Millbrook Local History Society

History of Millbrook

Millbrook is a suburb and former civil parish of Southampton. As the area developed, several settlements grew within the parish, some of them becoming parishes in their own right, thus reducing the extent of the Millbrook parish. As well as the Millbrook of today, the original Millbrook parish included Freemantle, Regents Park, and Redbridge. Some of these areas are still referred to as being part of Millbrook. Millbrook Railway Station was opened in 1861, and the parish formerly had open baths and a ferry to Marchwood. John Ralfs, the notable 19th century botanist, was born here, as were footballers Kevin Gibbens and Phil Warner who both played for Southampton Football Club, along with comedian Mike Osman.

 Millbrook Village, which overlooked the waters of the River Test, rambled from St Nicholas Church and Blighmont Villa in the east to little Redbridge School in the west. The village centred round Millbrook Pond and included The Swan and The Royal Oak public houses, as well as shops, a post office, a village smithy and a chestnut tree.

In the 1920’s and 30’s some public sector housing was built in Mansel Road West, Wimpson Lane and in Lebanon Road – Oakbridge Road area near Redbridge Village.

It was not until after the Second World War that the local authorities really started to develop housing on a large scale. By 1948 the first houses at the top of Pennine Road were built and occupied. Since then approximately 4,000 homes have been built on what is now called The Millbrook Park Estate.

Planning began before the war ended in 1945, and there was a determined attempt by the planners and local councillors not to repeat the mistakes made when building council housing in the 20’s and 30’s with long rows of identical houses and no space for recreational activities.

Green spaces like Mansel Park and Green Park were planned; and the lovely old trees, many of them oaks, were taken into consideration and preserved. Houses and flats of different size and design, and purpose-built warden controlled flats for senior citizens were all included in the design.

A new community began to develop. People came from the Chapel and Northam area of Southampton where much of the housing had been destroyed or damaged by bombing during the war. People came from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and North of England to find work. People came from the West Indies, France, Germany, Poland, China and Vietnam looking for a better life. They all made up the community of Millbrook Park Estate.

 

 

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