10/14 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AW
In 1925, Woolworths built their Scottish flagship store on the busy and bustling Princes Street, opening its doors in March 1926. It was the second store in Edinburgh after the first one in Leith, but this one was much grander.
Source: ifo Apple Store
Here is it in 1933. Its location next to the Royal British Hotel and Palace Cinema, and opposite the infamous Waverley Steps made it a national landmark.
In 1956 they expanded into the cinema next door, demolishing it and extending their external facade and adding a floor in the roof. The F.W.Woolworth fascia was updated to extend the whole way across.
Here it is in the 1980s shortly before closing, with it’s updated logo.
Source: The Scotsman
1984 they closed down when Kingfisher took over and closed most of their large Woolworth stores. A Wimpy soon opened in its place, here it is in 1986.
Source: Lost Edinburgh Facebook Group
In the 1990s the Wimpy became a Burger King. Here is the parade of shops in 2009, with Boots, Evans and Waterstones.
Source: Beth’s Blogging (design) Blog
All the shops left and the building was empty for a number of years. Then in 2011, Apple started a $20 million reconstruction of the whole building, with the insides totally changed but keeping the grand exterior facade as it was – as fortunately this is a listed building.
This is a photo taken by my brother in March 2015 – we can see it is an Apple Store and a Barclays, and the Royal British Hotel is still there. The Apple branding is very subtle, and the interior is completely open – quite different from it’s Woolworths day, yet the exterior is keeping its heritage. Good work Apple.
163/165 High Road, Balham, London SW12 9BG
Woolworths opened on Balham High Road in 1928. It took over the premises 2 doors down from Barclays Bank, which you can see in the below 1915 postcard.
Source: Wandsworth Heritage Service
It was a very successful store, winning a regional window-dressing contest in the 1930s. Woolworths used to sell individual feathers for 3p each, as accessories for hats and gowns. The window dresser created a bird out of these feathers for the winning display:
Source: Woolworths Museum
In 1940 during WW2, a bomb hit Balham High Road in front of the Woolworths store, hitting the Northern Line Tube Station platform below. A bus crashed into the crater. Here is a photo of the bus being lifted out – behind the bus would have been where the Woolworth store was.
Source: Feeling My Age
Below is a great photo from 1974, showing Woolworths with it’s 70s fascia. This shopping parade is quite unique as it appears to have houses above each store to the rear.
In 2000, the store was one of the first to be converted to a Woolworths General Store, which offered a pharmacy, health & beauty products, general merchandise and convenience food. Balham was a pilot, renumbered to store 2002, with a Superdrug pharmacy moved instore. The General Store format didn’t do well, and it went back to a normal Woolworths store some years later.
A more recent photo, this is shortly before Woolworths closed on 5th January 2009, window displays not looking as great as they did in the 1930s.
Source: hugovk, Flickr
That same year, a 99p store opened in it’s place. Here is a photo I took this month, with it’s new updated fascia (I don’t like it) and Barclays Bank still alive and thriving.
19 High Street, Market Harborough, Leics LE16 7NW
Woolworths opened in Market Harborough on the site of an old motor garage at 19 High Street in 1928. The garage was demolished and the Woolworths store was built in their recognisable style.
Source: Francis Frith
They traded here until the 1970s. Today a Savers store trades from this site, which opened there in the 2010s. You can tell it was a Woolworth store from the style of the upper floor.
Source: ballysundriven, Flickr
Woolworths relocated to 43-51 The Square, which is just down the road from it’s first location on the High Street.
You may notice that the Woolworths logo is different from the usual. This is because this was a 10/10 store, where a new look was trialled in 2002/03. Market Harborough was the lucky store that got chosen to try out the new design for the smaller stores. Unfortunately it didn’t work as well as it did in the larger stores – the store became too congested and customers found it hard to get to the back of the shop on busy days. So the design wasn’t rolled out to the rest of the small Woolworths and they were left looking a bit tatty 😦
Market Harborough Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008. Here is it after it closed down:
Source: ballysundriven, Flickr
In late 2009 it became a New Look. Last year they changed their fascia from black to white and here it is:
The Galleries, Broadmead, Bristol, Avon BS1 3XB
In October 1991, a new shopping centre called ‘The Galleries’ opened in Bristol – and Woolworths occupied a corner on the ground floor. This Woolworths replaced the original store (Broadmead – Store 10) that was demolished to make way for building the shopping centre.
Source: Myk, Flickr
Although it was a large unit, people say it was a shadow of its former Bristol store, and without a cafe! Still it traded here for a good 17 years until closure in December 2008. Here is a photo I took when visiting Bristol in 2009:
In 2010, a Family Bargain store opened in its place (a sister brand of the 99p stores). They traded here for 2 and a half years, and then closed as it was a short-term lease and a larger 99p store had opened on the top floor.
Source: Soult, Graham
In December 2014, Bargain Buys (who are owned by Poundland) moved in. Here is it today:
Source: The Galleries, Bristol
1- 2 East Mews, The Pallasades, Birmingham B2 4XA
This store opened in the Pallasades Shopping Centre on 31st October 1991. 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 window display.
Here is the store just before it closed in December 2008.
Source: John M
Poundland traded from this spot for a few years, but it has now closed down as the whole shopping centre is being redeveloped into the shiny new ‘Grand Central Birmingham’.
Source: Soult, Graham
I wasn’t joking about it being shiny. Here is an artist’s impression of the development, which is due to open in September 2015:
Source: New Street : New Start
Source: The Midlands in Business
All pretty exciting, I may have to pay Birmingham a visit in September!