The Swan Shopping Centre in Eastleigh

The Swan Centre in Eastleigh being built in 1989

The Swan Centre in Eastleigh being built in 1989

First published in Hampshire Business

IT has welcomed thousands of customers through its doors and become a town centre landmark.

Now Eastleigh’s Swan Shopping Centre is celebrating a quarter of a century in business.

It will celebrate the anniversary today with a host of free activities.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Titan meets the Mayor of Eastleigh in 2010

Launched in 1989 the £37 million covered venue proved controversial at the time due to significant delays, with it opening a year later than originally planned. This led to criticism of the cost to taxpayers.

There was also concern about attracting a major anchor store and just days before it was due to throw open its doors firefighters had to deal with a blaze – luckily there was no damage.

On opening only six of its 21 stores were doing business with developers saying it was meant to be a low-key housewarming event.

Nevertheless more than 18,000 shoppers flocked to the centre in the first two days.

It eventually attracted other major high street brands and the town’s first floor library arrived in the early 1990s.

It has also seen its fair share of famous faces – England goalkeeper Peter Shilton opened a sports shop in 1989.

Hampshire Chronicle:

The opening day of the Swan Centre in June 1989

In 1990 the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ visit led to massive crowds likened by police to a football match turnout at Southampton’s former ground The Dell, with queues stretching three-quarters of a mile.

Other iconic visitors include Darth Vader in 1994, Mr Blobby in 1997 and Bugs Bunny in 1998.

Hundreds turned out to meet Katie Price, formerly known as Jordan, who dropped in to sign copies of her book in 2011.

The centre now has 50 shops and 8.5 million visits each year.

But it has had to modernise, introducing an interactive Smart Rewards app launched earlier this year, which allows smartphone users to earn points when they visit.

Eastleigh Council leader Keith House said the centre had “stood the test of time well” and that the addition of the leisure scheme alongside ensured Eastleigh “more than punches its weight” as an alternative shopping centre to Winchester or Southampton.

A host of free activities between 11am and 4pm include an F1 simulator for free using Smart Reward points, a Lego maze, a reflex test machine, magic shows and balloon modelling with a children’s entertainer.

You can also Meet a Dalek from Doctor Who between 12pm and 2pm or take part in a charity spinathon at the Boswells cafe for a free drink.

Comments (6)

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2:23pm Sat 16 Aug 14

ameliaS says...

Alternative to Winchester? Has Mr. House ever been shopping in Winchester? He needs to get out more. Someone told me that some of the units at The Swan have never been let since it opened. A great pity if true.
Alternative to Winchester? Has Mr. House ever been shopping in Winchester? He needs to get out more. Someone told me that some of the units at The Swan have never been let since it opened. A great pity if true. ameliaS
  • Score: 7

2:58pm Sat 16 Aug 14

owenmahamilton says...

The Brooks in Winchester isn't much better, there's lots of empty shops there too.
The Brooks in Winchester isn't much better, there's lots of empty shops there too. owenmahamilton
  • Score: 7

10:54pm Sat 16 Aug 14

mike coll says...

If this is the best Eastleigh can do, the ho dear, BUT I cant believe its that old, my crap wears well.
If this is the best Eastleigh can do, the ho dear, BUT I cant believe its that old, my crap wears well. mike coll
  • Score: -8

5:07pm Sun 17 Aug 14

sarfhamton says...

Stubs wrote:
Eastleigh is full of tattoo chavs and retards which look as though they live off the welfare system. No wonder they have to employ security blokes to stand outside the 99p shop thinking there kind of important with their in ear radio systems. Oh it can't get any better apart there are more cafés in Eastleigh then there there are in entire Hampshire. I hear Waterstones shop in the Swan centre may be another cafe. Great just what we wanted. So come to Eastleigh if you like cafés and charity shops and like to mingle in with people who live off welfare. You'll enjoy your shopping experience!!
Retard is an offensive word for people with learning disabilities. Eastleigh is better off without scum like you.
[quote][p][bold]Stubs[/bold] wrote: Eastleigh is full of tattoo chavs and retards which look as though they live off the welfare system. No wonder they have to employ security blokes to stand outside the 99p shop thinking there kind of important with their in ear radio systems. Oh it can't get any better apart there are more cafés in Eastleigh then there there are in entire Hampshire. I hear Waterstones shop in the Swan centre may be another cafe. Great just what we wanted. So come to Eastleigh if you like cafés and charity shops and like to mingle in with people who live off welfare. You'll enjoy your shopping experience!![/p][/quote]Retard is an offensive word for people with learning disabilities. Eastleigh is better off without scum like you. sarfhamton
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Sun 17 Aug 14

proud2bfrom southampton says...

anchor store is a Tesco's ! , waterstones , evans are closing down oh and a chinese that people are dying to go to and its a alternative to southampton ?
anchor store is a Tesco's ! , waterstones , evans are closing down oh and a chinese that people are dying to go to and its a alternative to southampton ? proud2bfrom southampton
  • Score: 5

5:10pm Mon 18 Aug 14

ottred says...

Eastleigh is dying. I lived there from 6 months old to when I was 18. It was untidy back in the 70's, but there were shops a plenty for every occassion & need, and 3 cafeterias, the friar tuck, the mini diner and the wimpy. I loved it. A saturday morning as a child would be walking to the shop with my Mum, visit the fishmongers, fruit & veg & the butcher on the way back, She'd give me the key & tell me to run on & put the kettle on, just in time for Thunderbirds!.. in my late teens would mean pick up the delivery from Torbocks, raid it for the fresh bread, make some jam on toast, put your best clobber on, go into Eastleigh, Jack hobbs records, mini diner for some coffee & meet your mates, then into Southampton, hit the pubs, go to football, come back to Eastleigh, in for some tea then a quick change & back out again.
Eastleigh is dying. I lived there from 6 months old to when I was 18. It was untidy back in the 70's, but there were shops a plenty for every occassion & need, and 3 cafeterias, the friar tuck, the mini diner and the wimpy. I loved it. A saturday morning as a child would be walking to the shop with my Mum, visit the fishmongers, fruit & veg & the butcher on the way back, She'd give me the key & tell me to run on & put the kettle on, just in time for Thunderbirds!.. in my late teens would mean pick up the delivery from Torbocks, raid it for the fresh bread, make some jam on toast, put your best clobber on, go into Eastleigh, Jack hobbs records, mini diner for some coffee & meet your mates, then into Southampton, hit the pubs, go to football, come back to Eastleigh, in for some tea then a quick change & back out again. ottred
  • Score: 2

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