Southampton’s leprosy hospital dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene (said to have changed into Marlands) was situated near the present Civic Centre. Leprosy died out in this country and our last warden of the hospital was pensioned off in the 1420’s. There is information about leprosy on the corner of Watt’s Park opposite the James Matthews building of Solent University.
In 1348 the Black Death arrived via a boat at Melcombe Regis near Weymouth. Southampton lost about 25% of its population. Plague struck again in 1563 with about 400 deaths. Victims’ houses had red crosses on them.
The London Great Plague of 1665 spread to Southampton and one estimate says 1,700 died over an eighteen month period. The Mayor appealed for help and King Charles II sent £50, doctors and 20 tuns of French wine.
In 1849 cholera came to the town with some 200 people dying mostly in Simnel Street, Back of the Walls and Kingsland. Further outbreaks in 1865 and 1886 led to 41 and 100 deaths respectively.
The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19 also claimed many lives.