A Trip Down Gin Lane

by Joseph Russell · June 17, 2008

House on Gin Lane, Southampton

I like the name "Gin Lane;" it sounds so 16th century London, seedy, and more than a little decrepit. Of course, Southampton's Puritanical early birds didn't name their roads after liquor -gin is just another word for enclosure, and the lane's original occupants were mostly errant bovines. 350 years later and the cows have been swapped out for compounds, the fences for privet hedges, and the farmers for the famous and the famously wealthy. I biked down it the other day, hoping to photograph Gin's goods, but there was no getting past the bulk of the gates.

More photos below:

House On Gin Lane, Southamptonbeach house on gin lanebeach house on gin lane, southamptonsouthampton beach

The gates themselves are quite impressive, some in elaborately scrolling iron, others in heavy carved wood, and every driveway is either gravel or crushed slate. Some of the houses I saw aren't particularly noteworthy, but almost all come equipped with separate service entrances. There's also the grass-courted Meadow Club -filled, on a weekday morning, with men in white, and the elegant, hacienda-like Beach Club (Southampton Bathing Corporation) that sprawls out onto the lovely (though eroding) beach. Next to these is a church, St. Andrews Dune Church, with pretty stained glass windows set in red-stained wood. There's also a pretty pond, with cattails and scattered wooden benches, and, most importantly, plenty of opportunities to snap the houses across the water.