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The history and development of Southampton Sports Centre

Sir Sidney Kimber: The history of Southampton Sports Centre (and much of the development of the City in the 1900s) is intimately linked to Sir Sidney Guy Kimber, one of the greatest and most far sighted visionaries the City has ever seen and the driving force behind most of the most important civic developments in the City Centre. His privately published memoirs, “Thirty Eight Years of Public Life in Southampton”, contains a detailled account of the planning and building of the Golf Course and Sports Centre and of the long battles which he fought at Council to realise his vision. A transcribed copy of his account and other information about Sir Sidney is reproduced on this site  (here - or follow the dropdown History menu at the top of the page).


The Grand opening: The Outdoor Sports Centre and City Golf Course were formally opened in May 1938 by the Duke of Kent. Plaques commemorating the event stand outside the Pavilion on the Golf Course and “The View” on the Outdoor Sports Centre.

opening day from kimber book 1 800.png SportsCentrePlaqueLarge.jpg opening day from kimber book 2 800.png

click on images for larger view

The Sports Centre and its environs mean many different things to many people from across the City and across the generations; where they grew up, played as children, hung out as teenagers, participated in sports at all sorts of levels, walk their dogs, now take their own children and grandchildren to do the same, or simply enjoy the open, green spaces. Sir Sidney’s “Happy Valley” holds many happy memories. In 2014, FoSSC held a Local History and Memories day at “The View” and invited people to share there memories with us. We were show some fantastic photos and paintings of the Sports Centre, Rockleigh Road, Pleasure Park and Battle Roads, as well as some great paintings by Ron Heather. Richard Strother brought in the very first season ticket issued at the Golf Course - to Sir Sisney Kimber - an amazing find. We scanned all contributions for the archive and they can be seen here.