastleigh.JPG
The Point, Eastleigh
Grid reference: SU4563818844
Location: 50°58’0"N, 1°21’0"W
Post town: Eastleigh
Postcode: SO50
Dialling code: 023
Local Government
Council: Eastleigh

Eastleigh is a town in Hampshire, a railway town in its foundation, which stands between Southampton and Winchester. The spread of the Southampton conurbation just about reaches Eastleigh. Eastleigh has fine countryside bedside it, but it is a practical town and home to many businesses, including a manufacturing plant owned by Prysmian Cables & Systems (formerly the cables division of Pirelli).

The town stands on the River Itchen, one of Britain's premier chalk streams for fly fishing, a designated site of Special Scientific Interest due to its high quality habitats supporting a wide range of protected species including the threatened water vole,[1] otter, brook lamprey[2] and white-clawed crayfish.


Eastleigh rail yard in 1984
Victorian bandstand in recreation ground, Eastleigh

The modern town of Eastleigh lies on the old Roman road, built in 79 AD between Winchester (Venta Belgarum) and Bitterne (Clausentum).[3][4][5] Roman remains discovered in the Eastleigh area, including a Roman lead coffin excavated in 1908,[6] indicate that a settlement probably existed here in Roman times.[3][7][8]

A Saxon village called ‘East Leah’ has been recorded to have existed since 932 AD.[9] (‘Leah’ is an Old English word indicating a clearing in a forest).[9] There is additional evidence of this settlement in a survey from the time which details land in North Stoneham being granted by King Æthelstan to his military aide, Alfred in 932 AD.[3][7][10] The prefix 'East' is thought to refer to its location relative to the established settlement of Baddesley.[3]

The Domesday Book of 1086 gives a more detailed account of the settlement, which is referred to as ‘Estleie’.[3] All lay quiet however until the nineteenth century.

In 1838 the London and South Western Railway Company (L&SWR) built a railway from Southampton to Winchester.[9][11] It was decided to build a station near the little village of Barton. This railway station was originally named Bishopstoke Junction.[9] In 1868 the villages of Barton and Eastley were combined into one parish.[9] A parish church, the Church of the Resurrection, was built in the same year, at a cost of £2,300.[12] A local noted authoress of many novels, Charlotte Yonge, donated £500 towards the building of the church.[13] She was rewarded by being given the privilege to choose a name for the 'new' parish; either Barton or Eastly. She chose Eastly, but with a new modern spelling; Eastleigh.[13] In 1891 the L&SWR Carriage and Wagon Works from Nine Elms in London were transferred to Eastleigh. This was followed by the Nine Elms Locomotive Works which were moved there in 1909. These Railway Works were closed in 2006 but have since reopened, albeit on a smaller scale.

Eastleigh has seen a rapid and controlled expansion in residential, industrial and commercial development]] over recent years. The local borough of Eastleigh was ranked the "9th best place to live in the UK 2006" by a Channel 4 programme.[14]

Perhaps Eastleigh's most well known 'resident' is the Spitfire aeroplane which was built in Southampton and first flown from Eastleigh Aerodrome (now Southampton International Airport). A replica has recently been placed on the roundabout at the entrance to the airport.

Another war-winner was the cartoon-heroine "Jane", in the comic strips of that name in the Daily Mail during the War; she was modelled on Eastleigh girl Christabel Leighton-Porter.

Benny Hill before he became famous on television worked as a milkman for Hanns Dairies in Eastleigh on a horse-drawn milk-float, which gave him his inspiration for his hit record, ‘Ernie, the fastest milkman in the West’.[15][16] A road built where the dairy stood has been named Benny Hill Close, though many of the people who had bought the new homes there were not happy with the decision to find there new homes named after a smutty comic.[17]



Southampton Airport control tower

Southampton Airport, the 20th largest airport in the United Kingdom, is located in Eastleigh. Southampton Airport is served by a dedicated mainline railway station, Southampton Airport Parkway, which is the next station stop (5 minutes) from Eastleigh railway station.

The Swan Centre

The Swan Shopping Centre opened in 1989, and was built in the heart of the town's Victorian 'grid iron' road layout and blocked off Market Street and High Street - although through access was possible for pedestrians while the centre was open. The Swan Centre included a French-style café and a new library replacing the demolished Town Hall library in the High Street atrium.

The Centre originally contained a large shop unit which was reserved for a major clothing retailer but this never came to fruition and in the late 1990s, significant modifications were made to the 'Octogan' (the Market Street atrium).

The Swan Centre has been largely successful commercially, with most of the ground floor units being occupied,[18] however the retail units on the first floor have never been let. The High Street atrium used to have a crèche but now only has the library and centre management offices. In 2008, a project to extend the Swan Centre was started. The extension, at the eastern side of the centre saw a new structure constructed above the Tesco car park.[18] This extension completed in March/April 2009 with the opening of a cinema, bowling alley and several restaurants.[18]


Outside links


  1. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
  2. Fact file on the River Itchen
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Nicola Gosling: 1986, Page 4
  4. "Archaeology Object Database - Southampton City Council". sccwww1.southampton.gov.uk. Southampton City Council. http://sccwww1.southampton.gov.uk/archaeology/roman.asp. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  5. "VENTA BELGARVM". roman-britain.org. http://www.roman-britain.org/places/venta_belgarum.htm. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  6. "Hampshire Treasures: Volume 13 ( Eastleigh), Page 3 - Bishopstoke, Entry 04". hants.gov.uk. http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshiretreasures/entries/v13p003e04.html. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bishopstoke Parish Council: History". bishopstokepc.hampshire.org.uk. http://www.bishopstokepc.hampshire.org.uk/pages/history.html. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  8. "Chandlers Ford - Local History". chandlersfordonline.com. http://www.chandlersfordonline.com/history/history.htm. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "A History of Eastleigh". www.localhistories.org. http://www.localhistories.org/eastleigh.html. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  10. "Bishopstoke Parish Council website". bishopstokepc.hampshire.org.uk. http://www.bishopstokepc.hampshire.org.uk/. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  11. Williams, R. A. (1968) The London & South Western Railway, v. 1: The formative years, and v. 2: Growth and consolidation, David and Charles, ISBN 0-7153-4188-X; ISBN 0-7153-5940-1
  12. Clarke, Kathleen: 1995, Page 6
  13. 13.0 13.1 #Clarke69|Clarke, Kathleen: 1995, Page 7
  14. "BEST AND WORST PLACES TO LIVE 2006: Eastleigh". Channel 4. http://www.channel4.com/4homes/ontv/best&worst/2006/eastleigh.html. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  15. "BBC - Benny Hill saluted by the south". news.bbc.co.uk. 6 August 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/hampshire/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8186000/8186192.stm. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  16. "Eastleigh". southernlife.org.uk. http://www.southernlife.org.uk/eastleig.htm. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  17. "Benny Hill's no joke". Thisishampshire. Newsquest Media Group. 6 October 2003. http://archive.thisishampshire.net/2003/10/6/42492.html. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The Swan Centre


  • Clarke, Kathleen (1995). First. ed. Civic Pride: Engendered and Remembered. Eastleigh: K M Clarke B.A./ Boyatt Wood Press, Southampton. ISBN 0-9526565-0-7. 
  • Gosling, Nicola; Bowie, Gavin (1986). Estleie: from 1086-1936, the development of Eastleigh as a community. Winchester: Hampshire Record Office, Hampshire County Museums Service & Eastleigh Borough Council. 
  • Hill, Paul (2004). The Age of Æthelstan: Britain's Forgotten History. Stroud, United Kingdom: Tempus Publishing & The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-2566-5. 
  • Hillier, Barbara (January 1994). Chandler's Ford: A Pictorial History. Phillimore & Co. Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85033-896-6. 
  • Robertson, Kevin (7 April 2009). Steam Around Eastleigh. Stroud, United Kingdom: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-5035-3. 
  • Winkworth, Bob (January 2007). Eastleigh: the railway, the town, the people. Noodle Books. ISBN 978-0-9554110-0-7.