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.
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.
Source: Tim@SW2008, Flickr
An Iceland opened in it’s place quite soon after.
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven