Long-awaited re-opening of Southampton’s medieval God’s House Tower.

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Long-awaited re-opening of Southampton’s medieval God’s House Tower.

God's House Tower Southampton. The Tower from Town Quay Road.

At last you can now visit Southampton’s new £3.1million refurbishment project – the iconic 700 year-old God’s House Tower (GHT) is now open and fully operational as an exciting and vibrant arts and heritage venue with much to offer people of all ages and interests.  

Travel back in time to the Tower’s creation as a gun tower, to its dark days as a dismal gaol, housing Southampton’s various  criminals and hear the human ‘Stories Behind the Stones’ with each floor of the Tower taking you on a fascinating journey through the ages. You can discover centuries of history through multimedia installations and intriguing displays and even climb the spiral staircase to the GHT roof and witness Southampton as you’ve never seen it before through a CGI telescope.  Enjoy stunning rooftop views from the top of the tower across Southampton Water and the city – an opportunity not to be missed!

To complement the historic displays seven artists have interpreted GHT’s hidden history, bringing it to life with surreal and bold installations.  In addition there will be a revolving exhibition of artworks from Southampton City Art Gallery’s prestigious collection and other sources, starting with the wonderful ‘Moonlight Pethers’ – a family of painters whose atmospheric  scenes of moonlight, sunset and fire depict the city’s past. This collection shows how the urban coastline GHT has witnessed during its 700-year life has changed drastically, making these unique paintings the perfect introduction to this exciting new era in GHT’s history.

As well as the exhibitions, displays and Tower climbs there will be lots of special events to enjoy, including talks, tours, music, performance and arts workshops, all under this year’s theme ‘GHT Beside the Sea’, a tongue-in-cheek look at the city’s changed coastline and GHT’s lost connection to the water.  Whatever your interest, there’ll be plenty to fascinate and inspire you. There’s even a shop, library and vibrant café run by the popular Hoxton Bakehouse with all kinds of tempting treats on offer.

The refurbishment and management of GHT is the responsibility of the arts organisation ‘a-space’ arts, headed up by director Daniel Crow. He says ‘This has been such an exciting project in the making and we’re so pleased we’re finally open to the public.  There’s so much to offer every one of our visitors and we know they’ll want to keep coming back to discover more….’

Visits to GHT are free, although there is an entrance fee to climb the tower of £5.00 per adult, (£4 concessions), £15 family ticket (up to 4 people to include one adult), and £8 for a combined Old Town tour and Tower ticket. If you have difficulty accessing the stairs you can experience ‘Stories Behind the Stones’ with a virtual reality headset. The ticket to the Tower includes access to all four floors, including the roof and lasts for 3 months, so that you can return as many times as you like in that time. To find out more about the GHT project follow GHT @ght_soton, visit the website at http://www.godshousetower.org.uk/   or join the mailing list for updates: http://eepurl.com/glWrvz

GHT would like to thank their funders: National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, The Wolfson Foundation, Friends of Southampton Museums and Galleries, Barker-Mill Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust.