Campaign 1 – Bargate Monument Gallery opening – 2006
We introduce you to Sergeant Bargate – a handsome and welcoming fellow!
Sgt Bargate finds his beginnings in the history of the building as one of its many uses was as a police station during the early years of the 20th Century. Visitors to the gallery can still see the large wooden police emblem they left behind.
But Sgt Bargate seems to have other things on his mind and is taking a romantic reverie through the history of Southampton. Through the first of his journeys he visits the eccentricities of British comedy and characters from Sherlock Holmes to Basil Fawlty via the Avengers and Benny Hill.
His first adventure features a local boy done good. Alfred “Alfie” Hill was born in Southampton and grew up in Wilton Road, Upper Shirley. Later he changed his name to Benny in homage of his hero, comedian Jack Benny. According to local rumour Tommy Cooperâ€™s mother lived in Shirley – so we will claim him as our own! As for Sid James completing this trio we like to think that as a South African he may have arrived in England on a Union-Castle Line steamer docking at Southampton.