Last year, Southampton’s Culture Team led a project to install new lights and handrails in two of the medieval wine vaults near St Michael’s Church, known as St Michael’s Prison Vault on Castle Way, and the vault under 11 St Michael’s Square. The lighting installation was designed and fitted by Southampton City Council electricians to cope with very damp conditions.
As well as guided tours, six of the vaults are available for hire.
Find out more and hire a vault.
Most of the vaults reflect an age when Southampton was at the centre of the wine trade, when most of the wine imported from France came through the port on its way to London and other parts of the country. St Michael’s Prison Vault is the exception as its medieval stonework is largely obscured by features built to convert it into an air-raid shelter during the Second World War.
We are aiming to reopen Quilter’s Vault at 89 High Street to the public this year. It has been closed for a number of years pending safety checks on the roof. These are now complete and it just remains to repoint some of the stonework and fill some cracks. This may take some time as the vault is quite damp.