Great start to 2018!

2018 has so far proved brilliant for Friends of St. James’ Park.

In the first months, we won two grants for our Dementia project! We are in a great place and are looking forward to offering two information sessions on how to become Dementia Friends and have started a fortnightly drop-in session for people living with dementia.


Thanks to Awards for All which is part of the National Lottery and Southampton City Council for believing in us! We are very excited to start working on the Dementia Project and continue supporting our local community.

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!

What’s Happening in St.James’ Park?

Click on an event link to find out more about it.

Regular Events

Mondays (fortnightly) 1pm -3 pm Dementia Drop in
Tuesday (fortnightly) 11am – 1pm Serendipity Group
Wednesday (2nd & 4th in the month) 1pm – 3pm Gardening Group
Monthly (First Friday in every month) 10am -12 pm Legal Clinic

Future Events

Sat 6 July 2019 10am – 4pm St. James Park Summer Festival
Sun 22 Sept 2019 11am – 3pm

St. James’ Park Dog Show and family fun day 2019

St.James’ Parkway – Fact or Fiction?

Was St.James’ Park almost a railway station?

Back in 1881, the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway drew up a plan for a major scheme to extend their railway from Winchester to Southampton, with extra stations at Chilworth, Shirley, and at a town centre site now occupied by West Quay.

Although this extension never happened, there has been much debate amongst local historians as to whether the site now occupied by St.James’ Park would instead have been the site of Shirley’s local railway station.

Perhaps you could have caught the train there to go shopping at West Quay!

What do the History books say?

In his memoirs, Town Engineer James Lemon writes about the public meeting that was called on 4th May 1881 at the Southampton Skating Rink, to discuss the proposals for a railway extension to Southampton. The Mayor, Mr JH Cooksey, presented a signed requisition of 2,389 signatures in favour of the railway and £25,000 in pledges. The then town of Southampton was wholly behind the expansion, and the vote was unanimously in favour of the new railway.

The line would have passed up Hill Lane and cut across to meet Winchester Road. The Shirley station could have been close to where St.James’ Park is now located. TB Sands, 1971, writes that it would have passed near St.James’ Church – though he mentions that it joins Winchester Road near the junction where Wilton Road is today (north-east of the Park on our map). Opinion on where in Shirley the station was going to be is divided – though it’s local belief that the Park was going to be a railway station.

Work did begin on the railway; Sands states that most of the work was in the Hill lane area. Bob Culley remarks on evidence of an embankment near the convent in Hill Lane, and he suggests that the area where The Dell used to be situated was going to be a goods yard. Both Culley and Sands mention a viaduct that was to be built to carry the DN&S Railway over the main road in Southampton. However, the final destination station is confusing: Culley mentions a station near the Royal Pier – we have been told near West Quay – and Sands states that the DN&S Railway just bought land from Wyndham Place near the current Central Station – suggesting that it was going to link with the London & South Western Railway at Southampton.

Southampton spent about £100,000 on preparations for the railway line, but in October 1883 the works stopped, and when James Staat Forbes became Chairman of the DN&S Railway in February 1884, his first act was to stop all works in Southampton (Sands, 1971). The scheme for the Southampton to Winchester extension was discarded, but the road names by the Park still have a link – Newbury Road and Didcot Road are named after the railway line; Stratton Road was known as Station Road up to 1903, though this is believed to be named after the Police Station that was also situated on this road.

History Exhibition – Saturday 16th May 2009

Shirley Parish Hall played host to an exhibition of historical information related to the Park and its surrounding area, organised by Michaela Lawler-Levene, our FoSJP History Coordinator.

Thank you to everyone who attended – we hope you enjoyed the evening and learnt something new!

Dementia Friends – our Local Champion!

Dementia Friends is a social action movement that aims to improve society’s understanding of dementia through just five key messages. There are thousands of Dementia Friends Champions – we’re very pleased to announce that our Community Volunteer CoordinatorMarina Murphy, is now one of them.

As a Dementia Friends Champion, Marina will spread these messages to friends, family, and members of our community through Information Sessions which are filled with activities and discussions. She’ll give you everything you need – just bring your enthusiasm!

FoSJP is also part of a Shirley Dementia Friendly Community, so Marina becoming a Champion will help us to spread the word. So please look out for Information Sessions or contact Marina on or leave a message on 023 8077 9763.

For general information, support, and advice about dementia, please visit