What’s on offer in the village of West End
- Credit: Archant
With the home of Hampshire cricket on the doorstep, parkland to explore and Southampton city centre practically next door West End has all the modern conveniences, but manages to retain that village feel, says Claire Pitcher
Grabbing a bite
There are a few pubs to try in West End, starting with West End Brewery on the High Street, which serves-up real ale and classic pub food. Book on 02380 474796. For something light, West End has the wonderful community, Hatch Café, based in the Parish Centre. They have homemade cakes, sandwiches, soup, teas and coffees. They’re open every day except Sunday.
Did you know?
The village Museum and Heritage Centre was originally a fire station designed by Herbert Collins. He was a local architect and wanted the fire station to match the houses close by in Orchards Way, which is now a Conservation Area. The museum contains an ever-growing archive of local material including maps, photos and directories. The museum is open on Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. Find out more at westendlhs.co.uk/museum.
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Two notable past residents of West End were caught up in the Titanic disaster. The first, Sir Arthur Henry Rostron, is buried in the Old Burial Ground in the village. He rescued 706 passengers and crew when RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. He took the rescued people on to his ship, RMS Carpathia, and was awarded many honours. There is a plaque for him, as well as Titanic crew member James Jukes (also from West End), at the local museum. Henry James Jukes was born in the village and was part of the engineering department. He died aged 35 when he dived into the Atlantic Ocean, going down with the ship. There is a housing development in West End named after him, ‘Jukes Walk’.
Dates for your diary
West End holds a carnival in June each year. With arena performances, a procession, fete and plenty of entertainment it’s always popular with locals and visitors. Keep up to date on next year’s event at westend-pc.gov.uk.
The 2017 West End Christmas lights switch on will be on Friday 24 November.
Town & country
There may be stadiums, retail parks and main roads surrounding West End, but there’s no shortage of green spaces to explore. Hatch Grange has 27 acres of woods and meadows to discover, plus Itchen Valley Country Park is a short distance away with waymarked trails. The High Wood Barn in the park has interactive displays, a gift shop and café too.
Curator of West End Museum and Heritage Centre, Nigel Wood has lived in the village for almost 22 years: “I liked the area having lived here for a couple of years in the mid 1970’s,” he says. Retired now, Nigel is also a member of the West End Local History Society. “It was formed in 1996 and the local history museum and heritage centre in 1997 in the Old Fire Station on the corner of Orchards Way and High Street. Our society was formed because so many local old buildings and history was being lost to re-development and we felt it was important to record the changes.”
To him, West End still feels like a village: “People often refer to ‘going up the village’, it’s a nice place to live in spite of the increase in traffic through the centre. Hatch Grange in the centre of West End is a beautiful parkland, once the grounds of a grand house and now owned by the Parish Council as a local community park. It boasts one of the best examples of a ‘Liquidambar’ tree in the country. The home of Hampshire County Cricket, the Ageas Bowl, is in West End for all those loving their cricket as well as the many live concerts held there.”
Pop concerts aren’t necessarily top of Nigel’s things to do in his free time however: “As I’m retired I spend my time enjoying my history based hobbies as well as my duties with the society and the many varied community social events that are held in West End.”