Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth is celebrating its 20th birthday today (Sunday 28th February).
The shopping centre, located near to both the catamaran and hovercraft terminals, has become a firm favourite with Islanders looking to explore top brands and, of course, the Cadbury’s chocolate shop.
Gunwharf Quays was designed using the V&A waterfront complex in Cape Town as the inspiration. Developers procured redundant land from the Royal Navy, whose history on the site dated back to the 13th century. The area was at one point called HMS Vernon and was home to Royal Navy Divers throughout both World Wars.
A selection of photographs have now been released looking back at the history of the site, from its days as a naval base through to the inaugural shopping day and even a visit from Her Majesty The Queen.
Colin Wilding, Senior Centre Director at Gunwharf Quays has memories of Gunwharf Quays from its conception:
“From the day of opening, in 2001, Gunwharf Quays was ahead of its time, a comprehensive mixed-use operation with bars, restaurants, a casino, a cinema and a bowling alley. The retail area opened as an Outlet centre, as unique today as it was back then for such a comprehensive scheme. 1000 on site residents gradually moved into the residential area and the icing on the cake…in 2005 the Spinnaker Tower, offering spectacular views over the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, opened its doors. All of this in a location overlooking the sea, Gunwharf Quays couldn’t fail but to be successful.
“Not only is the centre one of the top performing Outlet centres in the UK, its vibrant waterfront bars and restaurants are also some of the most successful. I joined the Gunwharf Quays team in 2014 to support the delivery of a new and invigorated strategy, winning awards that Outlet centres hadn’t historically been taken seriously for, and seeing strong growth. A great centre with a great team will ensure the future is as positive as the past – I can’t wait to see how the centre evolves over the next 20 years and beyond.”