Edinburgh – Store 213

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.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1926

Edinburgh Woolworths 1926

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.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1933

Edinburgh Woolworths 1933

Source: RCAHMS

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.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1956

Edinburgh Woolworths 1956

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Here it is in the 1980s shortly before closing, with it’s updated logo.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1980s

Edinburgh Woolworths 1980s

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.

Edinburgh Wimpy 1986

Edinburgh Wimpy 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.

Edinburgh Princes Street 2009

Edinburgh Princes Street 2009

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.

Edinburgh Apple Store 2015

Edinburgh Apple Store/Barclays 2015


One response

  1. When was and where was Leith woolworths?
    My great grannie owned the building that woolworths ended in .


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