|Location||Southampton City Centre|
|Construction started||circa 1180|
|Owner||Southampton City Council|
The Bargate is a Grade I listed medieval gatehouse in the city centre of Southampton, England. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, it was the main gateway to the city. The building is a scheduled monument, which has served as a temporary exhibition and event space for Southampton Solent University since 2012.
The Bargate was built circa 1180, constructed of stone and flint. Alterations were made to the building around 1290, when large drum towers were added to the north side, with arrow slit windows.
A two-storey extension was made to the south side towards the end of the 13th century, with four windows lighting the upstairs room. Work was also carried out to the interior of the upper room during the 13th century, when the stone fireplaces were installed. The embattled north front was added to the building around 1400. In 1605, the city's curfew and alarm bell was added to the southwest corner of the building. In the middle of the four windows is a statue of George III in Roman dress, which replaced a wooden statue of Queen Anne.
The room above the gate itself has known several uses. It was originally used as the city's guildhall, until the 1770s. It was at this point that the city began to grow to the north of the gate. Also during the 18th century, five panels containing painted shields and the sundial were added to the building.
Following the establishment of Southampton's police force in February 1836, the upper room was used as a prison but by 1899, the increase in road traffic and the introduction of trams led to proposals for its demolition. It was reprieved at a subsequent council meeting but the issue arose again in 1914 and 1923. The Bargate was however eventually separated from the adjoining town walls in the 1930s using a scheme previously suggested in 1900. The monument again served as the police headquarters for the city during the Second World War. After being used as a museum, the Bargate was then closed to the public for several years.
Between 2006 and 2012, following refurbishment funded by the South East England Development Agency, the upper room served as The Bargate Monument Gallery, during which time 42 exhibitions featuring the work of over 250 artists were staged here.
- Southampton City Council: Listed buildings in Southampton Accessed 13 September 2007.
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- About the Bargate (Accessed 26 February 2008)
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- Hampshire Constabulary History Society: The Southampton Police Force 1836 - 1956 (Accessed 22 February 2007)
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- "The traffic at Southampton Bargate. An important scheme". Hampshire Advertiser. 9 June 1900. "the most practical solution would be the construction of a circus for carriage traffic round the Bar, or a crescent on one side of it"
- "bargate exhibition - ArtVaults in Context". Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30.