Monthly Archives: July, 2015

Chippenham – Store 493

24-25 High Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3ET

Woolworths opened on Chippenham High Street in April 1933.

Chippenham Woolworths 1930s

Chippenham Woolworths 1930s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The store was modernised in 1957/58.

Chippenham Woolworths 1952

Chippenham Woolworths 1952

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Then in 1974, the store was converted to self-service, with further modernisation the following year. In 1977 a Garden Centre was added as an annex. This was when the recognisable single floor frontage was replaced with a smooth 2-floor frontage which you can see below.

Chippenham Woolworths 1970s

Chippenham Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Chippenham Woolworths was an Early Operation Focus comparison store, having a full refurbishment in 1986. In 1990, the Garden Centre annex  was closed and put up for sale. During the 1990s the store was used for concept development, pioneering the Heartland store format (which included reopening the Garden Centre as a salesfloor extension, giving space to reintroduce petcare, a limited range of toiletries and video rental). The store appeared in Analysts video in 1995 to illustrate how the business had changed and managed to generate £100m profit in a single year. Heartland elements were progressively dropped and the store narrowly escaped selection as a Woolworths General Store – instead it was upgraded to the latest 10/10 specification after demerger. (Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk)

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Source: Wright J.

2008 photo from my Facebook group:

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

The store closed in January 2009. I took this photo when I visited Chippenham in April 2009:

Chippenham Woolworths 2009

Chippenham Woolworths 2009

Today the unit has been split into two stores – Poundland and Costa Coffee.

Poundland and Costa Coffee, Chippenham 2013

Poundland and Costa Coffee, Chippenham 2013

Source: ballysundriven, Flickr

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Billericay – Store 911

101 High Street, Billericay, Essex CM12 9AW

Woolworths opened in Billericay in 1955/1956. They took over the site of the Telephone Exchange on the High Street, which had been on this spot from 1929 – 1952. The Telephone Exchange was demolished and Woolworths built the store in the below photo. It opened at a time when Self Service was just being introduced to the High Street – you can see the sign above the doorway in the centre.

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Source: Essex Record Office / Billericayhistory.org.uk

Here is a lovely memory of Billericay Woolworths in the 1950s:
“And there is Woolworths which when it arrived meant we had become a modern town. I can smell the newness of it still.  It was our first experience of a self-service store with bright lights and wooden floors and low counters. Later I got my first Saturday job there earning the princely sum of 12s and 9d  for the whole day. Mostly I remember my brother  and I selecting  a birthday gift there for mother with  great  love. We chose a pink plaster poodle standing appealingly on its hind legs, its collar studded with diamonds. We did not see its tawdriness just its cuteness and picking up a box paid for it and hurried home only to find the box was empty. It had taken us so long to save that shilling  and we rushed back the two miles  so distressed we were hardly able to speak, but the supervisor, Miss Lamb, was compassion  personified and mother got her birthday present after all.” Aileen Wortley, Billericayhistory.org.uk

The store traded here for over 50 years until it closed for good on 2nd January 2009.

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Source: Tim@SW2008, Flickr

An Iceland opened in it’s place quite soon after.

Billericay Iceland

Billericay Iceland

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven