June 2021

Alan Matlock posted on Facebook – 2nd June 2021

“Building Spitfires Without a Factory”

Two talks coming up from Spitfire Makers chair, Alan Matlock next week.

First off the runway is a Zoom talk on Friday 11th June, hosted by the Southampton Rotary Club but with a transatlantic link to the club’s namesake in Southampton, Ontario! (See link to Canadian local news report below.)

Then, on Saturday 12th Alan will give a Bitterne-focused, Covid-compliant, in-person version of his talk to the Bitterne Local History Society. http://bitterne.net/meetings.html The meeting is at 7.00pm in Bitterne United Reformed Church (entrance in the Precinct, next to Bitterne Churchyard). Members £1.00 Non Members £3.00

A heartwarming wartime link between the two Rotary Clubs has come to light. In late 1940, the 15 members of the Canadian club send £200 (about £13,000 in today’s money) for the relief of the victims of the bombing of Southampton. https://www.shorelinebeacon.com/…/southampton-rotarians…

Who remembers railway lines on Peartree Green?

Alan Matlock posted this question the Southampton Heritage photos page on Facebook.

The level of the lower part was raised considerably after the war and the site of the ill-fated Supermarine air raid shelters buried beneath bomb-damage rubble. It would seem that at least some of this material came by rail, possibly not just from the clearance of local bomb sites, but from some distance away?

Image by Alan Matlock

According to the 1966 OS map (NLS) there were three tracks which were probably part of the infill work.

Prior to the war the land here was “subject to flooding” hence the shelters being built on the surface. The amount of material brought in was such that the ground level on the Peartree Green side is now above what was formerly a high embankment.

If you have any more information on this part of the history of Peartree Green after the war please get in touch.  Alan would love to hear from you.

Alan Matlock posted on Facebook 13th June 2021

We are pleased to announce that we have launched our website… A big thank you to our secretary Christine who, never having worked on a website before, has done an amazing job to bring it to you 🙂

Please visit and let us know what you think.


Can you get on it ok, find your way round it etc? Any feedback welcome.

Alan Matlock posted on Southampton Heritage Photos Facebook page 18th June 2021


Does anyone remember “a disused brick tunnel on the railway embankment , near Lower Bridge Road“?

The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust is trying to clarify the places where some of the casualties of the bombing of Supermarine were killed on September 26th, 1940. Thanks to the work we did last year for the 80th anniversary of the bombing, the grand daughter of one of the victims now knows where her grandfather is buried, but not yet where he died.

The Sotonpedia website has collected some of the incident reports of the day and you can read them here:http://sotonopedia.wikidot.com/page-browse:air-raids…

For the 26th it says: “Twenty people were taking shelter in an old disused brick tunnel on the railway embankment, near Lower Bridge Road, Woolston.”

Looking at the map https://maps.nls.uk/view/105987328 there is nothing clearly marked that tallies with this description which I think would put this “disused brick tunnel” in the area between Woolston Station and the surviving footbridge that led to Highland Rd from Lower Vicarage Road.

Image from Google Maps

I know there’s now a modern pedestrian underpass which may be connected (or just a red herring!?) but does anyone know about “the old disused brick tunnel” that is mentioned in the report and where six people died?

Please post and share this enquiry as much as possible. Thanks.

Alan Matlock, chair, The Spitfire Makers Charitable Trust www.spitfiremakers.org.uk


From GW – There was a brick tunnel under the railway line from Hazel Rd to Peartree Green. It was between the Yacht Tavern and Wilments yard. It disappeared when the lower green became a tip and the rail line was back filled raising the level from Hazel Rd to the level of the railway.

From Dave Key to G W – I assume “Wilments” is “White’s” yard (and the joys of “auto-screw-up” ) and the tunnel that is the one marked on the old OS maps and which Supermarine were using when it was hit on 24th September 1940? If so Alan is trying to find one on the other side of Sea Road. That one isn’t marked on any if the old IS maps I’ve seen as was disused by 1940 so little trace is likely. However, as my other answer says I think I do now know ..but need to prove (if I can) first.

From Dave Key to Alan Matlock let me confirm my findings but I am 90% sure of where it was. Your picture is too close to the main Bridge Road.

From Alan Matlock – Author to Dave Key –  my breath is bated!

From Dave Key to Alan Matlock – give me a couple of days to check some more details and I’ll write it up.

From Alan Matlock – Author to Dave Key –  thanks 👍

From Dave Key – For those who are wondering what the project was that Spitfire Makers helped with … https://supermariners.wordpress.com/remembering-the-fallen/Remembering the Fallen:SUPERMARINERS.WORDPRESS.COMRemembering the Fallen: Remembering the Fallen:

From E Q – Yes, I remember it. Never went through it because there were signs up, I suppose dating from the war, about not going near Supermarine.

From Alan Matlock – Author to E Q – Thanks for responding. Is this a tunnel near the railway bridge over Bridge Road that you are remembering or the brick-lined pedestrian tunnel that went under the line at the bottom of Peartree Green? Either way, any details of what you remember would be great to hear.

From Dave Key to E Q – be interesting to see if this matches my information. Still writing it up but as Alan says any info would be helpful.

From S H – I have a book written by a gent who worked at Supermarine. Believe somewhere in the book a tunnel is mentioned that was used as a shelter during bombing and at one time workers were killed/injured while sheltering.

From Alan Matlock – Author to S H – Thanks for responding. As with my reply to a previous post, this is probably not the tunnel near the railway bridge over Bridge Road but the brick-lined pedestrian tunnel that went under the line at the bottom of Peartree Green.

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