Brighton London Road – Store 288

27/31 London Road, Brighton, Sussex BN1 4LE

Woolworths opened their second store in Brighton on 29th October 1927 at 1-2 London Road, on the corner of Cheapside. This branch was nearer to the two railway stations, whereas Store 73 was closer to the seafront.

Brighton Woolworths, London Road 1930s

Brighton Woolworths, London Road 1930s


On 8th June 1934, the store was extended, it looks like into the roof, and possibly to the rear.

Brighton Woolworths,  London Road 1950s

Brighton Woolworths, London Road 1950s

Source: Brighton and Hove City Council

In 1965 Woolworths left the premises at 1-2 London Road. Sainsbury’s, who were next door at No.3, took it over to become a larger self-service supermarket at 1-4. What I find interesting it that with all the alterations, they kept the 3 little roof windows in the style of the original Woolworths store. They traded here until 28th February 2007.

Brighton Sainsbury's, London Road 2007

Brighton Sainsbury’s, London Road 2007

Source: Pipes, Alan (Fred)

More recently Aldi started trading from here, from 19th March 2009.

Aldi Brighton, London Road 2009

Aldi Brighton, London Road 2009

Source: Pipes, Alan (Fred)

In 1965 Woolworths relocated up the road to 27-31, a larger Art Deco building (a former department store called Roslings) with 3 floors. From the below photo it looks as though Woolworths bought the shop next door as well as Roslings, and then recreated the Art Deco front on the other side.

Brighton Roslings, London Road 1960

Brighton Roslings, London Road 1960

Woolworths traded at 27 -31 from 28th May 1965. In the basement they sold haberdashery, paint, gardening, household, DIY and toys. The ground floor sold food, soap powder, confectionery, records, butchery and deli produce and there was a long tea bar at the back of the store. Upstairs was the staff canteen with separate seating area for men and women. Some workers say there was a lady ghost wearing the uniform of Roslings. (Source: Clarkson, Paul – Working at Woolworths in the 1970s)

Brighton Woolworths, London Road 2007

Brighton Woolworths, London Road 2007

Source: Mould, Tony

The store was re-modernised in the 1980s, and then there was an arson fire in the basement in 1987 – so they had to close temporarily. The basement was never reopened, with the stairs covered up with a large display.

Woolworths London Road closed on 30th December 2008. 99p Stores took over the premises and opened nearly a year later on 19th November 2009. Here it is – would look really good if they re-painted the Art Deco front, it is looking rather grubby!

Brighton LR 99p 2014

Source: Ballysundriven


5 responses

  1. […] branch opened in Western Road on 5th August 1916. It was joined by two further Brighton stores in London Road and St James Street in […]


  2. Thanks for this lovely piece of local history. It will be indispensable as the years go on!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember bunking-off school (Sommerhil in Hove) and hanging-around this Woolworths, must have been around 1978-1979. Thanks for posting these photos


  4. Martin Packer | Reply

    I’ve just discovered an exciting new development at this site. The Poundland store that currently occupy it have started stocking a new clothing range and have re-opened the basement after 30 years in order to house it. It’s like a time-capsule down there at the moment, with the distinctive original flooring. Worth a visit if you’re in the area – particularly if you’re ancient enough to remember the original.


    1. Oh my goodness, that is so exciting, thank you for sharing! Take some pictures if you can, and post them to our Facebook or Twitter page, we would love to see!


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