High Street, Hythe
Hythe shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Hythe and Dibden|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||New Forest East|
|Website||Hythe and Dibden Parish Council|
Hythe (//) is a town near Southampton, Hampshire, England. It is located by the shore of Southampton Water, and has a ferry service connecting it to Southampton. Hythe has a small shopping area, a pier, and a marina for yachts.
Hythe has a small shopping area clustered around its High Street, which includes a supermarket, public library, several charity shops, and small independent shops. The pier railway and ferry service across Southampton Water to Southampton operates at half-hourly intervals throughout the day, and is the oldest working pier train in the world.
Hythe's position makes it a good vantage point for viewing ocean liners arriving and departing at the port of Southampton, which attracts ship-watchers to the area. Hythe has a marina, at which a large number of yachts and boats are moored. Large and expensive houses are situated around the marina, overlooking the waterside.
Ewart Court on Jones Lane in Hythe is home to Hythe and Dibden Cricket Club. The club was formed in 1948 with the amalgamation of The Hythe Club and The Dibden Purlieu Club. The Hythe club was formed in 1860.
Hythe was home to the US Army between 1968 and 2006 at RAF Hythe. Following its closure, RAF Hythe was bought by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), who turned the site into a marine business park, Hythe Marine Park. Every year, usually around August, the marina hosts the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) Great Waterside Raft Race, where teams race rafts in the Solent Estuary to raise money in support of the Hythe RNLI branch.
The name Hythe means landing-place or haven. Hythe is recorded in a Parliamentary roll from 1293. The Hythe ferry ("Hitheferye") to Southampton is marked on a map by Christopher Saxton of 1575, and on a map by John Harrison in 1788. Hythe was part of the parish of Fawley, although it became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1841. The current church, of Saint John the Baptist, was erected in 1874. It is of red brick with Bath Stone dressings. There were at one time stocks in the village.
The Hampshire Advertiser, 23 Dec 1837, reports the death of John Richards of Hythe (1764-1837) and notes 'the father of the deceased founded the neat little village of Hythe: previous to his time there was no building there of greater pretensions than the huts of a few fishermen. The elder Mr Richards, when he established a ship-building yard at Heath (as it was then called) built houses for his workmen and the village soon sprang up.'
At the beginning of the 20th century, Hythe was a "little fishing village"; with an hourly steamboat service to Southampton, and with the clubhouse of Hythe Yacht Club at the end of the pier. Hythe remained part of the civil parish of Fawley until 1913, when it became part of the parish of Dibden. Hythe was a village up to the 1950s, but the expansion of Fawley Refinery led to a demand for more houses for workers, and Hythe and Dibden Purlieu were allowed to expand into a small town. In 1983, following the growth of Hythe, the parish of Dibden was renamed to Hythe and Dibden, to reflect the importance of Hythe as a new focal point of the Parish.
British Power Boat Company
The British Power Boat Company, which manufactured racing boats and later military patrol boats, was formed on 30 September 1927 when Hubert Scott-Paine bought and renamed Hythe's shipyard, with the intention of transforming it into one of the most modern mass production boat building yards in the country. Together with his chief designer, Fred Cooper, the company produced many racing boats which won numerous awards around Europe, including Miss England II and Miss Britain III.
From 1930 the British Power Boat Company supplied seaplane tenders to the Air Ministry, commencing with RAF200, a 37 feet (11 m)-footer. In 1931 the Royal Air Force seconded T. E. Lawrence - later known as "Lawrence of Arabia" - in his service name T.E. Shaw, to liaise with Scott-Paine on the design, trials and operations of the boat. Lawrence lodged in the village from 1931-2, in Myrtle Cottage at the junction of St John Street and Shore Road. The tenders were initially powered by twin 100bhp Meadows petrol engines giving a maximum speed of 29knots, with some later versions fitted with Perkins S6M diesels.
World War 2 and military
Thanks in part to the BPBC and its excellent access to the English Channel, during World War II Hythe was used as a port for the "little ships" of the Royal Navy, the Motor Torpedo Boats and the RAF Air/Sea Rescue Boats. In 1960, The Hovercraft Development Company and Sir Christopher Cockerell, its founder, moved to Hythe. There was also a small airforce base in Hythe known as RAF Hythe. Until its closure in September 2006 it was used by the United States Army to service and maintain watercraft. Part of the site is now used by the local Air Training Corps squadron.
Sport and leisure
William Scammell, an English poet, critic and biographer of Keith Douglas, was born in Hythe in 1939. A commemorative plaque, provided by the Parish Council, can be seen on the house in Alexandra Road, where he was born and lived until 1953. He died in 2000, aged 60.
Danny Ings, England and Liverpool striker born in Hythe in 1992
- "2001 Census Neighbourhood Statistics – Civil Parishes in the New Forest". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Hythe, Old Hampshire Gazetteer
- History, Hythe Online
- Victoria County History, (1912), A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, Fawley
- "Hampshire Advertiser, 23 Dec 1837". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- Relationships / unit history of Dibden, A Vision of Britain through Time
- Journal of the Town Planning Institute, (1953), Volume 39, page 87: "At Fawley the construction of Europe's largest oil refinery on Southampton Water has created a demand for more housing accommodation and it is proposed to satisfy this by expanding the existing villages of Hythe and Dibden Purlieu into a small town of 10,000."
- What is the Parish Council, Hythe and Dibden Parish Council
- Workers bid farewell to RAF Hythe, BBC News, 29 September 2006
- "Special passengers wanted for voyage". Andover Advertiser. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
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