Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of Humanities

StoryPlaces Event

Emigrants ship
24 - 26 June 2016
Tudor House and Garden, Bugle Street, Southampton SO14 2AD

For more information regarding this event, please email Verity Hunt at .

Event details

A free event organised by English and Electronics & Computer Science, and funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

‘Every place has a story; and every story has a place’

Places are made up of stories over time, layer upon layer, like geological strata. Imagine walking through a landscape and seeing and hearing its story unfold on your smartphone as you go: pages of original new literature tagged to buildings, bus stops and trees, coming to life in your hands. StoryPlaces – a University of Southampton research project (English/Electronics and Computer Science) – has created six location-aware stories set around Southampton Old Town and Docks. The stories range from ghost stories and crime thrillers to family dramas and travelogues; read on-the-go at the locations that inspired them and discover Southampton’s hidden history.

For three days this June come to Southampton’s Tudor House and Garden to download the StoryPlaces app and try out our location-aware stories. (There will be mobile devices available to borrow for readers without a smartphone of their own). Meet the writers and hear from historians about the real places that inspired them. Plus don’t miss the opportunity to discuss your own writing about Southampton with local author and Professor of Creative Writing, Philip Hoare.


Friday 24 June

11:30 - 12:00 James Jordan, ‘A Forgotten Gateway to the World? A Brief History of the Emigrants’ Home, Southampton’ (followed by Q&A)
12:00 - 12:30 Victoria Dawson reads from her short story, ‘The Destitute and The Alien’ (followed by Q&A)


Saturday 25 June


11:00 - 12:30 Philip Hoare, ‘Writing the lost city of the sea: Southampton’s natural and human history.’ (Writing Workshop)
14:00 - 15:00 University of Southampton Creative Writing students read from their short stories about Southampton Old Town and Docks (followed by Q&A)


Sunday 26 June


11:30 - 12:00 James Jordan, ‘A Forgotten Gateway to the World? A Brief History of the Emigrants’ Home, Southampton’ (followed by Q&A)
12:00 - 12:30 Victoria Dawson reads from her short story, ‘The Destitute and The Alien’ (followed by Q&A)



Dr James Jordan, ‘A Forgotten Gateway to the World? A Brief History of the Emigrants’ Home, Southampton.’

On the 30 April 1894 the Mayor of Southampton officially opened the city's new Emigrants' Home. Started in October 1893, this multi-storeyed building in Albert Road was to provide accommodation for the increasing number of emigrants brought to Southampton by the trade of the American and other shipping Lines. These emigrants were in fact transmigrants, foreign emigrants, principally Jews fleeing persecution, alongside Norwegians, Swedes, and Scandinavians who were bound for New York. This talk will explore the history of the Home and its now forgotten status as a point of arrival and departure for those looking to start new lives overseas.


Professor Philip Hoare, ‘Writing the lost city of the sea: Southampton’s natural and human history’.

Philip Hoare, professor of creative writing and author of Spike Island: The Memory of a Military Hospital and The Sea Inside, discusses how Southampton’s waterside and its human and animal stories, have influenced his work.


The Destitute and The Alien, by Victoria Dawson

It is 1895 and Jack the Ripper now lives in the City of Southampton. Newly promoted to caretaker of John Doling’s Emigrants’ Home in Albert Road, he spends his days fumigating the new arrivals and his nights visiting prostitutes in nearby Simnel Street. For seven years he’s kept his knife sheathed and his predilection for murder and dissection supressed. But with the arrival of Golda - a beautiful Jewish girl fleeing from persecution in the Russian Pale – comes the reawakening of Jack’s psychotic compulsions. Will Golda survive her stay at the Emigrants’ Home to board the ship to take her to the New World? Or will her final destination be the cold mortuary slab? To find out, charge your smartphone, don your walking shoes and head for the City of Southampton. In ‘The Destitute and The Alien’, streets you never knew existed, and likewise histories, await your exploration…


Six Stories of Southampton, by Megan Humphrey

The goddess Ancasta has watched over the city of Southampton for thousands of years. She’s seen the city change and grow, and collected the stories of its people. From the Hundred Years War, to the sinking of the Titanic, to the modern era of cruise ships and ocean liners, she’s seen all that Southampton has been. Now, as you walk the streets of the city, you can discover some of the stories she has to tell, and discover a new way of looking at Southampton.


The Tale of Molly DeVito, by Emily Derrick

When Molly DeVito arrives in Southampton docks from America in the late 1800’s, carrying a not-so-subtle secret, she is looking for a home. With youth and beauty on her side she is hopeful. What she doesn’t realise is that she is no longer in control of her own life, someone, or something, else is pulling the strings. Molly’s journey attracts the attention of the city itself and then the question becomes simple; what is Molly’s final destination? The Tale of Molly DeVito introduces Southampton as a character not to be reckoned with, and explores the possibility of a whole new relationship to the city you thought you knew . . .


A Walk in the Park, by Tilly Edgar Thompson

Take a fascinating journey through time in this three-part story which explores the many people who passed through Queen’s Park in Southampton from different walks of life. Delve into the mystery behind room 667 at Great Western House in 1867, experience the moments leading up to the Titanic’s departure in 1912, or hear a child’s screams as his mother wanders through streets ravaged by the plague in 1674. A Walk in the Park is as easy as it sounds; all you have to do is head to Queen’s Park in Southampton, find the correct position and face the right direction. Choose between ‘The Haunting’, ‘The Premonition’ and ‘The Dissenter’ as you travel through time learning about each person who walked past with their own tale to tell.


The Titanic Criminal in Southampton, by Charlotte Brind

It is 1902 in Southampton and young Margaret lives near the docks. Her childhood is suddenly jeopardized after her father brutally murders her mother in a drunken rage. Margaret must take command of her future and find a route to escape her poverty stricken childhood. Experience Margaret's Southampton life, will her fortune change?


Notes on an Illegible City, by Eloise Phillips

Forget your Occulus Rift headset. All you need is a smartphone and an open mind to share in Southampton’s virtual reality. Start at the beginning of the end, and let yourself be taken from the Western Esplanade retail development, back through Simnel Street’s sordid past, all the way to the humble origins of a 12th-century marble font. What would happen if a silent object could speak? Now you can find out. Take a stroll past Bargate in two different time periods, witness an underground evolution, and pay your respects to a Norse twin-tailed mermaid at the centre of the edge. In ‘Notes on an Illegible City’ the past, present and future of Southampton is woven together in an eclectic tapestry. You get to decide how threadbare it has become.

Privacy Settings