| Docks tours
were a joint venture between Hants
& Dorset and Southampton Corporation,
with each operating half the journeys.
The route picked up at the Civic
Centre Rose Gardens.
| They then
ran via Western Esplanade past
the Royal Pier and South Western
House to dock gate 2. A circuit
round the old docks included a
pause at the Ocean Terminal. From
the Old Docks the trip continued
via the Royal Pier which we could
drive along in those days. We
sometimes stopped here for refreshments.
| From the Royal
Pier the journey concluded with
a circuit round the New or Western
Docks and then returned to the
Rose Gardens. The conductor took
the fares and handed out leaflets.
He then gave a running commentary
throughout the journey.
| This entry
in the 1967 leaflet lists some
of the numerous liners still calling
I did my first docks tour I studied the shipping
movements in the local paper. The trip started
out all right but I got a bit behind with
the fare collection and was trying to point
out places of interest at the same time. Having
successfully explained the history of the
Westgate, the oldest bowling green in the
world and the former South Western Hotel,
I got taught a very important lesson - eyes
first, mouth second.
|Head down, still handing
out leaflets as we passed through the dock
gate, I confidently announced "... and
if you look to your left you will see the
railway berths with ..." at which point
the plan had been to name the ship which I
knew would be there.
|I glanced up and there
was nothing. No ship, not even a small boat,
|There were other times
when my heart rate increased during a docks
tour. On one we had stopped at the King George
V graving dock in the New Docks. Passengers
were not allowed off at this point because
of the depth of the dock but we always stopped
so they could take photos. However, I did
not speak Japanese. Ignoring my protests,
one man got off. However much I insisted,
he just got nearer and nearer to the edge
so he could get the full scale of the empty
dry dock with the solitary worker sweeping
the last of the water. I was very relieved
when he had enough pictures and went back
to his seat.
|On another occasion I went
out on a special docks tour for patients from
the Tatchbury Mount Hospital. The patients
had a variety of problems and some would wander
off if left unattended. They were accompanied
by several nurses who counted the passengers
constantly. Despite our best efforts we lost
one person at the Ocean Terminal while everybody
was watching the giant floating crane being
moved. A frantic search followed but he was
eventually found sitting quietly in the cafeteria,
enjoying a cup of tea.
|The strangest Docks Tour
of all was the one where we arrived at the
Ocean Terminal to find the France was about
to set sail. Nobody wanted to leave until
she had gone. Unfortunately this was at the
start of the trip and left us with about five
minutes to dash round the rest of the route.
Although they had seen very little of the
docks, these passengers gave me my best ever