Southampton City Council Libraries Arts and Heritage

A stained glass window with images of four young men

Southampton is a thriving modern city but you don't have to explore too far to discover its amazing past.

Below the modern streets can be found evidence of occupation from prehistoric times to the present, including important Roman and Saxon settlements, and the late Saxon and medieval town and villages that laid the basis for the modern city and suburbs. The unique location at the head of Southampton Water early on became an important trading post and later a port.

Large parts of the centre of Southampton were destroyed during the Second World War. However some important medieval buildings and structures survive, along with buildings dating to the 19th century redevelopment of the town. These include the Wool House (Maritime Museum), Medieval Merchants House, God's House Tower (Museum of Archaeology), Tudor House Museum, and a superb length of medieval town wall.

Southampton has important archives, collections and other sources for local and family history research. The city also has a unique Oral History Unit, recording the memories of local people.

For more information about Southampton's archaeology, buildings and monuments, Oral History projects and historical sources, visit our website.

Southampton City Council's Fine Art and Archaeology collections are Designated Collections of national importance.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

See also

Southampton City Council's Fine Art collections and Archaeology collection are Designated Collections of national importance.

They are located at Southampton City Art Gallery and God's House Tower Museum of Archaeology.

Southampton City Council's Designated fine art collections have particular strengths in 20th century British art before 1914 and since 1970. The policy of collecting art within 2 years of its creation has resulted in the acquisition of fine examples of work by many Turner Prizewinners. The archaeology collections are also Designated, and include spectacular medieval glass and imported pottery collections. The size and range of the archaeology collections reflect the importance of Southampton in the past and at present, and the 50 years of systematic archaeological investigations in the City.

Collection details

Fine Art, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection

Southampton City Council Libraries Arts and Heritage
Arts and Heritage
Southampton City Council
SO14 7LP


Southampton Local History and Heritage

Southampton Museums Service

Southampton Archaeology





023 8063 5904


023 8033 9601

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.