How quickly memories fade of even the most familiar of places and the old Polygon Hotel in Southampton that has now been gone almost ten years.

For years the hotel, with its revolving entrance door, wood panelling and comfortable, club like atmosphere was at the centre of the city's social life.

Countless dinner dances were held in the hotel's ballroom, its bars were ideal for a drink before a night at the Gaumont, just round the corner in Commercial Road, while the Polygon was a firm favourite with passengers from the great ocean liners that sailed in and out of the docks.

To sit in the lobby and watch the busy comings and goings of the guests was an entertainment in itself while music drifted out of the ballroom where the hotel's resident band leader for more than 30 years, the late Brian Gorman played for the guests.

There are still people who will remember the band-leader taking a sombre break from his music, on a fateful night in 1963, to announce that President Kennedy had been killed.

The hotel's ballroom was added in 1963 when £100,000 was spent of enlarging the area so it could accommodate up to 400 guests.

A report in the Daily Echo at the time said: "Its appearance on the Southampton social scene has been followed by a wave of bookings, and throughout the period from October to April it is greatly in demand.

"About one third of the ballroom - the section which guests first enter - is used as a reception foyer. When dinner is served the dividing curtains are drawn, the lights rise in the ballroom and are lowered in the foyer.

"By these means it is hoped to induce people psychologically from one area into the other.'' Famous faces Many famous people passed through the reception area, which was for so long overseen by head porter, major-domo and toastmaster, the late Bill Conroy.

Among those who signed their name in the hotel's register were the world boxing champion, Muhammad Ali and comedians Tommy Cooper and Morecambe and Wise.

Later whenever Eric talked about his time in Southampton he would always say that he had stayed at the "Dead Parrot.'' Decades ago the Polygon even boasted of bar reserved especially for chauffeurs as they waited for the rich and famous dinning at the hotel.

Once the hotel was full of life but eventually time and changing expectations of guests looking for gymnasiums, swimming pools and spa treatments signalled the end of the Polygon.

In April, 1999 the demolition gangs moved in to clear the hotel and make way for a new development of luxury apartments.

The hotel's roots could be traced back to Georgian times but the original building was pulled down in the 1780s.

By the early 1900s the Polygon, largely as it is remembered today, had been built. When the first hotel opened in the mid-18th century it then stood in area that was still considered to be quite rural and the journey from the old town to the Polygon was considered my some to be quite an adventure.

In the First World War, the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force, camped out in the hotel while during the Second World War the Polygon was HQ for the 14th Major Port US army in the lead-up to the D-Day invasion in 1944.