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Wendy Stokes’ fascinating ‘A walk up The Avenue Part 3’

Before we leave Lodge Road behind let’s take a loving look at the latest piece of street furniture to appear
This welcome sign – commissioned by Bevois Mount History with support from Southampton City Council – commemorates the Stag Gates that at one time stood at the entrance to the Bevois Mount Estate. 2019 is the centenary of the demolition of the Stag Gates, so if you think you can remember them, you can’t. This is what they looked like, complete with tram lines.
The Avenue is very busy just here with a great deal of traffic, so it will be a relief to slip into the relative peace of Cavendish Grove.
The marker for the First Common Gate is also here, practically hidden by all of the undergrowth
Cavendish Grove was built in the early 1880s and the houses are delightful examples of late Victorian architecture. Many of the houses have been converted to flats, but we can still get a flavour of their elegance.
The road is named after Lord Frederick Cavendish, a man whose political career ended in a worse disaster than Teresa May or Chris Grayling could dream up between them. He was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1882, and arrived in Dublin on 6th May. Unfortunately he had been in Ireland for less than six hours before he was murdered as part of the Phoenix Park killings. It turned out that the Irish Nationalist group responsible didn’t even know who he was. He had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
​Many of Southampton’s notables have lived in Cavendish Grove,  including Mrs Laughland, a suffragist who lived at the Towers. There is only one tower there now.
The mayor of Southampton 1911 to 1912 lived at number 14 Cavendish Grove. Henry Bowyer was part of the famous family of Trinity House pilots, and he was responsible for instigating the Titanic relief Fund. He was present at the unveiling of the impressive Engineers memorial in Andrews Park in 1914. Unfortunately he died before the more modest memorial to the crew could be unveiled. Like so many of Southampton’s worthy citizens, he also is buried in the Old Cemetery.
As we leave Cavendish Grove, on the other side of the Avenue there is one of the landmarks of Southampton – Avenue St Andrews United Reformed Church. This church was built around 1897, as we can see if we have a good look at the foundation stone:
The Lankesters were another very prominent Southampton family. Ladies from the church provided Great War soldiers with cups of tea as they were marching to embark for France
If you drive, or even walk down the Avenue it is very easy to miss a couple of relics from the days of the electrified trams. These are Lucy boxes and were part of the electricity supply for the trams. Apparently the game of I spy Lucy boxes was initiated in 2002. Once you see one, you’ll see them everywhere.
We are now at the end of our walk – we’re at the entrance to the Common.  The memorial to the crew of the Titanic was originally situated here, but persistent vandalism resulted in it being relocated to Holyrood. Family members had to raise the money in dribs and drabs; which is why it took three years before the memorial was ready. The difference between the imposing Engineers memorial opposite the Cenotaph, and the humble, but still charming crew memorial underlines the rigid class structure that was in place at the time.
The historic public house The Cowherds is on hand for much needed refreshment, before we get ready to tackle the history of the Common itself. But that will be for another time.