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Discovering the Past and Unveiling the Mysteries of My New Office in Southampton

Updated: Mar 6

Royal Mail House Southampton
Radley's Hotel aka Royal Mail House, Southampton

Last year, as I embarked on the search for a new office space, I was drawn to a building steeped in history within the Oxford Street Heritage Area of Southampton. The building, once known as Radley’s Hotel, holds stories of the past that simply echo through its halls, inviting me to explore its rich heritage and the mysteries within my office in Southampton.

New Hotel in Southampton 1840
Radley's Hotel

The Beginning

Radley’s Hotel, established by its first proprietor George Radley in the mid-19th century, circa 1840, was a cornerstone of Southampton's bustling port. It served as a haven for travellers, particularly those journeying to and from exotic destinations like the West Indies, Madeira, or South America. Edward Radley, George Radley's second son, also expanded the family's ventures into the wine and spirit trade, further establishing the Radley name as synonymous with hospitality and commerce in Southampton.

It has been suggested that the Hotel's building may have added weight to bringing the rail connection to the port area. The railway terminus being opened on 10 June 1839, although the London & Southampton Railway not fully operational until 11 may 1840.

Railway Plan Southampton Terminus
London Southampton Railway, Southampton Terminus Plan

This building's transformation over the years is a testament to the city’s evolving landscape. After ceasing operations as a hotel in 1907, it became the headquarters for the Royal Mail Steamship Company, and later, a hub for the agents of major shipping lines. This layered history adds a depth of history to my new office location, making this move not just a change of address but a step into a narrative that spans over a century and a half. Unfortunately, a report on the construction of the building suggests that the hotel and room layout may have been lost forever, around the time when the hotel transformed to the Royal Mail Steam Packet offices.

My Visit

My connection to this building started when I encountered an unexplained phenomena that hinted at the building's storied past. During my initial visit to the upper floors, an oppressive feeling on the third floor, presumed by a local historian to have been staff accommodation, suggested to me that the echoes of the past were not just metaphorical. The sensation of an unseen presence was palpable, a common thread in buildings as old and as rich in history as ours. Although shown an office which would have suited me, the feeling I had, would have made it impossible to work in, in my hypnotherapy practice.

I am, however, happy to say that on viewing the next office, I asked immediately for an agreement because it provided me with amazing energy, the office located on the building's first floor. At that point I just knew and felt such positive energy there; I simply believed that I had to work there.

1840 Opening of the Terminus Southampton
Southampton Railway Terminus

Interestingly, many years ago I was told, during one of my own energy readings, that my last move would be to an office overlooking a disused railway station. When looking outside, I am clearly located next to the old railway terminus and station; My destiny already written.

Further Evidence

Adding to the intrigue, recently, I installed a camera to monitor the office whilst I am not present, this device revealed unexplained orbs captured in the video; I finally feel that I have evidence of my intuition. So, I believe now that the video suggests that my new office might be home to energies beyond my understanding, but not my intuition. These findings have further piqued my interest and leads me to consider a deeper investigation into the building's past and the energies that might dwell within its walls is a consideration. For example, there is said to be the story of a hotel worker who allegedly hung himself, could this be the third floor feeling? Although it remains unverified, such tales, verified or not, contribute to the building's enigmatic aura, compelling me to delve deeper into its history.

Controversial tribute to Artemus Ward
Artemus Ward Plaque Southampton

Among the myriad of tales that the walls of my new office might whisper, one of the most poignant involves Charles Farrar Browne, better known by his pseudonym Artemus Ward. This celebrated American humourist, whose wit and satire captivated audiences on both sides of the Atlantic in the mid-19th century, met an untimely end at Southampton in 1867. It was within the very building I now occupy, known then as Radley's Hotel, where Ward drew his last breath, dying from tuberculosis. In a twist of historical irony, a plaque commemorating Artemus Ward's final days was denied placement on the building in 1967. Instead, it found a home on the wall of the London Hotel, situated directly across Oxford Street.

The death of 'Artemus Ward' on the 6 March 1867 is well documented, what is less so, is the placement of the plaque. The following are suggested references which, to date, I have been unable to access: 'Artemus Ward: Why the Cover Up', by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Vol. 31, No. 8, June 1991, p37.

'Plaque Raised for Artemus', by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Vol. 32, No. 12, October 1992, p45-46.

'The Importance of Being Spot On', by John Edgar Mann, in Hampshire, Vol. 37, No. 4, February 1997, p26-27.

Heritage District Southampton
Old Map of Southampton

The Future Aim

Looking ahead, I would love to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the building and the energies it houses. My goal is not just to uncover the stories of the past but to understand how they influence the present. As I continue to settle into my new office, I am reminded that we are not just occupants but custodians of a piece of Southampton’s history.

This move marks the beginning of a new chapter for me, not only in a physical sense but in a spiritual one. I stepped into my new office with a sense of respect and curiosity for the history it holds and the stories yet to be told. My journey into the past has only just begun, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries as I uncover the mysteries of the Oxford Street Heritage Area.

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