Birmingham Bull Ring – Store 103

105/107 The Bull Ring Centre, Birmingham B5 4QN

Originally, Woolworths opened in Birmingham City Centre on Spiceal Street in 1921, 6 years before the nearby New Street branch opened.

THEN:

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1921

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1921

Source: Woolworths Museum

It was hugely successful in this location – sales were amongst the highest in the country in the 1930s – so they doubled it in size, with the addition of a large restaurant, and then made further enhancements in the 1950s. You can see below how it is over 2 stores.

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1959

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1959

Source: Nicklin, Phyllis http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/263/

Major changes were to come in the 1960s – “Woolworths own construction department worked closely with town planners and Taylor Woodrow to devise a massive redevelopment scheme for the City Centre. By releasing land owned by Woolworths they traded both for cash and a brand new store in a new shopping precinct to be known as the Bull Ring Centre. Half of the original Bullring store was demolished to allow for development, with a new ultra-modern Woolies built in its place. Woolworths then swapped into the new site allowing the rest of the old store to be redeveloped.” Source: 100thbirthday,co.uk 

I have included the below photo so you can see the location of the St Martin church – this is how we can work out what is in the same location today. This is in 1962 when the new Bull Ring Centre store is being contructed with the old store next door still trading.

Birmingham Woolworths 1962

Birmingham Woolworths 1962

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffsimages/7161080582/

The Bull Ring Centre was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in May 1964. Linked by escalators and stairs, with 23 acres of space, air-conditioning, valet parking and tropical plants(!), it was the biggest indoor shopping centre in Europe, with the largest Woolworths in Europe. Watch this video for a nostalgic insight into the building: Bull Ring Opening Video

Below is a photo from 1966, showing the ultra-modern new flagship Woolworths. It was the superstore of its time, with modernised ranges and shop-fittings, featuring a large foodhall, an extended clothing range, plus a top floor cafe where they had a ‘never seen before’ iced water machine.

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths 1966

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths 1966

Source: Dowling, Geoff 

Unfortunately, just 20 years later, in 1983 the store closed for business, when the board decided to sell larger stores to release capital – “The Bull Ring store was one of the first to be disposed by Kingfisher in 1983 to another developer planning to raise the whole site to the ground and replace it with something architecturally significant.” (Source: 100thbirthday,co.ukThere wasn’t a Woolies in the City Centre until the 1990s when they re-opened in the Pallasades Shopping Centre.

Birmingham Woolworths 1983

Birmingham Woolworths 1983

Source: Birmingham City Centre Past Facebook group

Some forums say Mark One traded from this building in the 1990s, but this was on the other side of the ramp – so I am presuming it lay empty for decades, before the Bull Ring Centre was demolished in 2000. The new Bullring shopping centre was then built, opening in September 2003.

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths Demolition 2000s

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths Demolition 2000s

Source: Wilde, Brett

Below is a photo from 2007 after the new shopping centre was opened with the new Selfridges chain-mail building in the foreground. Behind the church is Borders which looks as though this was where the original Woolworths building would have been. Borders have since closed down.

Birmingham Bullring from north 2007

Birmingham Bullring from north 2007

Source: Warrins, Gavin 

In 2011, the Bullring was extended to have a new ‘Spiceal Street’ centre with restaurants (see below). So I would say this corner is where the Bull Ring Woolworths once stood.

NOW:

Birmingham Bullring 2011

Birmingham Bullring 2011

Source: http://bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk/spiceal-street-opening/

 

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4 responses

  1. When I visited Birmingham in about 1991 or 1992 the former Woolworths store in the Bull Ring was an unbranded discount shop selling pound shop type goods still using the original Woolworth fittings and there were a few Winfield logos showing in places. They used only part of the store – the other floors were unlit and roped off.

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  2. […] It was the first time Woolworths had returned to Birmingham City Centre after the closure of the Bull Ring and New Street branches back in the 1980s. This photo is from my Facebook group, showing a great […]

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  3. […] 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 […]

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  4. Norman Wilmot. | Reply

    I work at the billing and new street over 40 years ago

    Liked by 1 person

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