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Population – At the time of the 2011 YouGov census, the population of Hythe was 20,201.
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Hythe’s name derives from a Saxon word ‘Hyth’ meaning landing-place or sheltered estuary, and there has been a settlement since the Saxon period. The first recorded use of the name Hythe dates back to 1293 when it was a small fishing village and ferry point. In 1575 ‘Hitheferye’ appears on Saxton’s map of Hampshire. The ferry, fishing and goods boats landed at a gravel hard at what is now Drummond Court.
Hythe saw activity during the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) when a Parliamentary gunboat opened fire on the village. No damage was done and the town managed to avoid any further involvement in the conflict that saw other coastal towns attacked and burned.
In the 1750s Hythe began what would be a long history of boat building. A busy boatyard was in operation around Shore Road where small vessels were built for the Royal Navy up to the Napoleonic era.
In October 1879 construction began on a pier, piers were all the rage in the 1800s (the most fashionable towns of the day weren’t complete without a pier to promenade along), it opened with great ceremony on New Year’s Day 1881. Measuring 2,100 feet, it is one of the ten longest piers in the British Isles. In 1909 tracks were laid for hand-propelled trolleys, then in 1922 a narrow-gauge electric railway opened to take passengers the full length of the Pier. The train is still in operation and is one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
By the 20th century Hythe was still a small fishing village running a steamboat across the water to Southampton. But it retained its boatbuilding renown and had even started building seaplanes after World War I. In 1931 TE Lawrence (the future ‘Lawrence of Arabia’) was based in the village, renting a room at Myrtle Cottage in Shore Road, while he was responsible for overseeing the construction and trials of the Seaplane Tender Mk1 for the RAF.
During WWII Hythe built motor torpedo boats for the navy and RAF Air/sea rescue boats. Royal Navy Commandos were also stationed in the town while training to clear area of beaches in Normandy ahead of the D-Day landings. King George visited the troops in top secret, although he did manage to find time to take a ride on the pier’s train. Even kings like a trip to the seaside.
When peace came to Europe the need for military vessels dried up and after two hundred years of boatbuilding, the last yard finally closed. Flying boats did operate from Hythe but BOAC closed the flying boat service in December 1949 and the Royal Navy returned. They used the docks as a base for the minesweeper HMS Diligence, until 1963. Before long the army were back, but this time it was the US army that set up operations at the Hythe depot and stayed there until 2006.
The other great development was thanks to Sir Christopher Cockerell who invented the hovercraft and founded The Hovercraft Development Company. Having created his original designs in East Anglia, Hythe offered the perfect conditions for his new craft and in 1966 his company began the first cross-Channel hovercraft service.
Hythe retains its charm and enthusiasm for the sea and estuary. Every August one of the maddest events on the calendar attracts hundreds of visitors, the Great Waterside Raft Race, where teams race hand-built rafts (often of dubious integrity, seamanship or even steering!) much to the delight of the cheering crowds, all to raise money for Calshot RNLI station.
Hythe Removals Company
Whether you are moving to or from Hythe, or beyond, we pride ourselves on making the experience as hassle-free and streamlined as possible. With over 160 years of experience as a leading UK removal company, our personable, expert removals team will take the stress out of moving home or office.
The benefit of ‘staying local’ when booking Hythe removals…
Secure Household Storage in Hythe
Are you a homeowner requiring long or short term household storage for furniture and personal effects for which you no longer have room? Do you need secure flexible household storage at short notice, with the minimum of fuss?
With our multiple, large, secure purpose-built Hampshire storage facilities located in Aldershot, Farnborough and Petersfield, we can cater for all your storage needs. We can also arrange to collect and storage your belongings on your behalf. Please visit our Storage Service for further details.
Why use Over’s for your storage needs?
Of course, it’s not just the calibre of our personnel that matters. We are also proud of our modern fleet of specialised removal vehicles, lifting equipment, packaging and dedicated storage facilities to help us best cater to all your storage requirements.