Southampton city council holding talks to revamp Bargate’s historic shields

SOUTHAMPTON city council is planning to hold talks to decide whether to replace the historic shields on the Bargate as the old ones are faded and “largely disintegrated.”

The council will start to get things ready to work on the boards.

The Bargate underwent restoration work back in 2016 in order to preserve the building and stop an issue with damp. However, many residents raised concerns about not being able to see the 11 shields that have been on the building since its completion 800 years ago.

The authority who holds talks with Historic England have confirmed that the shields are still on the building. The paintwork has been chipped away and damaged and need repair or restoration.

The Bargate used to form part of Southampton’s wall.

The shields depict the coat of arms and the cross of Saint George.

A spokesperson said: “At this point, discussions will be held with Historic England to decide if the remaining bits of shield can be conserved, or if the rotten stone should be cut out and replaced with something more robust.”

The authority is waiting for Historic England to declare the front of the Bargate to be dried out before work can start on the structure.

Boards around the Bargate explain the history.

The Council want temporary shields to be fitted to preserve the look of the building, but Historic England have said that they will not allow this.

Historic England have said that they do not know how long it will take for the structure to dry but they assure that work is on track.

The shields were originally carved out of greensand but rotted away due to damp. The replacements were made of caen stone which also started to fall apart and held in place with mortar and iron pins.

The Bargate is part of one of Southampton’s heritage trails.

It is currently estimated by a Historic England advisor that the wall will take several years to fully dry as the wall is some 2 metres thick.

Done by Noor Merza (n_ajeely), Louis Suffill (louisuffill) and Lauren Borthwick (@LaurenBorthwic)