The Grapes Public House stands on the south-side of Oxford Street in the centre of the Hampshire port of Southampton. It was a tradition on the morning of a ship's departure for its crew members, especially the fireman and trimmers, to head into town for a last drink ashore before their ship sailed.
Often they would visit a number of public houses, meeting up with fellow crew members. The public houses closest to the docks were the most popular, as the crew could finish their drinks before a final rush down to the dockside to board the ship.
Oxford Street is a short walking distance, via Terminus Terrace and Platform Road/Canute Road to Dock Gate 4, which led down to the Titanic's berth. On the morning of 10 April 1912 some of the Titanic's crew were to be found drinking in the Grapes Public House, right up until the Titanic's noon departure.
The Titanic was docked at Berth 44, which was approximately half-a-mile south of Oxford Street at the southern tip of Southampton's White Star Dock. Today, the Grapes Public House marks its connection to the Titanic story with its display of memorabilia and pictures, and its exterior Titanic mural.
The Grapes Public House is an early nineteenth century brick-built structure, standing on Oxford Street in the centre of Southampton. The building, numbers 41-43, extends over three main storeys with an attic storey. The building is three bays wide and is faced in yellow brick.
The ground floor frontage is later, and provides entrance to the bar area. The second and third storeys have white-painted, wooden sash windows. The third storey is topped with a projecting brick cornice, with a half-height attic storey above.
The windows to the central bay on all storeys are bricked up, with the first floor window blank carrying a painted mural of the White Star Line Titanic at night, in front of an over-sized iceberg. Above are a bunch of grapes and the White Star Line house flag, a red burgee flag with a white star.
Affixed to the first floor central bay is a projecting ornamental wrought iron sign, carrying the name of public house, spelt in ornate gold-painted letters. The sign has ornate supporting wrought iron scrollwork and a central lantern with ornamental finial.
The Grapes Public House was awarded Grade II listed status on 8 October 1981. Also along Oxford Street are three more listed buildings: numbers 44, 45-47, and 48-49. Much of the surrounding area was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. As part of their aerial bombing campaign against Britain, the docks at Southampton were targeted and many buildings in the vicinity were damaged or destroyed.