Monthly Archives: October, 2014

Ilford – Store 1241

4 Balfour Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 4JH

The Ilford store was a relatively new one in the history of Woolworths stores – but the address has a fascinating history. Originally it was the Ilford Super Cinema which opened on 14th October 1922. In WW2, Ilford suffered the most German V2 rocket hits and the cinema was one of the casualties in 1945 – the building had to be boarded up.

Ilford Super Cinema 1920s

Ilford Super Cinema 1920s

Source: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/14414

In 1959 – 14 years later – the cinema was demolished and a C&A built in it’s place – a pretty eye-catching C&A building too.

Ilford C&A 1960s

Ilford C&A 1970s

Source: Ilford in Pictures Facebook Group

Then when all the C&As closed down in 2000, Woolworths took on the lease of 6 of them – Chester, Metro Gateshead, Wood Green, Derby, Slough and of course Ilford.

The building, together with its illuminated Woolworths signs, always caught my eye whenever we drove through Ilford to get to my cousin Rori’s house.  As a young local, she was quite distraught when C&A closed and threw a tantrum in the new Woolworths store… so C&A had it’s fans too. Here is a photo she took:

Ilford Woolworths 2008

Ilford Woolworths 2008

Ex-Woolworths employee and local Kerry Phillips reminisces, “I worked there for a couple of Christmases and always remember lots of people frantically shopping for last minute sweets and chocolates. The year Leona Lewis won X Factor I remember that song got to number one and it was played in store all day! “

She also remembers buying a CD on it’s last weekend of trading and how upbeat everyone was being. The Ilford store closed on 2nd January 2009.

In October 2009, a Wilkinson’s opened in it’s place. So although this is not a traditional Woolworths building, it is an iconic one and will probably stay a part of Ilford for many years to come.

Ilford Wilko 2014

Ilford Wilko 2014

Source: http://www.crossrail.co.uk

Actually, here is an architect’s impression of Ilford after the proposed ‘urban realm scheme’ – it looks like they want Wilko’s gone and a cinema or something movie-themed in it’s place, I’m guessing in homage to the original Ilford Super Cinema.

Architects Impression of future Ilford

Architects Impression of future Ilford

Newbury – Store 307

13-15 Northbrook Street, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 1DJ

Woolworths opened in the market town of Newbury on 3rd March 1928, next to the prestigious department store Camp Hopson. It started off in small premises – here is a photo I estimate from 1930s:

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

In the early 60s, the store was extended to nearly double it’s size, and the front fascia completely remodelled.

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

After the makeover, the store front didn’t change much in appearance over the years, although it did have a series of extensions at the rear. Below is the store around 1965, with Burtons on the other side. We can see how traffic is building up here.

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Here is the store in the late 1980s, before the street got pedestrianised in 1998.

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Newbury Woolworths closed on 30th December 2008, after 90 years of trading. Here is a photo from when I visited the town in March 2009. From these photos you can see the buildings have not changed since the 60s, and the M&S clock is still standing (needs a new battery though 😉 ) – Northbrook Street has a lot of listed buildings, making it very picturesque.

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Today it is a Wilko (or Wilkinson’s) – I went inside and it is just like walking into Woolworths. The aisles and pillars are the same as before, and the store seems to go on for miles! There’s a back side entrance that leads on to a car park and the back of Camp Hopson. It is nice to have a replacement that does remind you of Woolworths.

Newbury Wilko 2014

Newbury Wilko 2014