Balham – Store 305 / 2002

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.

Balham High Road 1915

Balham High Road 1915

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:

Balham Woolworths Window Display 1930s

Balham Woolworths Window Display 1930s

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.

Balham Bomb, High Road, 1940

Balham Bomb, High Road, 1940

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.

Balham Woolworths 1974

Balham Woolworths 1974

Source: London County Council Photograph Library

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.

Balham Woolworths 2008

Balham Woolworths 2008

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.

99p Store, Balham, 2015

99p Store, Balham, 2015



One response

  1. The first picture must be a little late than 1915 as Barclays didn’t take over the London and South Western Bank Ltd until 1918. There is a 1916 picture showing it as London and South Western Bank Ltd.


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