Southampton: Gateway to the World

For thousands of years people have arrived or left through Southampton, the Gateway city.

Some travelled as traders, some settled here, others arrived seeking refuge. Some merely passed through on their way to fight wars or flee persecution. The city today has a vibrant and culturally diverse population with origins across the UK and world.

Where did they come from?
Why did they leave their homes?
What new ideas, culture and languages did they bring with them?

This gallery introduces visitors to people who have passed through Southampton: from Roman traders bringing new merchandise, Saxon settlers setting up homes bringing in new trades and skills to  Hamwic, or Huguenot Protestants seeking refuge and Victorian industrialists with links across the British Empire.

Throughout the gallery, visitors encounter these individuals as well as present day residents through historic artefacts, film, audio and art installations. Digital touch-screens and hands-on activities invite visitors to interact and engage in exhibits and share their Southampton stories.

To help put the city into context, a large interactive map reveals the development of Southampton from small stone age settlements into the walled medieval town and through the ages to its present size.