Monthly Archives: January, 2015

East Ham – Store 127

72/76 High Street North, East Ham London E6 2JL

Originally Woolworths opened in East Ham in the 1920s at 193 High Street. It can be seen in this photo opposite the Palace Theatre.

East Ham Woolworths 1937

East Ham Woolworths 1937

Source: The Newham Story Forums

East Ham was bombed severely in WW2, and the Woolworths was flattened on September 7th 1940 (Source: The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940, by Peter Stansky)

The store was rebuilt at 72-26 High Street North on the corner of Skeffington Road, and this is what it looked like.

East Ham Woolworths 2008

East Ham Woolworths 2008

Source: bowroaduk, Flickr

This was my friend Ruksana’s local store from her childhood. She remembers it being a long store and her mum always buying her kitchenware from here, in particular Tefal. The store closed on 30th December 2008.

Shortly after it closed, Poundland took over the premises. This was one of 4 Poundlands that cut their prices to 97p in 2013 to undercut the many poundshops on the High Street! Today it is back to £1, as I popped in there to buy some chocolates. It definitely still has a Woolworths feel to it.

East Ham Poundland

East Ham Poundland 2014

East Ham Poundland

East Ham Poundland

East Ham Poundland

East Ham Poundland

The original Woolworths which was at 193 High Street opposite East Ham station and the Palace (which became C&A, today a Lidl) is now Sports Direct.

20141228_131806

East Ham Sports Direct

 

 

 

Staines – Store 216

95/103 High Street, Staines, Middlesex

Woolworths opened at 101-103 Staines High Street in the 1920s, next to the old White Lion pub, as you can see in the below 1950s photo. The pub was demolished in 1956 when the one-way road system was built.

Staines Woolworths 1950s

Staines Woolworths 1950s

Source: pubshistory.com

This photo is from the 1960s, you can see Woolworths on the left next to the M&S clock.

Staines Woolworths 1960s

Staines Woolworths 1960s

Source – Did you live in Staines, Ashford or Sunbury Facebook Group

Between the 1960s and the noughties I could find no photos. Somewhere between these decades, Woolworths expanded into the neighbouring building (no 95-99). The Elmsleigh Shopping Centre opened in 1980, so I can guess a back extension took place around then, as there was another entrance to the store inside the shopping centre. This made it a VERY big Woolworths. Here it is shortly before closing for good on 3rd January 2009.

Staines Woolworths 2008

Staines Woolworths 2008

Source: Citykey

Poundland opened soon after at 95-99 High Street, but the main building remained empty until the end of 2010, with it’s fascia still bright and shiny throughout this time.

Staines Woolworths/Poundland 2009

Staines Woolworths/Poundland 2009

Source: Sharville, Ruth

In 2010, H&M announced they would be moving into the Elmsleigh Shopping Centre on a 10 year lease. Below are photos I took on 31st December 2014, the buildings still looking remarkably the same as they did in the 1950s, just with new retailers inside.

Staines H&M 2014

Staines H&M 2014

Staines Poundland 2014

Staines Poundland 2014

Portsmouth – Store 35

121/127 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hants PO1 1D

100 years ago, on 22nd August 1914, Woolworths opened in the naval city of Portsmouth on Commercial Road, a year before the neighbouring Southsea branch opened. The premises started off small, but had a series of extensions in 1926, 1934 and 1938. Below is a postcard of Commercial Road in the 1920s, so you can imagine somewhere along this street stood the Woolworths.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Source: Postcards of the Past

With the city being a major naval port, it suffered terribly during WW2, and the Woolworths building was one of the casualties, being totally destroyed on 11th January 1941. The staff were moved to the nearby Fratton store.
A huge superstore was built in its place, reopening in stages from 1950 to 1953. Below is a photo that may possibly be one of the opening days from all the crowds outside.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Flickr – The House of Blue Leaves

The size of the shop may have looked normal from the front, but from this birds eye view, you can see the scale of the store – massive.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s - birds eye view

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s – birds eye view

The back of the store had a lovely curved feature with huge long windows. This was where the restaurant stood, on a mezzanine floor, with a spiral staircase by the windows leading up to the seating area. The restaurant had light flooding in from the windows, and there was rarely a seat free with it being so popular with customers.
Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Source: Woolworths Museum

Here is a photo of the finished store in the late 1950s, with Littlewoods next door in a similar styled building.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below is a 1970s photo of Commercial Road from ‘A Tale of One City’, with Woolworths on the far left. This was shortly before the road was pedestrianised.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Source: A Tale of One City 

After the road was pedestrianised, Woolworths also had a 70s makeover, and below is a photo showing the new fascia.
Portsmouth  Woolworths 1970s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Between 1986-1989, the Cascades Shopping Centre was being built at the rear of the shops on Commercial Road, and Woolworths had to reduce its size as a result, and lose that lovely restaurant and those curved windows 😦
There wasn’t much change in the 1990s… My cousin worked there one Christmas – she reminisces “Yeah, it was fun”
Here is a photo from 2004, showing Woolworths really standing out with their signage. Littlewoods Extra is next door, but they closed down the year after and Primark took over that space.
Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below are two photos from 2008 before Woolworths closed down, one from the High Street and the other from the Cascades shopping centre entrance.

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 - front

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – front

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths  2008 - back

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – back

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008. The shop lay empty for 2 and a half years, possibly as it was such a large space. Then in 2011, neighbouring Primark announced they were planning to extend into the 30,000 sq ft space, creating one giant super-Primark.

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Source: 192.com

Burgess Hill – Store 891

49/51 Church Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex RH15 9BH

Woolworths arrived in Burgess Hill in September 1955 on Church Road (now Church Walk).

Burgess Hill Woolworths c1960

Burgess Hill Woolworths c1960

Source: Francis Frith

It was one of the later branches to be opened, as you can tell from the store number, and it looks as though it was medium sized from the photo above. I spoke to Burgess Hill local Robert who remembers the store from his childhood, in particular the pic n mix!

The store didn’t last long though, closing just under 30 years later on 15th September 1984. Perhap it was one of the low performing stores, or it was one of the casualties of the Kingfisher takeover when they closed several stores down to gain capital.

The building was later split into two and occupied by Sussex Stationers and Currys. In 2012 they had both closed down.
Burgess Hill emptycurrysandbookshop
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered

In April 2012, a Wetherspoon pub opened here, after a £1.4 million makeover. During the makeover, the ghost of Woolworths past was revealed!

Burgess Hill Woolworths Ghost Sign
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered

The pub is called The Six Gold Martlets – here it is, alongside the shiny new Subway, from when I visited Burgess Hill last weekend. I knew it was a Woolworths 😛

Wetherspoons Burgess Hill 2015