35 – 39 Low Street, Keighley, Yorkshire BD21 3PS
Woolworths opened in Keighley in 1927. It was on Low Street – you can see it in the below photo on the left, with the recognisable architecture on the first floor. From this we can see it was a purpose-built store.
It is on the far right and we can see the neighbouring store also.
Source: Keighley News
In the 1960s the store had a major makeover. Now I wonder if it actually became an L-shaped store with an entrance to the then new Airedale Shopping Centre opened.
Source: Historic England
Today Superdrug is in the Low Street building, but if you look closely you can kind of see the imprint of the Woolworth letters. Also there are no entrance door here, so this must be the back of the store.
Source: Longbottom B.
9 Queensway Arcade, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 3PJ
After 1972, the address changed to the Queensway Arcade, which is part of the Airedale Shopping Centre. On Google Maps, this building is directly behind the Low Street building, which is why I think it was a large L-shaped store, as well as the similar brickwork. If there are any Keighley locals reading this, please correct me if I am wrong.
Here we see the Queensway entrance on the right.
Source: Ward D.
The store lasted until the end, closing after the chain went bust in December 2008.
Today New Look is in the Queensway building.
30 – 36 Front Street, Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham
Woolworths opened in Chester-le-Street in 1927. It was quite a large store on Front Street, purpose-built with an art deco facade. You can see it in the below 1950s photo, the white building with the canopies on the far right. Chester-le-Street looks busy and bustling here, you can’t see the pavement for the amount of people on it.
Source: Francis Frith
Dee Hunter was the store manager for 3 years, between 2002 and 2005, Chester-le-Street also being her home town. The local newspaper did a piece on the town’s history where Woolies was featured.
Former employee Katherine Talbot has kindly shared this team photo from 2003. This is when the store had a makeover and reopened as a 10/10 store. She tells us that Dee cut the ribbon to open the refurbished store, while Darren Bradley (STL and entertainment guru ;-)) had Tina Turner’s Simply The Best playing.
Source: Talbot K.
Katherine also met her husband whilst working at this store, and they have since had Woolies children. I’m sure there are a lot of Woolies children out there who never had the pleasure of shopping in a Woolworths store. The Chester-le-Street branch closed after the chain went bust in December 2008.
The building was soon occupied by B&M. If you are ever shopping there, take a look up and admire the old Woolworths architecture.
103/104 New Street, Birmingham B2 4HG
Woolworths opened its second Birmingham store, after the Bull Ring, in New Street in July 1927. They traded from this side of the road for about 20 years, until there was serious bomb damage during WW2.
In 1956, the site of Birmingham’s Theatre Royal – which was located opposite the original New Street store – was sold to Woolworths. In the 1950s the Board was working with City Councils and development companies to transform inner city stores – in this case, they decided to build a skyscraper called ‘The Woolworth Building’. It was designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow who built it in two parts – the first in 1958-61 for Woolworths, the second part for Jack Cotton & Partners. According to the Birmingham Pevsner Architectural Guide, it was “New Street’s architectural disaster… a shapeless mass of Portland Stone, mosaic cladding and green slate stepping up to ten storeys.” – a bit harsh 😛
The above photo shows the ‘skyscraper’, which opened for business in 1961. The offices upstairs generated a substantial rental income for the company.
Below is a side angle of the store from the 1970s. Sadly when Kingfisher took over, they closed this store in 1983 along with the Bullring store. So for a while there were no Woolworths in Birmingham City Centre, until the 1990s when a store opened in the Pallasades Shopping Centre.
Source: Warrick, Mark
Today the building is named “Charters Building”. The building on it’s left is the surviving ‘Piccadilly Arcade’ section of the Theatre Royal. In the 1990s, there was a refurbishment of the offices, and the glass lift was added. The retail unit has been split into six and are occupied by Superdrug, Bella Italia, Boots, The Coventry Bank, Wagamama and a vacant unit. So if you’re ever having dinner at Bella Italia or Wagamama in Birmingham, just remember you are sitting in a quite historic ex-Woolworths!
27 – 29 Mill Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 6NF
Woolworths opened their 265th store in Macclesfield in 1927. It was on Mill Street, a couple of doors down from Marks & Spencer. From the photo below, you will recognise the Woolworths style of building. You’ll also see a window poster showing The Simpsons Movie being released on DVD for £12.99 back in 2007.
Former employee Paul Broome says “There’s a great story about 265 regarding a burglary by an ex Assistant Manager. In the ’90s he was previously dismissed from the company, but one evening he hid in the store at closing time, and then emptied the safe after disarming the alarm codes which had not been changed after his dismissal.” Shocking!
The majority of staff were good people though, and they were a close-knit team. This note was put on the door after the store closed in January 2009.
Today Iceland is in the building, and if you look up, you’ll see the familiar Woolworths architecture.
173 Stamford Street Central, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7PS
Woolworths opened in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1927. It originally opened a small store in Stamford Street, which was fashionable in the old days. Although I don’t have a photo, local resident Sheila Fogg remembers the wooden floorboards, and buying her first single from there with a record token. “I was only about 9, bought ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, then went on to Beatles…”
Woolworths left Stamford Street in the 1960s. Since then, the building has been occupied by PI DIY and Cash Converters. The first floor was damaged by fire, but you can see the shape of the building in the below photo, and there were 5 windows on the upper floor.
Today it is a charity shop for the Wooden Canal Boat Society. The ‘W’ and diamond mosaic tiled floor at the entrance remains in full view today.
55 Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire
In the 1960s Woolworth moved to a mega purpose-built superstore on Warrington Street, between Marks and Spencer and the bus station, facing onto the market ground.
As written by Stuart Vallentine, “it was a convenient spot for grabbing pick and mix (thus avoiding Ringway prices), prior to boarding the Trans-Lancs Express. The recorded music section was nearest to Marks and Spencer with clothing and garden tools nearest to Ashton bus station.”
There were four separate entrances (two opposite M&S, one opposite the bus station, and a rear nearest The Ashton public house) plus a fire exit facing the open market.
Former employee Gill Catherall worked on the record section in 1983. She remembers having the best time playing her fave tracks all day. Her Sunday job was to listen to the Top 40 on the radio, ready to do the Singles Chart in the morning.
Source: Ashton Under Lyne Old Pictures
Gina Ebbrell remembers when her mum worked there, and her bringing home the cream cakes that couldn’t be sold the next day.
Extract from East of the M60:
A trip to a 1980s Woolworths store: Ashton-under-Lyne, 1986
1986 for Woolworths was a transitional year. Its parent company Kingfisher had fought off a hostile bid from Dixons’ Sir Stanley Kalms. Therefore the triumvirate of B&Q, Comet and Woolworths would reap benefits for the historical variety store chain. ‘Operation Focus’ would see increased sales in the items which Woolworths was good at selling – namely toys, audio and video products, plus the famed pick and mix.
On leaving your trusty 346 from K stand, you would try to avoid being run over by passing 409s or 219s. On the left is Presto, the Metro Kiosk to your right. Straight ahead is the entrance to Woolworths. You enter, and the first thing which greets you is the Blood Pressure coin-slot machine and two steps leading to the toy section on the right hand side. Directly in front of you is a till and the Ladybird clothing racks. Board games would flank the walls.
Right at the back of the store is the gardening and housewares section. The bigger products are at the very back, near a coin-operated passport photo booth and a back door leading to The Ashton and Beau Geste public houses. Directly left of the back entrance, you see the home entertainment section. You see assorted portable radios, tape recorders and computer games. The Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum games are close to the audio visual counter. A domain which nobody should miss if they want to avoid returning home with an empty CD box and the inlay notes for Paul Simon’s Graceland album (as all the CDs and tapes are locked in a cabinet).
On the right of the audio visual counter and an adjacent shelf, you see the Scandecor poster racks. You flick through the posters hoping to find anything other than George Michael, and hope to bring home a slightly smutty or humorous poster for your bedroom door. Then again, in a moment of clarity, you decide to buy Jaki Graham’s Set Me Free instead of a Transformers poster. You go to the record racks directly left of the audio visual till, near the set of doors opposite Marks and Spencer. Then you find (popular in the village of Sorry Not In Service) that evergreen seller, ‘Temporarily Out Of Stock’. Bummer! So you check the bargain bin: Princess’ Say I’m Your Number One’s 20p. Bargain! You go to the till, no problem, cue 7″ single in small carrier bag with repeated red ‘WOOLWORTHS’ text emblazoned in diagonal form.
Then you feel peckish. It is too cold for an ice cream at the stall opposite by the roundabouts. Whereas half of Ashton seemed to have been queuing for Westlers’ hot dogs or a 99, you find the ultimate deal breaker. Blackcurrant and liquorice, peppermint creams, miniature Dairy Milks, and pear drops – Pick and Mix – get in!!!! As you pass the chocolate bars and chewing gum, you dive in. To hell with the cost or weight! Then you go to another till to get your booty weighed. It is the one beside the fire doors. Then you leave, content, through the corner door towards the little brew hut near the Cavern and fairly new McDonalds. Edinburgh Rock Me Amadeus!
You check your change. Not enough for a taxi from Iceland, but 12p and an Under-16 card on the 339, 340 or 346 would suffice. Still not enough left to scoff your toffees in front of Teenwolf in the Metro. Then you realised your mother wanted some milk from the new fangled Morrisons supermarket. Holy cack! You’ve just spent part of your mother’s money on Pick and Mix. Grounded! One’s walking home, but at least she’s got Daisy Dairy to help her out.
Sadly, this Woolworths superstore was demolished in 1994 and replaced by four units of the Arcades Shopping Centre.
Store 1190 – Unit 16, The Arcades, Katherine Street, Ashton under Lyne, LancashireOL6 7JE
In October 1994 the store moved into the Arcades shopping mall. It was one of the first occupants, with the rest of the Arcades Shopping Centre completed a year after. It had two floors, the ground having confectionery, entertainment and clothing. The upper floor had toys, gardening and a cafe.
Former manager Kevin Alexander remembers closing the old store and opening 1190 Ashton – an “all singing, all dancing 2 floor store with a cafe. A fantastic store and an even better team. Funniest story was, Norma Clark – the office manager – faced an armed robber who had a shotgun waving at her to open safe. She said ‘Sit down and stop waving that thing as this safe is hard enough to open without you being here.’ ” Actually sounds quite a scary story – eek.
The store closed after the chain went bust in December 2008.
Today the ground floor has been split into Poundland, NS News (former Confectionery area) and The Works (former Entertainment area). Poundland has taken the most space. The upper floor was vacant for a while, but it is now Wilkos.
190 High Street, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1JS
Woolworths opened in Slough, Berkshire in 1927, on the busy and bustling High Street. You can see the store in this 1930s photo, with its 3d and 6d fascia and Art Deco facade. Woolworths is on the far left, a few doors down from the Eagle pub, which was recently River Island and then Select (now vacant). Boots is on the far right, still there today.
Source: The Changing Face of Slough
Here is the store twenty years later, you can see it in the background with the canopies. This photo shows the first EVER zebra crossing in the UK, when it was opened in 1951 – on Slough High Street. It’s now just the pavement in between Boots and the Queensmere shopping centre. They should put a commemorative plaque here.
Source: The 1951 Club
This 1950s video actually shows the Woolworths store in the background. The road was busy with vehicles and there was a traffic light pedestrian crossing directly in front of Woolworths. The zebra crossing can be seen in the distance.
In the 1960s Woolworths had a makeover and changed the front facade. It still had creaky wooden floors though. Former employee Margaret Doe remembers “I worked there on lots of the counters. Lightbulb counter…had to test them as we sold them!”
Wendy Smith worked there in the late 60s to early 70s and she says they sold everything you could possibly need back then. Her first wage was 2 shillings and 10 pence an hour. Madeline Hernandez had her first Saturday job on the sweet counter. “Hot cashew nuts – yummy. You would not believe how much people spent on sweets then. Pounds and I had to add up the total, as the till did not do it.”
We also have a 1960s Woolworths love story from Trevor and Pat Roberts. “We met there in 1965 when we both had Saturday jobs in Woolworths on Slough High Street. We are still married and very happy. I think, I had better check with Pat! Pat was on the biscuit counter, so she sold loads of broken biscuits. She also used to laugh when people asked for Nice biscuits, pronouncing it nice. She used to jokingly say, “They are all nice!”
I worked in the stockroom, so she mainly saw me when I came down to sweep the floor in the evening. Fortunately we both achieved a bit more than floor sweeping and biscuit selling in our working lives.”
In 1972 Lynne Turnbull worked at the store after leaving school. She says it was the “best job I ever had. Pic n mix and the great slabs of cake and broken biscuits…” A few years later in 1975, Lynda Woodhouse-Hall got her “first job after I left school. I was the wonder of Woolworths. My mum also worked there, and my boyfriend worked next door in Fosters”. Tracey Caley worked on pic & mix “I ate more than I sold, and I had to wear a silly little hat!” and Carol Blunt worked on the make-up counter as a Saturday girl and has lots of happy memories.
Lee-ann James says “When I was 16, I went to Woolies High Street for a Saturday job and ended up in the staff canteen as cook – start of 1976…” and Tracey Suzanne remembers “This is where I got my first new bike. Remember looking at it for months every Saturday and then Santa brought it Xmas 1979.”
One Slough resident Gaynor Steer remembers “shopping here one Christmas Day…… Apparently, according to the Slough Observer, the police entered the store and demanded it closed but it stayed open and was fined, but Woolworth had made huge profits by then so they wee not bothered. It was very exciting shopping on Christmas day. I think it must have been in the late 70s early 80s.”
In 1982 the store had a further makeover – this photo shows notices in the windows announcing that the store would be closing in February for two weeks for alterations. Also in this colour photo, we can see the facade of the upper floors was actually blue, which was quite unusual.
In July 1983, my mum and I were shopping in Slough, I would have been 4 years old. We used to go shopping there for special occasions (there was less choice in our hometown of Uxbridge in the 1980s). It happened to be the day before she gave birth to my brother, she remembers. I said to her, “Wow, so do you remember Woolworths when it was in the High Street then?”. She said to me “Yes it was outside.”
A year later in 1984, Woolworths on the High Street closed down. The unit was split into two – the left side became Currys/Dixons and the right side was an independent Home store. Both stores closed in the late 2000s, and then a company bought the building to refurbish it as it had fallen into poor condition.
Source: Crowther Associates
After the refurbishment it was let out to Poundland and JD Sports in Autumn 2010, and they are both successfully trading today.
I went into the Poundland in Slough to see if I could find any clues of it having been a Woolworths. All I could find was possibly these stockroom doors – they look quite old especially around the windows, so these could be the doors from when it was a Woolworths.
Slough did not have a Woolworths for a few years. Then they returned in the 1990s, as Store 1173.
8 The Observatory, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1LE
Woolworths returned to Slough when they opened in the new Observatory shopping centre on 14th June 1991 (where Primark is now). Below is a photo of the store being opened by retail director Martin Toogood and store manager Ken Webstar. According to the Woolworths Museum website, “…several Shopping Centres, like Slough’s Observatory Centre, offered ‘anchor’ sites in new developments at heavily discounted, capped rents. These stores opened long before the neighbouring properties were occupied, and helped to persuade others to take on tenancies.”
Source: Woolworths Museum
Today Primark is in the old Woolworths unit in the Observatory shopping centre.
Nine years after Woolworths had opened in the Observatory shopping centre, they moved, with another new store number of 1243.
106/109 Queensmere, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1DQ
In 2000 Woolworths moved to the Queensmere Shopping Centre, taking over the C&A site when they closed down. It was quite a large store with an upstairs floor too. It had escalators to the right, and upstairs was Ladybird clothing and Home. The store lasted until the end, with its last day of trading being 2nd January 2009.
Today it is B&M Bargains, downstairs floor only, a cluttered store selling a mis-match of home goods, furniture, food and toys – remind you of anywhere? 😉 The escalators/stairs are covered by a wall of shelving, currently toys.
So there you have it, a history of three Woolworths in Slough. If you are ever shopping here, well, now you know which ones were the Woolworths stores.
15 High Street, Deal, Kent CT14 7AB
Woolworths opened in the Kent seaside town of Deal in 1927. They moved into an existing building which still exists today. Though I cannot find any early photos.
It was a medium sized store, and Jayne Richardson worked there in the 1990s. “I started at 262 Deal as a evening shelf filler in October 95. Soon began daytime shifts as well. Such a good and friendly store where we always got great results. I moved on as office manager in 1999 to 1206 Dover but kept in touch with Deal until the better end.”
Here is a photo from 2005, where we can see gardening seeds outside the store, large TVs just inside the entrance, and lots of microwaves piled up in front of the checkout. That does up the randomness of Woolworths.
Source: Emily and James
After the store closed in December 2008, it became a Poundland. I have been in there and it is quite a long store. We can recognise it was a Woolworths from the cream tiles on the pillars and the doors.
13-17 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2TG
Woolworths opened in Tunbridge Wells in 1927. It was on Calverley Road, you can see it in the below photo. This photo was taken in 1935 during the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary, and Woolworths was decorated to celebrate. There would have been souvenirs on sale inside.
The building was updated after 1935, though the shop front doesn’t look much bigger. The upper floor windows have an Art Deco look to them.
Here is a close up of the store in the 1990s. Where there were previously windows at the side, these have been removed and the wall covered in those recognisable cream tiles.
Kathryn Peddie worked at Tunbridge Wells Woolworths in the 90s. She reminisces “I was a shelf filler in Christmas 1992 or 1993 and was invited back the following Easter to be a Saturday girl and became Floor Designate on the lower floor (toys/childrens clothing). I remember one back to school weekend I took something like a quarter of the entire shop takings through my till and the managers were impressed with my speed and friendliness! I loved working there.”
In the 2000s, there was another makeover with a new fascia. Note Boots next door, as they had been in the 1935 photo (called Timothy Whites then).
The store closed in December 2008.
Today Topshop and Topman are in the building – next time you are shopping in Tunbridge Wells, look up and see a bit of Woolworths architecture.
143 – 151 High Street, Penge, London SE20 7DG
Woolworths opened in Penge, an ancient settlement in South East London from before Domesday, in 1927. At first it was a small store, you can see it in the centre on this photo.
Penge was heavily bombed in the Second World War, but there’s no record of Woolworths being hit. They did enlarge the store though, extending into the building on the left side. The new bigger store had the typical Woolworths look, which you can see in this 1960s photo.
Source: Francis Frith
I don’t have a photo of the store in the 1980s, but even better, I found a video! This is pretty amazing to watch – somebody filmed themselves walking through Penge Woolworths in 1988. You can see the doors, the tills, all the products and brands, shelves, rollcages – literally come to life as you watch it. Thank you to the person who randomly decided to film this in 1988.
The store lasted until the end in December 2008, as did the retro doors.
It became a 99p store, and they changed the doors – sad times. Today it is Poundland, as they took over the 99p stores across the country.
108 Hamlet Court Rd, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex SS0 7LP
Woolworths opened in Westcliff-on-Sea in 1927. Westcliff-on-Sea is a suburb of Southend, so it was very close to Store 33, but the difference what that this area was more wealthy. Hamlet Court Road was known as the Bond Street of Essex up until the 1980s.
The store was not purpose built, opening in an existing building. The shops on Hamlet Court Road almost look like houses. From this 1971 photo, the store certainly looks tidy though the window. And an interesting fascia.
Source: Historic England
This Woolworths closed in January 1989. Today it is an Indian Restaurant that has kept the front as it was. Just look at the doors and the tiles – it’s brilliant. If you ever go for dinner at The Shagor in Westcliff-on-Sea, now you know you’ll be eating in an old Woolworths.
28 Market Street, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs ST3 1BT
Woolworths opened in Longton in 1927, back when it was a rich and thriving town. You can see the store on the left side of this photo, next to Boots.
Source: Stoke-on-Trent Live
In 1965, a new shopping centre called the Bennett Precinct opened. It still exists today, with a very green look. Woolworths extended in size, taking over Boots, and having a new boxy look. It had a side entrance into the Bennett Precinct. The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
Source: The Potteries
Longton is quite a sad story when you look at it today. This photo is at the exact same angle as the 1950s one at the start of this post. What was once a bustled street is now full of abandoned shops. The only bit still in use is the railway bridge in the distance.
What is very unique about Longton Woolworths is that is has never been occupied since closure and the fascia is still intact – the store has literally been untouched. A similar ghost store is at Margate. Graham Soult took these photos in December 2018.
Source: Soult G.
If you are a hardcore Woolworths fan and want to see the fascia today, go give Longton a visit!
456 – 460 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 9JD
Woolworths opened in Tottenham, North London, in 1927. It was on the High Road, near to Bruce Grove railway station. The store was purpose-built with an art deco facade, and next to it was Burton also with an art deco facade. It was also close to Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer in the early days.
Source: Tottenham Memories
Tottenham Woolworths was one of the casualties of the Kingfisher takeover and was closed down in June 1986. Today it is Peacocks, and although it looks like a different building because of the brick, it is actually the original building. The tiles from the art deco facade have been taken off, but if you look at the side of the building, you can see the tiles have been left there for some reason.
Here is a front angle of the former Woolworths.
69 – 75 High Street, Strood, Rochester, Kent ME2 4AJ
Woolworths opened in Strood in 1927. It was originally a small store at number 69. This photo shows the store in 1936 vs 1946, with the change in fascia. As for the architecture, it does look like a purpose-built store with the interesting feature in the centre.
Extract from Woolworths Museum After WWII, a “challenge was to remove references to the old maximum price. Customers complained they could no longer find anything that cost threepence or sixpence, after the inflation of the war years. In fact a third of the range was actually 6d or less, but all agreed the signs were no longer appropriate.
With building materials rationed, the only option was to remove the surplus letters, give the fascia board a lick of red paint and then reposition the “F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.” to the centre. The remaining letters, spelling ‘3D and 6D Stores’, and in some cases ‘Nothing over 6D’ were returned to District Office. Most were dismantled and recycled.” See photo above.
This is a close-up of the store, you can see it on the right.
And here, in relation to the whole High Street, it does look rather wedged in between the buildings.
Source: Kent History Forum
Trevor Smith was the assistant manager at Woolworths in nearby Gravesend. He helped out at the Strood refurb in 1987/8 whilst John King was the manager. He remembers Strood being a medium-sized store, surrounded by busy roads at the front, back and side. Mark Pettyfer was also manager for a year at Strood.
Presumably the 1980s refurb refers to the conversion to a Woolworths Local. From the look of the building in the below photo, we can see the store had been extended from number 69 to 75 by now. The style of the architecture with the panelled windows looks 1960s, so this extension possibly took place quite soon after the 1959 photo was taken.
In October 2008, there was a Half Price Toys sale – this photo is still on Google Street View is you scroll back the years.
Source: Google Maps
Just after it was announced that Woolworths had gone into administration in November 2008, all of Strood suddenly queued up to get into the store.
After closure, it became an Iceland, but look up and you’ll see the good old Woolworths 1960s architecture.
186 – 188 Southwark Park Road, London SE16 3RP
Woolworths opened their 255th store in Bermondsey, South East London. It was on Southwark Park Road, and although I can’t find an early photo, this is a photo of the shopping area of the road in the 1950s. The Woolworths store may be the store sticking out on the right.
Graham Scott was the assistant manager in the early 90s. He remembers “it had the worst shrinkage in the south east at the time. It also had rats from the Thames and a ghost in the stockroom (I never saw the ghost only the rats!) Great store. I loved it!!”
This photo is from Google Maps, taken in July 2008. The poster at the front says “£20 million summer clear out” – just 5 months before fate was to hit all Woolworths stores across the country.
Source: Google Maps
The store lasted until the end when the chain went bust in December 2008.
Today Tesco Express is in the building. They have changed the layout of the front windows and doors completely, but the top half is as it was.
10 – 12 North Street, Chichester, Sussex PO19 1LE
Woolworths opened in Chichester in 1927. Whilst I don’t have any information of the early years, we do know that number 12 North Street is listed (the smaller building on the right): “C18. 3 storeys. 2 windows. Tiled hipped roof with tiled ridges. Red brick. Coved cornice. Stringcourse above 1st floor. Sash windows with flush boxes in flat arches; glazing bars intact; carved brick voussoirs to 1st floor windows. C20 shop front and fascia on ground floor replacing former shop window (of early-mid C19 date).”
That explains why it appears that Woolworths was occupying two different stores – it was the fact that they could not change the appearance of number 12. It looks like they did a 1950s makeover on the left side (number 10), with the familiar row of windows on the first floor.
Robert Baker worked as Assistant Manager in the 1980s, Doug Dyers was the manager. He remembers “certain staff always had lunch at 1pm so they could sit down and watch the program Neighbours on the TV.” John Coomber worked at Chichester in 1977, and he remembers “Doug Dyer often used to borrow cigarettes of the trainees. It was a tough time working there. One of the only stores I worked at where the staff were scared of the manager…..could be very harsh at times….not many thanks given out.”
Robert also remembers when Chichester staff helped the Bognor store after it burned down in 1974 and the new store was built. “On a Monday the AM would drive Doug Dyer’s car over to Bognor store (so he could claim mileage) pick up the Bognor van and deliver all the furniture that was sold the previous week in the Chichester store. Fruit and veg sold well there in the 70s. It had one of the highest sales per foot stores in the south.”
Woolworths in Chichester closed down in December 2008. Trayci Adams was one of the staff working there when it closed – and she says there was a ghost at that store.
Today Boots is at numbers 10-12 North Street, but you can recognise certainly the left side as being a Woolworths building.
35 – 36 King Street, Whitehaven, Cumberland CA28 7JW
Woolworths opened in Whitehaven in 1927. It was a large store when it closed, but it was probably small to start off with, at either 35 or 36 High Street. The original Georgian buildings exist above, so it wasn’t a purpose-built store. At some point it was enlarged, covering 35 – 36 King Street and going through to Roper Street. This photo shows how large it was, and the flooding that took place in 1997.
Source: Whitehaven Floods 1997
This is a photo of the back entrance on Roper Street:
Former employee Kim Murray has some stories about Whitehaven Woolworths but is not sure if it’s stuff that should be shared publicly. He says, “Let’s just say I had a great time working there 😂”
In the 2000s the store had a 10/10 makeover, with the aisles going diagonally inside. Look at the posters in this 2004 window, with the NEC mobile photo at £29.99 – the height of mobile technology at the time. And BOGSHP on Chart CDs.
Source: Whitehaven News
Whitehaven Woolworths lasted until the end in December 2008, and became Poundland and a British Heart Foundation charity shop.
55 – 57 Main Street, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire ML5 3BB
Woolworths opened in Coatbridge in Scotland in 1927. I can’t find any early photos of the store, but the frontage in this photo looks 1950s, so there must have been a makeover around then.
Source: The Transport Library
Margaret Barber was the Assistant Manager at Coatbridge twice, with 24 years of service in total. She remembers a few different managers “Pauline Adams was the team leader when I left. First manager I had was Alan, then Pat Delargy, Steven and Paul that’s the only names I remember I think there was at least 4 more. A great bunch of staff at this store.”
James Kelman was Pat’s assistant manager between August 1995 and July 1996. He remembers moving all the kids wear from the back of store to stop it getting stolen.
Former employee Nicola Clarke says the staff nights out were fab. She worked there from 2004 right until the end and was one of the last to have a Woolies baby, being four months pregnant when they closed. She wonders if the drains behind the old entertainment counter still flood in bad weather! Here’s a staff photo she has kindly shared.
And she has shared a photo of what must be the basement level – look at that vintage floor tiling.
Woolworths in Coatbridge closed in January 2009, and it stayed with the signage still there for a good few years. The business that later occupied the building painted a ‘NOT’ on the fascia and called themselves ‘Not Woolworths’. They sold beds and random screws and fittings apparently.
They left, and the building has lay empty ever since. I think somebody bought the building at auction and replastered the front so it looks better, and now they are just looking for a business to lease it. Note on the right side, the original Woolworths doors from the 1950s are still there.
1-7 Wellington Place, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1NY
In July 1926, Woolworths bought the block of 2-6 Wellington Place and 15-20 Pelham. The buildings were demolished (according to the Hastings Chronicle) to build the Woolworths store which opened in 1927. It was an interesting looking building, with four storeys including a roof level with four windows. There were two circular windows on the third floor.
Source: Hastings & St Leonards Forum
Source: Pollard R.
In the 1960s there was a makeover, with this rather retro blue tiled look. This is a side entrance view. I do like the look of the steps up to the door, very stylish. Former employee Mike Edwards started his Woolworths adventure, as he calls it, in 1963.
Source: Esdaile A.
This is a view of the main entrance.
Source: Popkin, A
This photo was taken when the underground walkway was being built in 1988.
Source: gandalfthegrey, Flickr
This is a 1990s photo where you can see the Woolworths fascia has been updated.
Source: Goldsteinleigh Investments
You may remember the offers seen in the window in 2004 – 3 for 2 mix & match all stationery & all schoolwear, half price boys, girls and babies coats, summer clearance and half price Quality Street. Also note the broken door patched up with MDF.
Source: JJ justin, Flickr
The fascia was updated one last time to red with white text, before closing for good on 2nd January 2009.
Source: Snapper Jude, Flickr
It soon became a Sports Direct – here’s a photo we took a few years ago whilst on holiday in Hastings. It’s a large, prominent store – you can’t miss it. They have painted the blue tiles grey, but apart from that is looks exactly as it did as a Woolworths. And even the 4 little roof windows are recognisable from the earlier 1950s photo – a real piece of history.
7 – 8 High Street, Abergavenny, Gwent NP7 5RU
Woolworths opened their 250th store in Abergavenny, Wales in 1927. It opened at number 7 High Street on the site of a former tailor, outfitter, hatter, hosier and shoe shop called William Henry Butt. But many years beforehand, the graveyard of St John’s Church crossed this site, and when Woolworths built their first store here, they found a stone coffin.
In the 1960s there was another redevelopment to extend the store to number 8. When these works were going on, the archway of the cemetery gateway was exposed. The new store looked like a typical 1960s rectangular store.
The store lasted until the end, and closed in December 2008.
In 2009 B&M moved in. They have kept the front as it was when it was Woolworths, but closed the doors on the right permanently to put a trolley park in front of it.
Information is from the Abergavenny Street Survey
82 – 86 High Street, Ashford, Kent TN24 8SE
Woolworths opened in the Kent town of Ashford in 1927. You can see it in this 1930s postcard on the left, an interesting building with elegant upper floor windows, and ‘Nothing over 6d’ in a curved section above the windows. It was next to printers called Geerings. Another two doors down was Burtons (who are still in their Art Deco building today).
In the below 1950s photo, we can see the building has not changed but the fascia now reads F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. – the 3d and 6d reference has gone. From this angle the style of the roof can be seen, showing this was not purpose-built store – they had adapted the existing building. On the left side of Woolworth was a business called Pilcher & Co, which they took over in the 1950s to extend the store. They demolished up to Batas Shoes and built a new Woolworths superstore.
Source: Kent Photo Archive
In the early 1980s Trevor Smith was a management trainee at Ashford Woolworths. Evelyn Mitchell also worked there in the 1980s, and Mark Pettyfer was the store manager for three years in the 1990s.
The store lasted until the end and closed on New Year’s Eve 2008. This photo of the store after it closed shows how the whole building looked. There are blinds on the top floor, so this must have been offices or the staff room.
It eventually became a 99p store (later Poundland). They left, and then in November 2017 B&M opened here. What was Batas Shoes next door in the 1950s is now cex (the computer game shop).