Friday, 17 July 2015


Hythe is just across Southampton Water from its big city neighbour, but is a world apart. It is a land of quaint shops and ancient pier railways, where mammoth ships slip silently past parkland scenes.

Access from the city is by a combination of small ferry and pier, the latter journey being completed either on foot or by the small railway. None of this has anything to do with clocks, but I find all of this fascinating and so have included some pics. Scroll down of you are only interested in the clocks as I feel a long digression coming on.

Below is the small passenger vessel operated by the Hythe Ferry Company from the Town Quay, past the big ships in dock, to Hythe Pier, a journey of about 12 minutes.

The pier  was opened in1881, stretching out 640 metres from the shore. A lot more information can be found on the website of the National Piers Society (
The easiest way of reaching dry land is to hop on board the little train. The line was originally opened as a baggage only railway in 1909, but was replaced by the current 2 ft  gauge electric railway in 1922.
It is claimed that this is the world's oldest pier train, not that I can think of too many other examples. The trains themselves are certainly old - the locomotives were built by the Brush Electrical Engineering Company in 1917 for the Avonmouth Mustard Gas Works, and subsequently sold to the pier railway.

It certainly is a quaint little railway, but still a good way to connect to the ferry.

And here is a picture of a mammoth ship slipping silently past a parkland scene.

By the shore end of the pier stands Hotspur House - and yes, a clock at last after all this pier waffle. I always liked this form of simple clock fixed directly to a wall, but this is a rather oddly positioned one.

Meanwhile, just around the corner, the bunting is out in town, and the Rotary International clock stands guard outside Costa.

And our final Hythe clock is to be found atop the marina boathouse, in what seems to be a fairly standard design for modern marinas.

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