Hampshire
Hampshire
The flag of Hampshire
Flag of Hampshire
Hampshire within England
Geography
Status Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region: South East England
Area
- Total
- Admin. council
- Admin. area
Ranked 9th
3,769 km² (1,455 sq mi)
Ranked 8th
3,679 km² (1,420 sq mi)
Admin HQ: Winchester
County Flower: Tudor Rose
ISO 3166-2: GB-HAM
ONS code: 24
NUTS 3: UKJ33
Demographics
Population
- Total (2010 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
- Admin. pop.
Ranked 5th
1,743,700
463 /km2 (1,200 /sq mi)
Ranked 3rd
1,296,900
Ethnicity: 96.7% White
1.3% S. Asian
0.8% Mixed
1.2% Other
Politics
Hampshire County Council
http://www.hampshire.gov.uk
Executive Conservative
Members of Parliament
Districts
Hampshire Ceremonial Numbered.png
  1. Gosport
  2. Fareham
  3. Winchester
  4. Havant
  5. East Hampshire
  6. Hart
  7. Rushmoor
  8. Basingstoke and Deane
  9. Test Valley
  10. Eastleigh
  11. New Forest
  12. Southampton (Unitary)
  13. Portsmouth (Unitary)

Hampshire (Listeni/ˈhæmpʃɪər/ or /ˈhæmpʃər/; abbreviated Hants) is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force. The ceremonial county borders Dorset to the west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey from the north-east, and West Sussex to east. It is partly bounded to the south by the coast of the English Channel and The Solent. Hampshire is the largest county in South East England and the third largest shire county in the United Kingdom. Hampshire has also lost the most amount of land during the Local Government Act 1972 boundary changes throughout England. At its size peak in 1889, Hampshire was the fifth largest county in England.

It has an overall area of 3,700 square kilometres (1,400 sq mi),[1] with its widest points being approximately 86 kilometres (53 mi) east–west and 76 kilometres (47 mi) north–south.[2] Hampshire's tourist attractions include many seaside resorts, the motor museum at Beaulieu, with national parks in both New Forest and the South Downs (covering some 45% of the county). Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports, Southampton and Portsmouth, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as the birthplace of engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Contents

History

The chalk downland of the South Downs and southern edges of Salisbury Plain were settled in the neolithic, and these settlers built hill forts such as Winklebury and may have farmed the valleys of Hampshire. Hampshire was part of an area named Gwent or Y Went by the Celts, which also covered areas of Somerset and Wiltshire. In the Roman invasion of Britain, Hampshire was one of the first areas to fall to the invading forces. The southern portion of the county known as the Meon and in particular the valley of the River Hamble was occupied by Jutish tribes from perhaps as early as 495. Later West Saxon migrants absorbed the Jutish tribes within Wessex after 530.

Some scholars believe there is evidence to show the traditional county boundaries of Hampshire may date back to the years of the original West Saxon settlement in circa 519. It is likely that both Winchester and Silchester would have fallen to the West Saxons between the years 508 and 514. A later thrust up the Hampshire Avon towards Old Sarum in 519 appears to have been checked by the Britons at Charford. The historian Albany Major in Early Wars of Wessex makes the case that the borders of the traditional county of Hampshire probably match those of the first West Saxon kingdom established by Cerdic and his son.

Evidence of this comes from the border between Hampshire and Berkshire which follows generally the line of the Roman road that ran east and west through Silchester, but it is deflected in the north in a rough semicircle in such a way as to include the whole of the district around the town. He argues that the capture of Silchester, of which no record has been passed down to us, was not the work of Mercian Angles but of the West Saxons probably striking north from Winchester and possibly acting in concert with a separate force making its way up the Thames Valley towards Reading. Silchester was left desolate after its fall and it is most improbable that any regard would have been paid to its side of the border had the fixing of the county boundary been made at a later period.[3]

Study of the borders between Hampshire and Wiltshire also seem to suggest the West Saxons' westward advance was checked by about AD 519. This would corroborate the date given in the Annales Cambriae for the crucial British victory at the Battle of Mons Badonicus in AD 517 which is believed to have stopped further Anglo-Saxon encroachments in south-west and midland Britain for at least a generation.

Hampshire was one of the first Saxon shires, recorded in 755 as Hamtunscir,[4] but for two centuries represented the western end of Saxon England, as advances into Dorset and Somerset were fought off by the Britons. The name is derived from the port of Southampton which was known previously as simply "Hampton". After the Saxons advanced further west Hampshire became the centre of the Kingdom of Wessex, and many Saxon kings are buried at Winchester. A statue in Winchester celebrates the powerful King Alfred, who stabilised the region in the 9th century.

After the Norman Conquest the county was favoured by Norman kings who established the New Forest as a hunting forest. The county was recorded in the Domesday Book divided into 44 hundreds. From the 12th century the ports grew in importance, fuelled by trade with the continent, wool and cloth manufacture in the county, and the fishing industry, and a shipbuilding industry was established.

Over several centuries a series of castles and forts were constructed along the coast of the Solent to defend the harbours at Southampton and Portsmouth. These include the Roman Portchester Castle which overlooks Portsmouth Harbour, and a series of forts built by Henry VIII including Hurst Castle, situated on a sand spit at the mouth of the Solent, Calshot Castle on another spit at the mouth of Southampton Water, and Netley Castle. Southampton and Portsmouth remained important harbours when rivals, such as Poole and Bristol declined, as they are amongst the few locations that combine shelter with deep water. Southampton has been host to many famous ships, including the Mayflower and the Titanic, the latter being staffed largely by natives of Southampton.

Hampshire played a large role in the Second World War due to its large Royal Navy harbour at Portsmouth, the army camp at Aldershot and the military Netley Hospital on Southampton Water, as well as its proximity to the army training ranges on Salisbury Plain and the Isle of Purbeck. Supermarine, the designers of the Spitfire and other military aircraft, were based in Southampton, which led to severe bombing of the city. Aldershot remains one of the British Army's main permanent camps. Farnborough is a major centre for the Aviation industry.

The Isle of Wight has traditionally been treated as part of Hampshire for some purposes, but has been administratively independent for over a century, obtaining a county council of its own in 1890. The Isle of Wight became a full ceremonial county in 1974. Apart from a shared police force there are now no formal administrative links between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, though many organisations still combine Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch also fall within the traditional county of Hampshire, but were ceded to Dorset in the local government reorganisation of 1974.

United States

Hampshire was the departure point of some of those later to settle on the east coast of what is now the United States, in the 17th century, giving its name in particular to the state of New Hampshire. The counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton in Virginia reflect the origins of some of the earliest Jamestown settlers.[5]

Southampton from Netley Hospital

Governance

With the exceptions of the unitary authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, Hampshire is governed by a county council based in Winchester, with several non-metropolitan districts beneath it, and for the majority of the county, parish councils or town councils at the local level. The districts of Hampshire are the following:

The county also contains a national park, covering the New Forest, and therefore governance of this area is carried out by a national park authority as well as the New Forest District Council. There is now a new national park for the South Downs which covers the chalk downlands from Winchester eastwards which embraces a large number of local authority areas across three counties, Hampshire, West and East Sussex.

Economy

The Beaulieu River

Hampshire is a relatively affluent county, with a Gross domestic product (GDP) of £32.3 billion in 2005 (£22.4 billion when excluding Southampton and Portsmouth).[6] In 2006, Hampshire had a GDP per capita of £19,300, comparable with the UK as a whole and slightly below the South East England figure of £19,600.[7]

Portsmouth and Winchester have the highest job densities in the county, and therefore there is a high level of commuting into the cities. Southampton has the highest number of total jobs and commuting both into and out of the city is high. The county has a lower level of unemployment than the national average, at 1.9% when the national rate was 3.3%, and as of March 2005 has fallen to 1.1%. 39% are employed by large firms, compared with a national average of 42%. Hampshire has a considerably higher than national average employment in high-tech industries, but average levels in knowledge based industry. 25.21% of the population work in the public sector.[8]

Many rural areas of Hampshire have traditionally been reliant on agriculture, though the county was less agricultural than most surrounding counties, and was mostly concentrated on dairy farming. The significance of agriculture as an employer and wealth creator has declined since the first half of the 20th century and agriculture currently employs 1.32% of the population.

The New Forest area is a National Park, and tourism is a significant economic segment in this area, with 7.5 million visitors in 1992.[9] The South Downs and the cities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Winchester also attract tourists to the county. Southampton Boat Show is one of the biggest annual events held in the county, and attracts visitors from throughout the country. In 2003 the county had a total of 31 million day visits, and 4.2 million longer stays.[10]

The cities of Southampton and Portsmouth are both significant ports, with Southampton handling a large proportion of the national container freight and Portsmouth housing a large Royal Navy base. The docks have traditionally been large employers in these cities, though again mechanisation has forced diversification of the economy.

Demographics

Southampton Docks

At the Census 2001[11] the ceremonial county recorded a population of 1,644,249, of which 1,240,103 were in the administrative county, 217,445 were in the unitary authority of Southampton, and 186,701 were in Portsmouth. The population of the administrative county grew 5.6% from the 1991 census, Southampton grew 6.2% while Portsmouth remained unchanged, compared with 2.6% for England and Wales as a whole. Eastleigh and Winchester grew fastest at 9% each. The age structure of the population is similar to the national average.

96.73% of residents were white British, falling to 92.37% in Southampton. The significant ethnic minorities are Asian at 1.34% and mixed race at 0.84%. 0.75% of residents were migrants from outside the UK. 73.86% stated their religion as Christianity and 16.86% were not religious. Significant minority religions were Islam (0.76%) and Hinduism (0.33%).

Education

The school system in Hampshire (including Southampton and Portsmouth) is comprehensive. Geographically inside the Hampshire LEA are twenty four independent schools, Southampton has three and Portsmouth has four. Few Hampshire schools have sixth forms, which varies by district council. There are 14 further education colleges within the Hampshire LEA, including 5 graded as 'outstanding' by Ofsted: Alton College, Farnborough Sixth Form College, Peter Symonds College, South Downs College and Queen Mary's College,

There are four universities, namely the University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Winchester (which also had a small campus in Basingstoke) until 2011.

Politics

Hampshire is divided into eighteen parliamentary constituencies. Fourteen of these are represented by Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs), two by the Liberal Democrats and two by Labour. Labour represents the largest urban centre, holding both Southampton constituencies (Test and Itchen). The Liberal Democrats hold Portsmouth South and Eastleigh.

The Conservatives represent a mix of rural and urban areas: Aldershot, Basingstoke, East Hampshire, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Meon Valley, North East Hampshire, North West Hampshire, New Forest East, New Forest West, Portsmouth North, Romsey and Southampton North and Winchester.

The Isle of Wight returns its own Member to the House of Commons and, in this way, it is often said[citation needed] that Hampshire returns nineteen Members of Parliament despite Hampshire and the Isle of Wight having been separated administratively and ceremonially for some time.

At the 2009 local elections for Hampshire County Council, the Conservative Party had a 47.72% share of the votes, the Liberal Democrats had 32.89% and Labour 7.07%. As a result, 51 Conservatives, 25 Liberal Democrats, one Labour and one Community Campaign councillor sit on the County Council.[12] Southampton City Council, which is entirely independent, has 26 Conservative, 14 Labour and 8 Liberal Democrat councillors.[13] Portsmouth City Council, also independent, has 23 Liberal Democrat, 17 Conservative and two Labour councillors.[14]

Hampshire also has its own County Youth Council (HCYC)[15] and is an independent youth-run organisation. It meets once a month around Hampshire and aims to give the young people of Hampshire a voice. It also has numerous district and borough youth councils including Basingstoke's "Basingstoke & Deane Youth Council".[16] Along with the Youth council for the Test Valley District, youthExpress.

Wildlife

Hampshire has wildlife typical of the island of Great Britain. The River Test has a growing number of otters, although other areas of the county have quite low numbers. There are reports of Wild Boar across the county. The New Forest is known for its ponies, which have free rein over much of the area. One distinguishing feature is that Hampshire has a large free roaming herd of Red Deer, including more than 6,500 stags during busy seasons. The stag population is protected by the government and hunting is prohibited.[citation needed]

Physical geography

Hampshire's geology falls into two categories. In the south, along the coast is the "Hampshire Basin", an area of relatively non-resistant Eocene and Oligocene clays and gravels which are protected from sea erosion by the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, and the Isle of Wight. These low, flat lands support heathland and woodland habitats, a large area of which form part of the New Forest. The New Forest has a mosaic of heathland, grassland, coniferous and deciduous woodland habitats that host diverse wildlife. The forest is protected as a national park, limiting development and agricultural use to protect the landscape and wildlife. Large areas of the New Forest are open common lands kept as a grassland plagioclimax by grazing animals, including domesticated cattle, pigs and horses, and several wild deer species. Erosion of the weak rock and sea level change flooding the low land has carved several large estuaries and rias, notably the 16 km (9.9 mi) long[17] Southampton Water and the large convoluted Portsmouth Harbour. The Isle of Wight lies off the coast of Hampshire where the non-resistant rock has been eroded away, forming the Solent.

In the north and centre of the county the substrate is the Southern England Chalk Formation of Salisbury Plain and the South Downs. These are high hills with steep slopes where they border the clays to the south. The hills dip steeply forming a scarp onto the Thames valley to the north, and dip gently to the south. The highest point in the county is Pilot Hill, which reaches the height of 286 m (938 ft). The highest village in Hampshire is Bentworth, near Alton. The downland supports a calcareous grassland habitat, important for wild flowers and insects. A large area of the downs is now protected from further agricultural damage by the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Itchen and Test are trout rivers that flow from the chalk through wooded valleys into Southampton Water. Nestled in a valley on the downs is Selborne, and the countryside surrounding the village was the location of Gilbert White's pioneering observations on natural history. Hampshire's county flower is the Dog Rose.[18]

Hampshire has a milder climate than most areas of the British Isles,[19] being in the far south with the climate stabilising effect of the sea, but protected against the more extreme weather of the Atlantic coast. Hampshire has a higher average annual temperature than the UK average at 9.8 to 12 °C (50 to 54 °F),[20] average rainfall at 741–1,060 millimetres (29.2–42 in) per year,[21] and higher than average sunshine at over 1541 hours per year.[22]

Cities, towns, and villages

New apartment blocks in the rapidly changing Basingstoke

Hampshire's county town is Winchester, a historic city that was once the capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex and of England until the Norman conquest of England. The port cities of Southampton and Portsmouth were split off as independent unitary authorities in 1997, although they are still included in Hampshire for ceremonial purposes. Fareham, Gosport and Havant have grown into a conurbation that stretches along the coast between the two main cities. The three cities are all university cities, Southampton being home to the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University (formerly Southampton Institute), Portsmouth to the University of Portsmouth, and Winchester to the University of Winchester (formerly known as University College Winchester; King Alfred's College).The northeast of the county houses the Blackwater Valley conurbation which includes the towns of Farnborough, Aldershot, Blackwater and Yateley and borders both Berkshire and Surrey.

Hampshire lies outside the green belt area of restricted development around London, but has good railway and motorway links to the capital, and in common with the rest of the south-east has seen the growth of dormitory towns since the 1960s. Basingstoke, in the northern part of this county, has grown from a country town into a business and finance centre. Aldershot, Portsmouth, and Farnborough have strong military associations with the Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force respectively. The county also includes several market towns: Alton, Andover, Bishop's Waltham, Lymington, New Milton, Petersfield, Ringwood, Romsey, and Whitchurch.

Cities and Towns by population size: (2001 census)

For the complete list of settlements see List of places in Hampshire.

Culture, arts and sport

Due to Hampshire's long association with pigs and boars, natives of the county have been known as Hampshire hogs since the 18th century.[23] Hampshire has literary connections, being the birthplace of authors including Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and the residence of others, such as Charles Kingsley. Austen lived most of her life in Hampshire, where her father was rector of Steventon, Hampshire, and wrote all of her novels in the county. Hampshire also has many visual art connections, claiming the painter John Everett Millais as a native, and the cities and countryside have been the subject of paintings by L. S. Lowry and J. M. W. Turner. Selborne houses the Oates museum for the explorer Lawrence Oates, and entertainers Peter Sellers, Benny Hill, Carl Barat and Craig David.

Hampshire is the home of many orchestras, bands and groups. Musician Laura Marling hails originally from Hampshire. The Hampshire County Youth Choir is based in Winchester, and has had successful tours of Canada and Italy in recent years. The Hampshire County Youth Orchestra (with its associated chamber orchestra and string orchestra) is based at Thornden Hall.

The Rose Bowl

The game of cricket was largely developed in south-east England, with one of the first teams forming at Hambledon in 1750, with the Hambledon Club creating many of crickets early rules. Hampshire County Cricket Club today is a successful first-class team, captained by Dimitri Mascarenhas. The main county ground is the Rose Bowl, which has hosted several ODIs and following a redevelopment of the ground, it will host its first Test match in 2011. Notable players include current England batsman Kevin Pietersen. Hampshire have also been captained by former Australian Test leg-spinner Shane Warne.

Hampshire's relatively safe waters have allowed the county to develop as one of the busiest sailing areas in the country, with many yacht clubs and several manufacturers on the Solent. The sport of windsurfing was invented at Hayling Island, which is to the south east of the county.[24]

Fratton Park as viewed from the Milton End in 2006

Hampshire has several association football teams, including Championship sides Southampton F.C., Portsmouth F.C. and npower League Two side Aldershot Town F.C.. Portsmouth F.C. and Southampton F.C. have traditionally been fierce rivals. Portsmouth won the FA Cup in 1939 and 2008 and Football League title twice, in 1949 and 1950, but have spent much of the last 50 years outside the top division and at one stage spent two seasons in the Fourth Division (the lowest division in senior football). Southampton, meanwhile, won the FA Cup in 1976, reached the final in 2003 and spent 27 unbroken years in England's top division (1978–2005). Aldershot F.C. became members of the Football League in 1932 but never progressed beyond the Third Division and on 25 March 1992 were declared bankrupt and forced to resign from the league. A new football club, Aldershot Town F.C. was formed almost immediately, and started life in Division 3 of the Isthmian League. In 2008 Aldershot Town were crowned the Conference National champions and were promoted into the Football League.

Hampshire also has a number of Non League football teams. Basingstoke Town, Eastleigh, Farnborough and Havant & Waterlooville play in the Conference South. Bashley play in the Southern Football League Premier Division.

Thruxton Circuit is Hampshire's premier motor racing course with the National Motor Museum being located in the New Forest adjacent to Beaulieu Palace House.

The Farnborough Airshow is a popular international event, held biennially.

Media

The county's news is covered on BBC TV by BBC South Today from its studios in Southampton. ITV news covers the county as part of ITV Meridian. Countless commercial radio stations cover the area, with BBC Radio Solent looking after the majority of the county and BBC Surrey keeping across in North-East Hampshire. University journalism students also broadcast bulletins for local areas – such as Winol in Winchester.

Transport

Southampton Airport, with an accompanying main line railway station, is an international airport situated in the Borough of Eastleigh, close to Swaythling in the city of Southampton. Cross-channel and cross-Solent ferries link the county to the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands and continental Europe. The South Western Main Line (operated by South West Trains) railway from London to Weymouth runs through Winchester and Southampton, and the Wessex Main Line from Bristol to Portsmouth also runs through the county as does the Portsmouth Direct Line.

The M3 motorway connects the county to London. The construction of the Twyford Down cutting near Winchester caused major controversy by cutting through a series of ancient trackways (the Dongas) and other features of archaeological significance. The M27 motorway serves a bypass for the major conurbations and as a link to other settlements on the south coast. Other important roads include the A3, A31 and A36.The roads in the county are known for their heavy traffic, especially around Southampton and Portsmouth and the M27 and A27.

The county has a high level of car ownership, with only 15.7% having no access to a private car compared with 26.8% for England and Wales. The county has a lower than average use of trains (3.2% compared with 4.1% for commuting) and buses (3.2% to 7.4%) but a higher than average use of bicycles (3.5% to 2.7%) and cars (63.5% to 55.3%).[25]

Hampshire formerly had several canals, but most of these have been abandoned and their routes built over. Both the Chichester Canal and Basingstoke Canal have been extensively restored, and are now navigable for most of their routes, but the Salisbury and Southampton Canal, Andover Canal and Portsmouth and Arundel Canal have all disappeared. The Itchen Navigation (linking Southampton and Winchester) is in process of restoration, primarily as a wildlife corridor.

Emergency services

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.itisholdings.com/downloadfile.asp?id=72
  2. ^ "map scales, handy facts, Hampshire". Geog.port.ac.uk. http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/hantsmap/hantsmap/hscale.htm. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Major, Albany F Early Wars of Wessex (1912, 1978) p.17
  4. ^ Grant, Russell (1989). The Real Counties of Britain. Oxford: Lennard Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 1-85291-071-2. 
  5. ^ Isle of Wight Historical Review Isle of Wight Plantation.
  6. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2008. Summary figures – State of the economy.
  7. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2008. Economic performance – State of the economy.
  8. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2004. Profile of Hampshire.
  9. ^ New Forest District Council, n.d. "Tourism questions and answers."
  10. ^ Hampshire County Council, United Kingdom Tourism Survey & GB Leisure Day Visits Survey, 2004. "Tourism Facts and Figures."
  11. ^ Office for National Statistics & Hampshire County Council, 2003. Census 2001 data
  12. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2009. Local election results.
  13. ^ Southampton City Council, 2009. Local election results.
  14. ^ Portsmouth City Council, 2008. Local election results.
  15. ^ "Hampshire County Youth Council". Hcycweb.net. 22 April 2009. http://www.hcycweb.net/. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  16. ^ "Basingstoke & Deane Youth Council". Bdycweb.net. http://www.bdycweb.net/. Retrieved 3 May 2009. 
  17. ^ "THE INTERTIDAL LAMELLIBRANCHS OF SOUTHAMPTON WATER, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO CERASTODERMA EDULE AND C. GLAUCUM – BARNES 40 (5): 413 – Journal of Molluscan Studies". Mollus.oxfordjournals.org. 4 November 2010. http://mollus.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pdf_extract/40/5/413. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  18. ^ BBC News, 5 May 2004. UK counties choose floral emblems.
  19. ^ McKie, Robin (15 October 2006). "Season of mists? How autumn lost its cool". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2006/oct/15/meteorology.uknews. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  20. ^ Met Office, 2000. Annual average temperature for the United Kingdom.
  21. ^ Met Office, 2000. Annual average rainfall for the United Kingdom.
  22. ^ Met Office, 2000. Annual average sunshine for the United Kingdom.
  23. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2003. "Press Release: Hampshire's Hog has a home."
  24. ^ "Windsurfing International Inc. v Tabur Marine (GB) Ltd. (1985) RPC 59". SLCC – Scots Law Courseware. The University of Strathclyde. http://slcc.strath.ac.uk/scotslawcourse/ip/ip/patent/windsurf.html. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 
  25. ^ Hampshire County Council, 2005. Facts and Figures website.

References

External links


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