Dawlish – Store 940

2 The Strand, Dawlish, Devon EX7 9PS

Woolworths came to the Devon seaside town of Dawlish quite late on, in 1956. The building they occupied was on the Strand, and was actually built in 1919. Designed in eye-catching black and white pseudo Elizabethan style, half of the building was occupied by Cridge’s Cafe (see photo below).

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Source: dawlishhistory.org.uk

It later became Holman’s Cafe and then Brunt’s Cafe, until 1956 when it became Woolworths. When it opened, it was the first ‘self-service’ store in Dawlish, ie where you could pick the goods off the shelf rather than having to ask an assistant to get it for you from behind the counter. This was such a new concept that they had to have staff at the door explaining the self-service process! Here is the store in the swinging 60s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Source: Kingsdude/Dave, Flickr

The 1970s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Source: Rostance D, Flickr

And the 1980s:

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Source: RMC1490, Flickr

This photo from my Facebook group was taken shortly before they closed:

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

On 2nd January 2009 Woolworths Dawlish closed down for good. It lay empty for a long time, falling apart and becoming quite an eyesore. This photo is from our south coast roadtrip of 2010.

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

In 2011 the Co-op next door extended into the Woolworths building where it now trades as one large store.

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Source: JJ Justin, Flickr

Other Devon stores you may be interested in:
Torquay – Store 88
Paignton – Store 477

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4 responses

  1. […] Devon Stores you may be interested in: Dawlish – Store 940 Paignton – Store […]

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  2. […] Other Devon stores you may be interested in: Torquay – Store 88 Dawlish – Store 940 […]

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  3. As a lad of 8, I remember Woolworths opening and the joy of my mum, a native of big city Bristol living in small town Dawlish, that big city shopping had finally come to Dawlish. My mum was eagerly there on opening day but I missed it. I was probably at school (St. Timothy’s Preparatory School at the top of East Cliff Road) that day. However, I do, somewhat vaguely, remember my mum telling my rather disinterested father at tea time (our evening meal) about all the new things that one could buy. I do remember going to the shop the first few times and seeing the staff there who explained how the ‘self serve’ system worked. After a few days, there were probably more of them than customers once the initial euphoria had passed.

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    1. Oh wow, thank you for sharing your memories, how fascinating! I can only imagine how ‘self serve’ was a strange idea back then. Funny as it’s a part of everyday shopping now!

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