Solent University (Southampton)

Maritime Education and Training in Southampton

Established in 2005, Southampton Solent University is a public university based in Southampton on the south coast of England in the UK. The second campus, Warsash Maritime Academy (WMA) and Warsash Superyacht Academy (WSA) is located on the eastern bank of the Hamble River overlooking Southampton Water. Incorporated as an independent higher education institution in 1989, the University traces its origins back in 1856. 

The Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering specialises in maritime business, yacht design and engineering. Southampton Solent university's maritime courses have been ranked among the best in the world. The university conducts undergraduate and post graduate level courses on Maritime Business, Supply chain management, Logistics and Maritime law.


History of MET in Southampton

The Southampton School of Navigation originated with the death of a Southampton wine merchant Henry Robinson Hartley, in 1850. He bequeathed £42,524 to the Southampton Corporation which they received some years later. After advice from the Secretary of the Department of Science Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair, it was decided that a School of Navigation should be set up, which would be fitting with the recent development of Southampton as a great seaport. After the need to raise additional funds the school was eventually finished in 1902. It was granted university college status and known as the Hartley Institute, based in South Hill in the city of Southampton.

In 1932 the school was expanded when it merged with the Gilchrist Navigation school. At that time the school was confined to preparing students for Board of Trade certificate examinations for Mate, Master and Extra Master. 51 students were taught at this time by only two staff. In 1934 the college expanded to accommodate day cadets. Residential cadet courses began in 1937 with cadets completing a sea preparatory course. By 1939 there were 19 cadets, 129 day students and 15 staff and the school has moved to a new home at South Stoneham House in Swaythling where it remained until 1946.

During the Second World War the school remained open to train mariners. In 1940 all students and cadets had joined the Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard). Courses continued to run despite bombing in the Southampton area. Cadets were still trained and additional courses were created for existing officers from the armed services and abroad, including some 60 free Polish cadets. By 1942 the school had over 180 sea cadets in training and it was decided the school should be moved to a larger campus, which incorporated the existing HMS Tormentor operations base, just outside the village of Warsash. At the request of the United States a special navigation course was provided in 1945 for naval officers stationed in the United Kingdom. By 1946 the entire school had moved to Warsash and included over 316 students and 32 staff (with the name of the college now officially recorded as the Southampton School of Navigation). In 1957 a new building programme at the college began (to replace the existing temporary WW2 structures). Three new residential blocks were created, as well as a refectory building and a new teaching block (including the Whalley Wakeford lecture theatre). One accommodation block Shackleton was finished in 1960 and won an RIBA gold medal. By 1967 a new teaching block had again been constructed and the school was now offering tankers courses as well as Bsc in Nautical Science.

In 1970 the school removed itself from direct control of Southampton University. By 1978 the school had purchased additional grounds and had built a new fire school, to provide professional firefighting skills to mariners. Additionally the use of the week based sea training out in the Solent also came to an end. Previously the college had its own small sized training vessels - Moyana (which, having won the Sail Training Association's first Tall Ships Race from Torbay to Lisbon in 1956 sank without loss of life on her return passage to the UK) and Halcyon which is now privately owned by Halcyon Yacht Charter. In 1986 the college went through a great change, when it merged with the Southampton College of Technology, meaning that for the first time engineers were trained on the same campus, as merchant navy deck officers. The school was renamed "Warsash Maritime College" and went through a period of building expansion which included a new pier, library and engineering block. It was not until the 1990s that the college would again change dramatically, when in 1996 some of the campus on the eastern side of Newtown road was sold to provide funds to provide a new model training facility. The manned model facility remains the only one in the United Kingdom.

By the year 2000 the college had also built three new computer-based training simulators. It was during this period that Warsash Maritime College merged with Southampton Solent University to provide governmental sources of funding.


Celebrating women seafarers

Gender Equality in Maritime