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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Putney – Store 45 / 1264

45 – 53 Putney High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SZ

One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened on Putney High Street sometime between 1914 – 1915. You can see it in the below photo – the fourth building along.

Putney Woolworths 1958

Putney Woolworths 1958

Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr

In the 1960s, they moved across the road. Today Robert Dyas and Boots are where the Woolworths used to be at 45 – 53.

Putney High Street 2015

Putney High Street 2015

Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr

60 – 62 High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SF

This was the new building, in classic 1960s style. They traded here at 60 – 62 High Street until they closed on 5th January 2009.

Putney Woolworths 2008

Putney Woolworths 2008

Source: citykey.co.uk

On 8th October 2009, a TK Maxx opened in its place.

TK Maxx Putney 2015

TK Maxx, Putney 2015

Source: ballysundriven, Flickr

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

Yeovil – Store 206

19 Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1LF

Woolworths opened on Middle Street in Yeovil, opposite the George Inn, in November 1925. Middle Street was the main road from London to the West Country then, so it was a very busy area.

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The store was extended in 1931, and then it looks as though it had a 1950s makeover from the look of the frontage in the below photo. Here’s an extract from ‘Yeovil in the 1960s‘, with Middle Street described by Roger Froude who was a teenager then, “of course FW Woolworth’s – still stuck in the 1950s with its wooden floorboards and the aroma of hot fresh roasted peanuts.” – so funny how Woolworths was never up-to-date!

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

The photo is from around 1965. You have to read the caption that accompanied it,

“I think we all mourn the passing of Woolies – but the interesting thing about this photo is the ‘footprint’ of the George Inn on the pavement.

So, the George was demolished to widen the road but some twat at the Council forgot to realise that they didn’t own the land (not much of a surprise there then) so the road couldn’t be widened after all. In any event within ten years the road was pedestrianised, so this wonderful 14th century building was, pretty much, wantonly destroyed for nothing.”

Here is a photo of the George, shame it was demolished. The 60s really was a decade of architectural crimes! This is where the 99p store stands today. It was Primark for many years, but you’ll see where they moved to if you read on.

The George, Yeovil - c1962

The George, Yeovil – c1962

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

Back to Woolworths, and the store was modernised in 1973. Then in 1985, it was chosen to be one of the first prototype Woolworths Weekend comparison stores, including a Tea Bar restaurant. Moving on two decades and In the 2000s, it became one of the 10/10 trial stores. You can see it on the right of this 2007 photo, it looks as though there was a really strange red and yellow fascia. Opposite the Woolworths, you can see Primark on the left of the photo, on the site of the old George Inn – it too having a strange logo.

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History

This photo was taken shortly before the store closed for good in December 2008.

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Source: Smith S

The building lay empty for over 18 month, when it was announced that Primark would be moving from across the road to open a bigger contemporary store. The new Primark opened in 2011, with the 99p Store occupying the old Primark building opposite. It is still quite recognisable as a Woolies building.

Yeovil Primark 2015

Yeovil Primark 2015

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History