Mayflower 400 Southampton
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower on its now famous journey to the New World. The Mayflower and her sister ship, Speedwell, set sail from West Quay, Southampton, on 15 August 1620, carrying 102 passengers. Around 40 of these were the Puritan Separatists who, through time, have become known as America’s Founding Fathers. They settled in what had been the Native American village of Patuxet. The village had been abandoned by the Wampanaog people who lived there after the death of the majority of its inhabitants in a ‘great plague’ (1616 – 1619), brought by English and European invaders.
Southampton will be the first city to approach a Mayflower anniversary through the lens of migration. The Mayflower is one of many migrant ships that have left from or arrived in Southampton during the past seven centuries; as a result 148 languages are currently spoken in the city. We see the anniversary as an opportunity to reveal this rich and diverse history, and to encourage communities to tell their stories, many of which will have previously been hidden. We are also working closely with Wampanoag artists, scholars and young representatives to ensure their story and point of view is embedded in our programme.
Southampton is one of 12 partners delivering Mayflower 400 inspired cultural and heritage activities in the UK, US and Netherlands. All programmes have been amended due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, but events will restart on 16 September 2020; you can find an overview of the national project here.
Partners across Southampton have come together to develop and deliver a unique programme of events. These include exciting and engaging performances and art installations, community events and join-in moments, online and live exhibitions, film and digital content, workshops and educational programmes.
We have reshaped our plans and aim to still deliver over half of our programme this year. Some events will slip in to early 2021. Keep an eye on this website to see the latest information You can find complete listings on/of What’s On and Digital Content and follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn
We ask for your understanding as we move forward. We will be guided by Government guidelines at all times. We ask anyone visiting or taking part in Mayflower 400 to act responsibly for their own and others’ safety. We will be issuing Covid-19 safety information before every event and some events may have to be restricted to smaller numbers than previously imagined. Please check events are still happening on Visit Southampton before setting off. Remember, you will need a face mask for all live events.
We have been working with representatives of the Wampanoag people for two years to ensure that their voice is embedded within our programme. This November, in honour of Native American Heritage month, we will be sharing a wide range of content created with our Wampanoag partners. Paula Peters, a Wampanoag scholar, has co-created our local educational resources, and is leading on developing online content which will be part of events to mark the anniversary, released throughout the summer and autumn. We will also be screening Wampanoag-made films later in the year.
Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a planned visit to the UK this year, but we hope some representatives will visit Southampton in 2021. You can learn more about the Wampanoag people here and their contribution to Southampton’s programme here.
Events & Workshops
Letters to the Mayflower
Southampton’s 14th century Westgate was where the Mayflower and the Speedwell left Southampton in August 1620 bound for America.