10 October 2008


The Bargate was built circa 1180 AD, constructed of stone and flint. Additional archways were added in 1764 and 1774.[3] Further 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 thirteenth century, with four windows lighting the upstairs room. In the middle of the four windows is a statue of George III in Roman dress, which replaced a wooden statue of Queen Anne. Work was also carried out to the interior of the upper room during the thirteenth 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. A sundial was added a century later. The room above the gate itself has known several uses. It was originally used as the city's guildhall, until the 1770s.[4] It was at this point that the city began to grow to the north of the gate.Also during the eighteenth century, five panels containing painted shields were added to the building. In 1765, a passage was cut through the eastern side of the arch for pedestrians. A further passage through the western side was added later. Following the establishment of Southampton's police force in February 1836, the upper room was used as a prison. The Bargate was separated from the adjoining town walls in the 1930s.The monument again served as the police headquarters for the city during the Second World War. The Bargate Shopping Centre was built next to the structure itself in 1989. After being closed to the public for several years, the upper room was opened on October 22 2002 as an art gallery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bargate

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