On 11th Nov 2018 at 1.45pm on BBC1 Songs of Praise Remembrance special from Southampton.  Katherine Jenkins interviews Shirley born, FoSJP member, Don Smith.  Don shares memories of Spitfire production in Shirley (one of the Shadow factories was the now Shirley Parish Hall, then a Temperance Hall).

During WW2 the RAF and WAAF operated a barrage balloon in the then Shirley Recreation Ground that helped protect these Shirley shadow factories from enemy attack from the skies.  At the Nov History meeting we were loaned a book called, ‘Up She Goes’ by Joan Vass, a novel based on the memories of a Shirley Rec WAAF barrage balloon operator

Our Thoughts Go to Joan’s Family at This Sad Time.

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden loss of one of our longstanding FoSJP members, Joan Rogers, a former nurse who lived in Shirley.  She was a regular attendee of our history talks and park events and will be remembered for her welcoming smile and generosity of heart.  Our thoughts go to Joan’s family at this sad time.

There will be a service celebrating Joan’s life,  on Friday, 16thNovember at 12.45pm in St. James’ Church.  All are welcome.

Shirley Local History Group Autumn Talk 10th Series 2018

October – December 2018

  • Sunday 7th October Title: The Theatre of the World’ a story of Tudor Southampton – an author’s journey‘ Speaker: Dr Cheryl Butler
  • Sunday 4th November Title: ‘Snippets of Shirley Life During WW1.’ Speaker: Michaela Lawler-Levene
  • Sunday 2nd December Title: ‘Notable and Notorious Women of Southampton’ Speaker: Sandra Lochead

Talks held 3-5pm at Shirley Parish Hall, (corner of Colebrook Avenue/ St James Road, Shirley SO15 5NS.

  • Talks are free.
  • Refreshments available.
  • Wheelchair accessible.

The history group is always grateful for assistance with the baking and serving of refreshments and donations for the raffle.  Baskets for making food hampers and tinned food / bottled drink donations are gratefully accepted in November ready for the December raffle.  (Please bring to the Shirley Parish Hall Nov meeting or leave with Theresa at the Shirley Parish Office, 133 Church Street).

Thank you for all the support received these past 10 years.

Contact email: Website:

Shirley Local History Group – New Year & Spring Events

Memory Lane – Friday 26th January

On Friday 26th January, we held another “Memory Lane” session in the Community Room at St.James’ Park. This was an opportunity for local people to meet, share memories, stories, and photographs, and reminisce about past times in Shirley.

Forthcoming Events…

Fri 23 Mar 10.50am start

Group Visit to Hartley Library & Archives
Join us on a group visit to look at the wealth of local history information at the University of Southampton archives. We will meet in the library foyer at 10.50am.

As the visit is limited to 20 people, please reserve a place for this trip.
Now only 4 places remaining!

Sun 29 Apr 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Historical Walk Around Southampton Common
Following Mary South’s entertaining Autumn Talk on the history of Southampton Common, come along and join Mary on an historical walk around Southampton Common. Meet at the Hawthorns Visitor Centre at 2pm. Duration approximately 2 hours.

Please reserve a space as the walk is limited to 25 people.
Now only 6 places remaining!

Please contact us on or via the Shirley Parish Office to register your interest in these events, and please let us know if you need a lift to either event.

Forthcoming History Events

The Shirley Local History Group are currently busy planning activities for early 2018 and we hope to include the following:

  • Group tour of the Hartley Library including a visit to the Archives
  • Further Memory Lane session to share local memories and reminiscences
  • Walking “History Tour” of Southampton Common

We’ll circulate dates and more information for next year’s activities once confirmed. In the meantime, please get in touch with us if you’re interested in these or any other of our activities.

Keep an eye out on this page for news of forthcoming events!

Local History Events

Those of you with an interest in local history might like to keep an eye on this section, where we’ll let you know about non‑FoSJP history‑related events in and around Southampton.

Shirley Local History Group

January 2016 Onwards

After the completion of the Shirley Heritage Project in 2015, the members of the FoSJP History Research Group decided to establish the Shirley Local History Group in order to both continue and extend historical research beyond the immediate environs of St.James’ Park, to ensure that the valuable information that had been collected was retained, was built upon further, and would continue to be shared with a wider audience.

The Shirley Local History Group is still affiliated with FoSJP, but receives no external funding, instead relying entirely on voluntary donations, for example from group visits and talks, including the Autumn public history talks from Autumn 2016 onwards.

For more information on forthcoming History events, or if you’d like to find out more about Shirley Local History Group activities, please contact the team on

Extra Researchers Needed

Through our recent archive and local studies visits, we’ve discovered a wealth of archive material relating to the history of Shirley which is waiting to be explored further!

In particular, we’d like help:

  • with looking at further information on proposed local railways;
  • with reading deeds and related documents which are helping us to find out about Shirley landowners, architects, and builders.

No prior experience required – just an interest in our local area!

If you’d be interested in joining in with research activities, then please drop us a line