Southampton's multi-million Canute's Pavilion shopping
centre

Southampton's multi-million Canute's Pavilion shopping centre

The site was originally Southampton’s Outer Dock which opened in 1842. By the 1980s, the dock fell into disuse.

In January 1986, the dilapidated warehouses and sheds that once cluttered the area were demolished to pave the way for an ambitious £75 million marina project.

Inside Canute’s Pavilion

A preview of the proposed 75-acre project was open to the community, showcasing designs that would feature a marina, a multi-screen cinema, office spaces, upscale residences, dining establishments, and the retail hub known as Canute’s Pavilion.

In the summer of 1986, Ocean Village made its grand debut by welcoming the initial fleet of 50 boats with a celebratory bottle of champagne as they docked at the marina.

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 An Echo newspaper from September 1987 highlighted the issue of escalating rents causing Ocean Village’s shopping centre, Canute’s Pavilion, to lose its tenants.

Ocean Village

By March 1989 even more businesses had stopped trading, prompting fears the complex could become a “multi-million pound white elephant.”

Ocean Village phase two was inaugurated by Danny La Rue in November 1987, following a one-month delay caused by the Great Storm.

By January of 1992, Ocean Village had already filled 100,000 square feet of office space, yet the original dream for Canute’s Pavilion as a unique shopping destination was still far from being a realisation.

Inside Canute’s Pavilion

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.

During the summer of 1996, Canute’s Pavilion was refurbished through a significant investment of £350,000.

Among the enhancements was the creation of Way Out West, an innovative entertainment venue that boasted mini bowling, arcade games, a dedicated children’s zone, and a trendy bar.

Ocean Village

The iconic Canute’s Pavilion was torn down in 2008 to pave the way for the development of modern residential buildings, dining establishments, and commercial offices.

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