Southampton, UK is a city and major port situated on the south coast of England. It is the closest city to the New Forest and lies at the northern-most point of Southampton Water approximately halfway between Portsmouth and Bournemouth.
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Although historically a part of the county of Hampshire, the city became an independent unitary authority in local government re-organisations on April 1, 1997. This makes Southampton an administrative county in its own right though it remains part of Hampshire for ceremonial purposes and in common usage. Under the name of Southampton there are several districts within the city, including Woolston, Bitterne, Portswood, Bassett, Shirley, Freemantle, Millbrook and Swaythling.
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In common with many British towns and cities, such as Coventry and Plymouth, it was heavily bombed during the Second World War. Many historic buildings were lost as a result but the old city walls remain, as does the Bargate, formerly the main gateway to the city, located at the northern end of the walls. There are numerous large parks in the city centre. The Bargate is often seen as a symbol of the city, and is the logo of the city council. Most of Southampton's municipal services, including the library and the art gallery are to be found in the Civic Centre.
The city is home to the University of Southampton, Southampton Institute and West Quay shopping centre. It is also the headquarters of Ordnance Survey.
Southampton has always been strongly tied with maritime history and developments. In particular, it is a primary port for cruise ships, its heyday being the first half of the 20th Century, and in particular the inter-war years, when it handled almost half the passenger traffic of the UK. Today it remains home to many luxury liners, as well as being a very important container port.
The outstanding harbour means it is the principal port on the south coast, and one of the largest in the UK. Sailing is a popular sport here.
Southampton Football Club (a.k.a. the "Saints") is also based here. It was a Southampton team member, Charles William Miller, who founded Brazil's first football club.