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Ruins of Holyrood Church

Southampton city center is a strange mixture of medieval relics and 1950s architecture, a legacy of World War II bombs and often misguided 20th-century town planning. The tragic ruins of Holyrood Church, first built in 1320, are a permanent reminder of this history.

In November 1940, using the recognizable white-painted spire of neighboring St Michaels Church as a guide, the German Luftwaffe dropped 800 high-explosive bombs and 9,000 incendiary bombs on the blacked-out port city. Much of the historic city center and dockyard, including seven churches, were badly damaged or destroyed, yet nearby St Michaels, with its easily spotted spire, was saved.

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