A capital idea

Recently @catweg wondered on Twitter what the map would like if Winchester had remained as the nation’s capital and grown over the years as London has.

Well, @catweg, wonder no more. For here is just what such a map might look like:

London's urban sprawl recentred on Winchester

In downtime during a busy period finalising the imminent release of OS Open Data products, GI developer and consultant, Danny Hyam, laid the urban extent of London over Winchester and its surrounding areas.

Just think how different it might have been if Winchester was still our capital….

It would mean the Hampshire village of Sparsholt, currently home to BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, would have been home to the Queen, Prince Phillip and their corgis, as that’s where Danny’s map says Buckingham Palace would be.

English football’s finest moment, and for that matter Scotland’s, would have happened at Stockbridge Stadium. Today Stockbridge boasts one of the best stretches of river in the land for fly fishing, but Danny’s reimagined map says Stockbridge and not Wembley would be home to the FA Cup Final and the place where Bobby Moore would have lifted the Jules Rimet trophy as England were crowned world champions.

Continuing the football and sporting theme… According to his book Jelleyman’s Thrown A Wobbly, Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling conducts his weekly football research at Winchester Services (located between junction 8 and 9 of the M3). However, if Winchester had remained as our capital city it is likely the services would never have existed and Jeff would have had to have done his research elsewhere, as Winchester Services would have been the site of the 2012 Olympics and where that Golden Super Saturday would have taken place.

Andy Murray’s and Fred Perry would have been famous for being Ampfield Champions, as Danny says the home of British tennis would have been located just outside this Hampshire village. Crystal Palace Athletic Stadium, which once upon a time was also home to the FA Cup Final and is where the largest ever FA Cup Final victory was recorded when Bury thrashed Derby County 6-0, would have been on the spot where conservation zoo Marwell is. Heathrow Airport would have been located just outside Salisbury at Whiteparish.

And Ordnance Survey? Well, during the Second World War Ordnance Survey relocated its offices to Chessington. Bizarrely, on Danny’s reimagined map those Chessington offices would have been located in Totton, just a brisk three mile walk from our current office.

Obviously this is just a piece of fun and not a definitive map, so if you are wondering why Danny has placed the map where he has, it is because the City Of London fits nicely with Winchester and the southern edges roughly fit along the south coast.

1 Response

  1. Robert Folkes

    I wonder if the lack of a large waterway would have curtailed Winchester’s growth – not only for transport but also for sanitation (such as it was before the C18). If Winchester had remained the capital, I suspect a lot of that blue would now be located over Southampton. An interesting idea non the less.

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