Southampton is the youngest city in Britain, having been granted this honour on February 11th, 1964. Yet it is, of course, an ancient settlement. Since the time of the Romans, Southampton has been the main trading port on the South Coast, a natural consequence of its position in a magnificent natural harbour at the head of the Solent at the confluence of the rivers Itchen and Test. The first borough charter still in existence was granted by King John in 1199 and makes the burgesses free from toll and all other duties throughout England. In the fifteenth century Southampton was the third port in the British Isles, coming next in importance after London and Bristol. The sixteenth century saw something of a decline when many merchants moved to London, but from the coming of the railway in the 1840s the fortunes of the port steadily revived. By 1964 the population was 208,710, and further large-scale expansion, both of the city and of the immediate neighbourhood, is certain. Besides the shipping trade, Southampton has a wide range of industries and is the largest commercial centre of southern England. It has two M.P.s, the constituencies being named after the rivers Itchen and Test.
KeywordsCouncil Member Labour Party Municipal Election Party Policy Borough Council
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