I mentioned in a previous post that I had been fortunate enough to get a ride on a heritage bus tour of Southampton's docks. This is approaching Dock Gate 10 to what were called the New Docks and at the time was owned by Southern Railways.
Beyond the gate is the Rank Hovis Flour Mill. The mills, completed in October 1934, heralded the beginning of a new commercial life for Southampton Docks. It was the first building constructed on the reclaimed land, set aside by Southampton Railways for industrial development that was to establish Southampton as a major centre of industry and commerce.
The construction of the mill was very much due to the drive and business acumen of Joseph Rank – the founder of Rank Hovis McDougall. In the early 1930s he proposed building a mill at Southampton, which was met with short shrift by his codirectors who did not think it necessary. Unperturbed he defiantly said to his colleagues “Very Well, I’ll do it on my own” and, losing no time, he secured a site on the Southern Railway New Docks estate and set about building the most modern flour mill in the country
The "New Docks" opened in 1934; this was actually a single quay 7,542 ft (2.299 km) along with 400 acres of associated reclaimed land. At the western end of this was the seventh dry dock, the King George V Graving Dock, which opened in July 1933. The New Docks could accommodate the Queen Mary or the RMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest passenger ship to be built for 56 years. The New Docks are currently known as the Western Docks. West of the dry dock, a container port was developed from 1969–1997 in response to the increased use of containers.
An aarial view of the area: https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW020019
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