Lost 1980s Southampton landmarks we all miss

Southampton bird aviary
Southampton bird aviary

Featured below are half-a-dozen 1980s landmarks we can’t see anymore but often wish we could.

The following is just a small selection of the sights we miss seeing.

There are numerous more, so let us know in the comments below which you miss and would like to see included on future lists.

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Canute’s Pavilion - Ocean Village

Rundown warehouses and sheds at Southampton’s Princess Marina Docks were torn down in January 1986 to make way for a new £75m marina development.

The public were invited to view plans for the 75-acre development which eventually included a marina, multi-screen cinema, offices, luxury homes, restaurants and the shopping centre Canute’s Pavillion

Ocean Village officially opened in July 1986 and the first 50 boats into the marina were greeted with a bottle of champagne.

In April 1987, work began on the second phase of the development. The £12m extension added 36 more shops, a quayside restaurant and more parking spaces to Canute’s Pavilion

In September 1987 the Echo reported that high rents were driving disappointed tenants out of Ocean Village’s shopping centre Canute’s Pavilion. By March 1989 even more businesses had stopped trading, prompting fears the complex could become a “multi million pound white elephant.”

Daily Echo: Ocean Village 4/9/87
Daily Echo: Ocean Village 4/9/87

Danny La Rue officially opened Ocean Village phase two in November 1987 after the Great Storm delayed the launch date by a month.

By January 1992, 100,000 square feet of office space was occupied at Ocean Village but the dream for Canute’s Pavilion as a specialist shopping haven were lost. The retail complex continued to struggle with just 41 retail units trading out of a total of 72. Around 90 different tenants had come and gone and only nine who signed up in the first year remained.

In July 1996, the ailing Canute’s Pavilion underwent a £350,000 refurbishment Included in the developments was Way Out West, a new entertainment complex featuring mini bowling, arcade cabinets, a children’s play area and bar.

Canute’s Pavillion was demolished in 2008 to make way for new housing, restaurants and office space

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Southampton Rose Garden - Civic Centre

Many Southampton people will remember with affection the rose garden and fountain that once stood in front of the Civic Centre.

The garden was first laid out in 1934 and boasted twenty-two beds of roses along with sixteen trees of various species.

Daily Echo:
Daily Echo:

The garden was demolished in the late 1980s to make way for a new road system to help with the increase in traffic in and out of the city.

The fountain was re-located outside the Art Gallery entrance.

Southampton Central Baths -  Western Esplanade

The £500,000 Southampton Central Baths were opened on March 24, 1962, when more than 1,000 keen swimmers and guests were in attendance to see then-mayor, Alderman Gladys Barker, perform the cutting.

Daily Echo: Centere 2000 swimming baths
Daily Echo: Centere 2000 swimming baths

By 1987 the baths were losing money and underwent a major revamp and rebranding - Centre 2000 was born.

The complex was demolished and The Quays were opened in 1999.

The Dell - Milton Road

Way before St Mary’s Stadium and throughout the 1980s, we’d cheer on the Saints at their, former, far more intimate ground - The Dell.

Having cost £10,000, the ground opened on September 3, 1898, with a 4-1 victory over Brighton United.

In 1928, a new West Stand was added, and just a year later the East Stand was destroyed by fire. It was replaced with a replica of the West Stand.

At the Dell, opposing teams often found the atmosphere intimidating since it was such a compact stadium.

A bomb exploded on the pitch on November 30, 1940, leaving a crater 18 feet in diameter. The ground was re-opened in October 1941.

Saints had the first permanent floodlights when, on October 31, 1950, they put them into play during a friendly against Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic.

Daily Echo:
Daily Echo:

Saints lost 3-0 to Manchester United on October 8, 1969, in front of a crowd of 31,044 – the largest attendance the ground ever had.

A new stadium was planned for the area now occupied by the West Quay Retail Park and on another occasion, the club was to relocate to North Stoneham. Neither move was implemented.

A friendly match against Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, May 26, 2001, was the last played at the ground. Uwe Rosler scored the last goal at the Dell for Saints in a 1-0 victory.

Saints moved to St Mary’s on August 11, 2001, and played a friendly against Espanyol.

There is now housing on the site of the old Dell, while the former centre circle has been preserved as a green space.

The Polygon Hotel - Polygon

The Polygon Hotel could be traced back to Georgian days when the city enjoyed a brief reputation as a spa resort - although the original building was pulled down in the 1780s.

By the early 1900s, the building had once again opened as a hotel, serving people from all over the globe.

Among those to enter their names in the guest book were boxing legend Muhammad Ali and comedians Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise.

Both the rich and the famous were eager to stay in the hotel, many of them bedding down there before boarding one of the great liners.

The hotel even boasted a bar reserved exclusively for chauffeurs as they waited for their important clients while they dined in the hotel.

Daily Echo: polygon hotel before conversion..
Daily Echo: polygon hotel before conversion..

On February 7, 1959, a large-scale celebration took place as a ribbon was ceremoniously cut by a lady clutching a bouquet while applause erupted. It was a big occasion - the official opening of their new lift!

The Daily Echo were there to record the event and informed readers the lift, the highest in Southampton at the time, could carry 12 people and rose to 85 feet.

The Polygon Hotel was full of life, music and laughter, but as times and expectations changed, guests began looking for venues with swimming pools, spa treatments and gymnasiums.

Because of this the Polygon Hotel shut its doors for the last time on January 1, 1999, and was subsequently replaced with a block of flats built to reflect the original plans from 1768.

The Bird Aviary - Andrews Park

The Aviary, once in Andrews Park, was a prominent landmark of Southampton - one that couldn’t be ignored due to the incessant squawking.

Amid the cawing, some of the birds would talk, and one would even take coins from children through the fence.

Daily Echo:
Daily Echo:

The coins were later collected by the keepers and given to charity.

Southampton’s Bird Aviary was originally near Upper Prospect Place but was located in the north-west corner of the park, near Above Bar Street, from 1934.

The aviary, which was home to 90 different birds, was pulled down in 1992.

Daily Echo:
Daily Echo: