The Woolston Ferry


It's hard to believe but the bridge that replaced the Woolston Ferry — the old chain link ferry across Southampton Water — was opened back in 1977! BBC South TV covered the 25th Anniversary story with some great black and white archive film but the 'icing on the cake' was to hear Dave Williams singing "Woolston Ferry" to accompany the film. A solo version of this song can be heard on Dave's double CD -You're On Nipper!.

On Friday, 3rd September 2004, Paul Marsh was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent's Nick Girdler show. Nick was a friend of Dave Williams, who sang on Nick's childrens programme Albert's Gang in the 1970s.
When Nick found out that we had re-issued
The Woolston Ferry as a CD single as a direct result of response from listeners to his playing the old 45rpm single on his show he invited Paul to come in and speak about the single and Forest Tracks.
The interview went vey well and after it Nick played the CD single. Several listeners contacted the show with personal stories about the Ferry and we have had several sales as a direct result of the programme.

Watch a brilliant video compilation of old footage and photos of the Woolston Ferry by clicking on the link below:

Historical note: Mike Sadler's song is the most recent of an honourable line, including those by Barry Wake, Pete Atkins and possibly others we don't know. The Itchen 'Floating Bridge' (as the chain ferry was properly referred to) operated between Woolston and Southampton from 1836 to 1977 with a short break 1850-52 caused by bankruptcy! Itself a last-minute substitute for a swing bridge design vetoed by the Admiralty as a hazard to navigation, it was replaced by the present toll bridge in 1977. It took over in its turn from the Itchen Ferry row boats operated on an hereditary basis, although the latter continued as a night service until 1936. The hamlet in which the operators (including sweet Nell, or was it Poll? of Itchen Ferry) traditionally lived was destroyed during the Supermarine raids of the last war. -- Southern Counties Folk Federation, SCoFF.