The City Council archaeologists recorded the Canute Castle Hotel, 13 Canute Road before it was refurbished as a mix of commercial and residential units (reference code SOU 1092). The record was made in January 2001 on behalf of SMK Ventures Ltd.
The hotel was built on the site of the former marsh which existed in this area until it was drained in the mid-19th century. The spur for development was the opening of the railway in 1840. Several commercial buildings, including hotels and public houses were built in the area. We did not find any reference to when the Canute Castle Hotel was built, but it must have been at some time between 1847 and 1852. An interesting document held by the Southampton City Council Archives Section is a lease of 1864 which contains a schedule of fittings in the building.
The hotel stands on the corner of Canute Road and Royal Crescent Road. Although its main entrance fronts on to Canute Road, its longest frontage is on to Royal Crescent Road. It is of brick, stuccoed and painted off-white, and historic photographs suggest that this has been the case since at least about 1900. Its elevations are decorated in a fanciful, classically inspired, style. A frieze, on both frontages, above third floor level bears the words "CANUTE CASTLE HOTEL." there is also a plaque on the Canute road frontage inscribed "NEAR THIS SPOT A. D. 1028 CANUTE REPROVED HIS COURTIERS."
The ground floor had been much altered internally to provide two large bars, one at either end of the building. The arrangement of the basement and upper floors is probably very similar as when built, though there was some sub-division of rooms. Of particular interest in the basement is a wooden panelled store room and a kitchen range. The upper floors seemed to be divided into two functional zones. The Canute Road end provided hotel rooms, whilst the other end had a large billiard room at first floor level, with staff accommodation above. The ceiling heights of the hotel rooms became lower with each floor. This probably reflects a change in status with each floor, the most expensive rooms being on the first floor. (Back to top)
A full report can be consulted in the Special Collections section of Southampton Central Library in the Civic Centre.