Monthly Archives: April, 2018

Dublin, Grafton Street – Store 31

65-68 Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland

Store 31 was the first ever Irish store, opening in Grafton Street, Dublin, on 23rd April 1914. It was on a corner site in fine Edwardian red brick buildings, seen on the left of this postcard.

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1914

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1914

Source: Woolworths Museum

Opening in Ireland had its obstacles. The IRA formed in 1919 to bring about independence, there was violence and antipathy against any retailer selling non-Irish products and there were boycotting campaigns. Woolworths became increasingly reliant on Irish suppliers to fill their counters here.

This is a photo from the store’s 25th anniversary in 1939.

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1939

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1939

Source: Woolworths Museum

In the 1960s it still had it’s unique look, but soon after it was replaced by the standard house style, with all three Edwardian buildings sadly being demolished.

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1960s

Dublin Grafton Street Woolworths 1960s

Source: Ireland Then and Now

The store closed in 1984 when Woolworths decided to leave Ireland. The building was split in two – one half was HMV, the other half Next.

Dublin Grafton Street Former Woolworths | HMV, Next

Dublin Grafton Street Former Woolworths | HMV, Next 2014

Source: Nialler

Today the building shared by Massimo Dutti and Boss – you can see the 60s architecture with it’s triangular windows when you look up. And if you look next door at Monsoon, you can see how the original Edwardian building would have looked.


 

If you are looking for Store 30, Edgware Road, it has already been written about – you can read all about that store here.

 

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Derby – Store 29

27-32 Victoria Street, Derby, Derbyshire DE1 1EU

The twenty-ninth Woolworths store opened in Derby on Victoria Street. You can see it to the right of this postcard – it was quite a large store. The store got into trouble in the early years, when ‘Woolworths girls’ went on strike for habitually being made to work overtime, and for failing to give staff the correct half-day holiday in accordance with the Shops Act of 1911 (Woolworth’s 100 Years On the High Street, Morrison K.)

Derby Woolworths 1938

Derby Woolworths 1938

Source: Soult’s Retail View

The store traded here until 1975 when it moved into the Eagle Centre (now intu Derby, previously Westfield). It is rather a shame to see how the building looks today, divided up with ugly storefronts. It should be a beautiful building, but this side of Victoria Street is neglected due to all the shops being inside intu Derby. Nevertheless, if you pop into Savers, do take a look up at the original architecture.

Derby Former Woolworths | Savers + Vacant 2017

Derby Former Woolworths | Savers + Vacant 2017

Source: auction.co.uk

In 1975, a huge Woolworths superstore with two floors was built inside the new Eagle Shopping Centre. There was a super modern cafe inside (well, modern for the 70s) – carpets and plush leatherette seating, with a warm orange-brown colour scheme, boldly patterned walls, individual lamps hanging over each table – it’s sounds like the retro styling that is back on trend now.

Derby Eagle Centre Woolworths 1975

Derby Eagle Centre Woolworths 1987

Source: Derby Telegraph

The store closed in 1987 when Woolworths decided it was too big – they planned to sub-divided the store into 10 units and lease out, with Woolworths Properties acting as landlord. I think the store was next to C&A, which closed down in 2001. It was boarded up for a while until Woolworths decided to come back to this Derby shopping centre as store 1242 (1 London Road) – but then it closed down in 2008. It is now Poundland – so I’m guessing the original Eagle Centre Woolworths unit would have been near that Poundland somewhere.

 

The next store – Store 30 – Edgware Road has already been written about, you can read all about that store here.

 

Darlington – Store 28

78-79 Northgate, Darlington, Durham DL1 1TZ

The twenty-eighth Woolworths store was in Darlington. It opened on Northgate in 1913 with Frank W Woolworth personally opening it.

Darlington Woolworths 1913

Darlington Woolworths 1913

Source: Woolworths Museum

The store was extended in 1927, and this is possibly when an Art Deco facade was added. Graham Soult did a lot of research to find out what the building is today, as it seems the street numbering changes across the decades – you can read more about that here. He worked out by looking at the location of building in old postcards, that the Woolworths store would have been next to BHS at 56-58, formerly Burtons, then a £5 store and now vacant.

Darlington-Former-Woolworths-_-Vacant-2017

Darlington Former Woolworths-Vacant 2017

Source: Google Maps

12-18 Northgate, Darlington, Durham DL1 1TZ

On 20th September 1940, the store relocated to bigger premises at numbers 12-18, joining togther three shops by the looks of it.

Darlington Woolworths 1983

Darlington Woolworths 1983

Source: The Durham Record

In the below photo, you can actually see the old store front further down the road.

Darlington Woolworths 1990s

Darlington Woolworths 1990s

Source: Darlington Local Studies Picture Collection

The store closed in December 2008.

Darlington Woolworths 2004

Darlington Woolworths 2004

Source: Darlington Library

Now this old Woolworths is occupied by Next and the smaller side to the left is occupied by Holland and Barratt (not pictured here).

Darlington Former Woolworths | Next 2012

Darlington Former Woolworths | Next 2012

Source: Soult G.

 

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne – Store 27

15/21 Northumberland Street, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE1 7BB

The twenty-seventh Woolworths store opened on 6th September 1913 at 17 Northumberland Street, next to the first Fenwicks department store. Every picture from the early years shows a Carter Paterson’s lorry or container – they brought up goods from the railway station to replenish the counters.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Woolworths 1913

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Woolworths 1913

Source: Woolworths Museum

The store was so successful that it trebled in size by 1936. The elegant, enlarged building was put up around the existing store so shopping could continue while works went on. The style was Art Deco with windows in trios.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Woolworths 1936

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Woolworths 1936

Source: Woolworths Museum

The building stayed relatively unchanged through the decades.

Newcastle Woolworths 1960s

Newcastle Woolworths 1960s

Source: Co Curate

Newcastle Woolworths 1968

Newcastle Woolworths 1968

Source: Newcastle Libraries

Newcastle Woolworths 1971

Newcastle Woolworths 1971

Source: Co Curate

A new fascia was put on in the 1980s, but the store closed shortly after, when Woolworths disposed of city centre stores to save on costs.

Newcastle Woolworths 1984

Newcastle Woolworths 1984

Source: chroniclelive.co.uk

This store closed in 1984 and was pre-let to Next. But Virgin Megastores actually took on the site, which changed to Zavvi in 2007.

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Virgin Megastore 2007

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Virgin Megastore 2007

Source: Mankind

Then it was a Peacocks store.

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Peacocks 2010

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Peacocks 2010

Source: Citykey

and today it is Sports Direct. And despite all these shop changes, it is lovely to see the Art Deco architecture still intact, and looking bright and clean!

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Sports Direct

Newcastle Former Woolworths | Sports Direct

Source: Citykey

Next time you are in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, do have a look up above Sports Direct.

Wood Green – Store 26

48-50 High Road, Wood Green, London N22 6DG

The twenty-sixth Woolworths store opened in Wood Green in north London. It opened in the High Road in 1913. There’s not much information on the store from the early days, but in the 1950s Wood Green had 3 big department stores – Woolworths, BHS and Marks and Spencer (which opened in the late 1920s). I found this interesting extract about shopping in Wood Green in the 50s:

“One source of entertainment was the antics of the “spivs” who illegally sold things (possibly of doubtful origin) out of suitcases in front of the stores (Woolworths, BHS and M&S).  They had a look-out hovering on the kerb who signalled the arrival of the patrolling policeman.  The suitcases would then snapped shut and the spivs would quickly disappear into one of the stores only to re-appear again when the coast was clear.  The day of reckoning came one day when the police came through the stores from the back entrances on Bury Road and several spivs were “nicked”.” Stephen Holliday

Wood Green Woolworths 1981

Wood Green Woolworths 1981

Source: Dowling M.

In the above photo you can see the Woolworths store just behind the bus in 1981. It was next to Marks and Spencer. The store had been extended sideways in 1973/4 so it went behind the other shops to the left and had a separate side entrance (around where Barclays Bank is today). On the reopening day of the new larger store, the pavement was packed with customers queueing to get in (Source: John, former employee)

There is no information on when the store closed. We do know that a new Woolworths opened in The Mall shopping centre – Store 1240 – which closed when Woolworths collapsed.

The building of Store 26 in more recent years was a Dorothy Perkins, which closed in 2016, and a bit of the frontage went to Sainsbury’s. The inside of Sainsbury’s is actually the old Woolworths – so it was quite a big store. The front of this building does look very 60s/70s, I would assume this happened when they did the big side extension in 1973/4.

Wood Green Former Woolworths | Dorothy Perkins 2015

Wood Green Former Woolworths | Dorothy Perkins 2015

Source: Google Street View

The Dorothy Perkins side became a Peacocks store. But now the store is vacant. Again.

Wood Green Former Woolworths | Peacocks 2017

Wood Green Former Woolworths | Peacocks 2017

Source: smithprice.co.uk

Cardiff – Store 25

50-54 Queen Street, Cardiff CF1 1WU

Following success at Swansea – Store 14, Woolworths were keen to open in the Welsh capital of Cardiff. And this was the 25th Woolworths store in the UK, which opened in 1913. It was so successful, that they extended the store and had a grand reopening just a year later in 1914.

Cardiff Woolworths 1924

Cardiff Woolworths 1924

Source: Woolworths Museum

The upper floors were occupied by Luciana billiard halls. Quite a few Woolworths stores had billiard halls above, though it wasn’t a deliberate policy – unlike Burtons who did it to keep young men out of pubs, and hopefully be potential customers.

Cardiff Woolworths 1934

Cardiff Woolworths 1934

Source: Woolworths Museum

Cardiff Woolworths 1950

Cardiff Woolworths 1950

Source: Wales Online

The store was rebuilt and extended, reopening on 20th Jul 1960. The shopfront boasted a continuous row of eight doorways, interrupted by two structural piers, with small end display windows (Woolworths 100 years on the high street – Morrison K.)

Cardiff Woolworths 1960

Cardiff Woolworths 1960

Source: Alamy

Cardiff Woolworths 1970

Cardiff Woolworths 1970

Source: Wales Online

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Source: Wales Online

In 1982, the fascia was replaced with a Duraform one (reinforced plastic sheeting) in ‘Woolworths Red’  with a matt finish. The lettering was the new italicised san serif letter, accompanied by the looping ‘W” known as the Winfield logo.

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Source: Pinterest

The store had been hugely extended – here you can see an image of the interior, the upper floor for the cafe, with the curved banister, looking down on the sales floor.

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s-inside

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s-inside

Source: Wales Online

But just two years later, the store closed in 1984 as part of the 1980s Kingfisher sell-offs. The building was taken over by BHS who moved from their old premises. You can see they covered the windows of the first floor.

Cardiff Former Woolworths | BHS 2012

Cardiff Former Woolworths | BHS 2012

Source: Soult’s Retail View

You might think BHS left Cardiff when the chain recently went bust, but they actually closed in January 2013 to find a smaller site. in 2014 Primark moved in and rebuilt the front facade to fit in with the surrounding Victorian architecture. I think it looks beautiful, really reminicent of the early Woolworths store.

Cardiff Former Woolworths | Primark 2014

Cardiff Former Woolworths | Primark 2014

Source: Wales Online

Southampton East Street – Store 24

87/88 East Street, Southampton, Hampshire SO9 5UB

The twenty-fourth Woolworths store opened on East Street in Southampton in 1913. East Street was a very historic shopping street, it actually has an ancient history going back to medieval times. It was a very popular area, often crowded with shoppers, which is why it was a good location for Woolworths. It was located directly opposite a huge department store called Edwin Jones which Debenhams bought in 1928.

Woolworths in East Street must have done well as just 10 years later, another larger branch of the store was opened in nearby Above Bar Street – Store 128. Both stores stayed opened alongside each other.

The premises in East Street were bombed in World War II and new premises which took 5 years to build were erected and opened in 1959. There are no photos of the store, and nothing written about the closing date. But if it follows the pattern of other towns that had two Woolworths stores, it probably closed in the early 70s when the Above Bar branch store would have converted to self-service.

Today the building is occupied by Snip, which is variant of Costcutter the convenience store. You can see how large a store it is, on a corner plot.

Former Woolworths Southampton East Street 2015

Former Woolworths Southampton East Street 2015

Richmond – Store 23

19-21 The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP 

Woolworths opened Store 23 in Richmond in 1913 on The Quadrant. Unfortunately there are no photos of the store. They moved from this site in 1963 and Lloyd’s Bank is now at that address:

Richmond Surrey Former Woolworths Lloyds

Richmond, Surrey -Former Woolworths | Lloyds

1/2/3 Lower George Street, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1AB

In 1963 Woolworths moved to Lower George Street, but again there are no photos of the exterior. There was a refreshments bar inside. It closed along with five other stores in the country on 29th January 1983. Today a new development has been built on that site that includes Whole Foods Supermarket.

Richmond Former Woolworths - Whole Foods 2017

Richmond Former Woolworths – Whole Foods 2017

Warrington – Store 22

19/21 Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire WA1 1SB    

Woolworths opened its twenty-second store in Warrington in rather ornate building in 1913. The Grade II Listed building was designed by the Chester architect John Douglas and was one of his earliest works. It was constructed in 1864 as the showrooms for the furniture makers Robert Garnett and Sons, whose factory was directly behind the shop.

 

Warrington Woolworths 1913

Warrington Woolworths 1913

Source: Warrington WorldWide Forum

There was an upstairs floor, a cafe and a rear entrance. It had rear stairs that were closed off in the late 1980s.

Warrington Woolworths 1970s

Warrington Woolworths 1970s

Source: Warrington WorldWide Forum

Warrington Woolworths 1974

Warrington Woolworths 1974

Source: H Wells

Some more recent photos here – you can see the peppermint blue window and door frames.

Warrington Woolworths 2008

Warrington Woolworths 2008

Source: Mayer P.

Warrington Woolworths 2008

Warrington Woolworths 2008

Source: Ely M.

After the store closed, a supermarket called Asco took it’s place, but it did not last long. It went bust after 6 months.

Warrington Former Woolworths - Asco 2009

Warrington Former Woolworths – Asco 2009

Today the building is occupied by Poundland, and you can still see the ornate architecture above, and the familiar Woolworths mosaic tiling on the pillars.

Warrington Former Woolworths - Poundland 2017

Warrington Former Woolworths – Poundland 2017

Source: Movehut

Wimbledon – Store 21

65/69 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1QY

The twenty-first Woolworths store opened in Wimbledon in South West London. Originally numbered 30 The Broadway, it was later renumbered 65. You can see the store to the right of this photo.

Wimbledon Woolworths 1913

Wimbledon Woolworths 1913

Source: Merton Memories

When Mackies the drapers closed in 1936, the store was extended to the corner of Gladstone Road. It was one of very few stores designed by Woolworths with exposed brickwork in a moderne style (styles of architecture popular from 1925 through to the 1940s).

Wimbledon Woolworths 1936

Wimbledon Woolworths 1936

Source: Historic England Archive

Somehow, Woolworths of Wimbledon survived the bombings of World War 2 intact despite direct hits on other buildings nearby in both The Broadway itself and Gladstone Road.

The worst day in the Wimbledon branch’s history came in 1981 when it was destroyed by fire. A small blaze was discovered in the stockroom and the premises quickly evacuated. However, staff and customers alike watched as the fire brigade appeared to bring the flames under control but too late to stop the building’s destruction. In the aftermath, while damping down, three firemen became disoriented and were trapped as the edifice collapsed. One died and the other two were taken to hospital. Source: Wimbledon Guardian

Wimbledon Woolworths 1981

Wimbledon Woolworths 1981

Source: Featherstone P.

After the fire, the store had to be rebuilt and did not reopen until 1982. The replacement was clad in red brick with vertical window panels and an attic floor disguised as a roof.

Wimbledon Woolworths 1982

Wimbledon Woolworths 1982

Source: Merton Memories

Wimbledon Woolworths 2008

Wimbledon Woolworths 2004

The store closed for good at the end of December 2008.

Wimbledon Woolworths 2008

Wimbledon Woolworths 2008

Source: Harris, S.

Today the building is occupied by TK Maxx.

Wimbledon Former Woolworths - TK Maxx 2017

Wimbledon Former Woolworths – TK Maxx 2017

Source: All in London

Lewisham – Store 20

142/148 High Street, Lewisham, London SE13 6JJ

Woolworths opened its twentieth store in Lewisham, South East London in 1913. I am guessing this is because of its location near a railway station. Below you can see how it first looked before it had a rebuild.

Lewisham-Woolworths-1937-before-rebuild

Lewisham Woolworths 1937 (before rebuild)

Source: Woolworth’s 100 years on the high street, Morrison K.

In 1937 the store was upgraded with a cinema front. The company was particularly proud of its galleried frontage. The neon lettering at the top of the building cost £50,000!

Lewisham-Woolworths-1937

Lewisham High Road Woolworths 1937

Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

When Lewisham Shopping Centre opened behind the Woolworths store in 1975, Woolworths made another entrance at the back to the shopping centre. In the 80s, the store was halved in size and that is when Superdrug moved in. Then in the 90s, the store was split again and they kept the shopping centre side, which had a new store number, until closure in 2008.

Today the building is shared by Superdrug and Currys, and somehow just does not look so grand anymore. Doesn’t it look huge in the old photos?? Maybe it’s the angle of the 1930s photo that makes it look bigger than it actually is. Still, it is great that the Art Deco front is still here – if you ever are on Lewisham High Street, do have a look out for it.

Lewisham Former Woolworths | Superdrug Currys 2012

Lewisham Former Woolworths | Superdrug Currys 2012

Source: The Lost Byway

 

Ilford – Store 19

118-122 High Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 1BY

The nineteenth Woolworths opened in Ilford in 1912, in a prime location next to the town hall. There are no photos of it when it first opened.

In 1938, the store was updated to have a simple Art Deco look. You can see it in the below photo – the large white building at the back.

Ilford High Road Woolworths 1960s

Ilford High Road Woolworths 1960s

Source: Francis Frith

Here is a close-up photo from the 1970s.

Ilford High Road Woolworths 1975

Ilford High Road Woolworths 1975

Source: Ilford in Pictures FB group

The store closed 29th January 1983, along with four other Woolworths stores across the country that day.

Today the building is occupied by Superdrug, Dorothy Perkin and Burton – so if you are visiting these shops on Ilford High Road, look up and see the Art Deco splendour of Woolworths past.

Ilford High Road Former Woolworths - Superdrug Dorothy Perkins Burton 2017

Ilford High Road Former Woolworths | now Superdrug Dorothy Perkins Burton 2017

Source: Green & Partners

You can read about the newer Ilford Woolworths store 1241 here

 

Grimsby – Store 18

84a Freeman Street, Grimsby DN32 7AG

The eighteenth store to open in the UK, Grimsby opened in 1913, completing a line of stores from the northwest to the northeast coasts. Grimsby store was popular with fishermen and docksmen, selling more hunting knives and budget breakfasts than any other branch.

Grimsby Freeman Street Woolworths 1913

Grimsby Freeman Street Woolworths 1913

Source: Woolworths Museum

This is an image from a postcard being sold of eBay. There is no date but it looks very early on.

Grimsby-Freeman-Street-Woolworths-no-date

Grimsby-Freeman-Street-Woolworths-no-date

Source: Roy Sharkey Postcard Collection

In 1964 the store was ‘reskinned’. Located near the docks, this store was overshadowed by a new town centre store which had opened in September 1957.

Grimsby Freeman Street Woolworths 1950s

Grimsby Freeman Street Woolworths 1950s

Source: Grimsby Cleethorpes History Facebook group

This store closed in 1971, when the newer store had converted to self-service. Many towns with two Woolworths lost one in the 1970s.

The building is still around today, occupied by Grimsby Carpet Warehouse (GWC), which if you stick into Google, you get this lovely picture 😉

Grimsby Freeman Street Former Woolworths - GWC Grimsby Carpet Warehouse 2017

Grimsby Freeman Street Former Woolworths – GWC Grimsby Carpet Warehouse 2017

Source: Grimsby Telegraph

Bolton – Store 16

26/30 Deansgate, Bolton, Lancs BL1 1BW

The sixteenth Woolworths store opened in Bolton at 17-19 Oxford Street on 9th November 1912.

Bolton Oxford Street Woolworths 1912

Bolton Oxford Street Woolworths 1912

Source: Woolworths Museum

Bosses decided it was off location, so waited for a building to be available on Deansgate. The Oxford Street building still exists today, it is occupied by Yorkshire Bank.

Bolton Oxford Street former Woolworths now Yorkshire Bank 1912

Bolton Oxford Street former Woolworths now Yorkshire Bank

Source: TheHouseShop.com

In 1926 Woolworths acquired the Brittannia Building on the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street. The store opened on 27th November 1920 and sales rocketed well over the level at Oxford Street, so it was the right decision.

Bolton Deansgate Woolworths 1926

Bolton Deansgate Woolworths 1926

Below is the side entrance at Bridge Street.

Bolton Woolworths Bridge Street entrance 1926

Bolton Woolworths Bridge Street entrance 1926

Source: Woolworths Museum

In 1959 the store was fully rebuilt and extended as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Bolton Woolworths 1960s

Bolton Woolworths 1960s

Source: The Bolton News

Bolton Woolworths 1970s

Bolton Woolworths 1970s

Source: McPhee, D.

In the below Google Street View image from 2008, you can see the peppermint blue window and door frames – was this store a Weekend store in the 80s? You can see it’s actually on a hill and there are steps into the store on the corner.

Bolton Woolworths 2008

Bolton Woolworths 2008

Source: Manchester Evening News

Bolton Deansgate Woolworths 2008

Bolton Woolworths 2008

Source: Whalebone, T.

The store trading right until the end, closing at the beginning of January 2009. The building was empty for a long time, deteriorating and becoming an eyesore. Then Wilkos took over the building and here it is now:

Bolton former Woolworths, now Wilko 2018

Bolton former Woolworths, now Wilko 2018

Source: Acuitus


Store 17 was Chatham which I have already written about. You can read about it here

Peckham – Store 15

91/95 Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE15 5EZ

Another London store, this one opened on the 13th July 1912 on Rye Lane in Peckham, across from the fashionable Jones and Higgins Department Store. The location was chosen as it was right by a railway station (Peckham Rye).

Peckham Woolworths 1912

Peckham Woolworths 1912

Over the next 96 years, the store was rebuilt twice and extended six times. Below is the first rebuid in the 1930s, where they have taken over Kennedy’s Sausages which was on its left to make a bigger store.

Peckham Woolworths 1930s

Peckham Woolworths 1930s

Source: Pinterest

There is no date for the below photo but it looks 1950s/60s from the clothing. The store looks strikingly similar to the 1930s photo above, so you can see how a 1930s store would have looked in colour. It does look very inviting.

Peckham Woolworths no date

Peckham Woolworths no date

Below you can see the second rebuild and the store looking even bigger. In 2005 Peckham was the 100th store to be converted to the new 10/10 format. Three years later the store closed for good – you can see ‘last 3 days’ in the windows.

Peckham Woolworths 2008

Peckham Woolworths 2008

Source: Peckham Peculiar

Now the building is occupied by Sports Direct, a fashion store (formerly 99p store) and a gym upstairs.

Peckham former Woolworths 2016 - now Sports Direct

Peckham former Woolworths 2016 – now Sports Direct


 

If you’re looking for stores 7 – 14, they are here:

Store 7 – Brixton
Store 8 – Middlesbrough
Store 9 – Woolwich
Store  10 – Bristol
Store 11 – Harlesden
Store 12 – Croydon
Store 13 – Wolverhampton
Store 14 – Swansea

 

Hull – Store 6

4/5 Whitefriargate, Hull, Yorkshire HU1 2ET

The sixth Woolworths store to open in the UK was in Hull on the 4th November 1910. Hull was chosen because of its docks, freight and fishing industries and factories, all employing lots of people. The premises at number 4 and 5 Whitefriargate, formerly Smith’s Bank, were adapted to make a double-fronted store, the building being in a busy part of the city centre.

Hull Whitefriargate Woolworths 1910

Hull Whitefriargate Woolworths 1920s

Source: Historic England Archive

Hull Whitefriargate Woolworths 1950s

Hull Whitefriargate Woolworths 1930s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

There’s absolutely no information or photos of this store on the internet or in books. All we know is they traded at 4-5 Whitefriargate for 75 years. The store closed on the 7th April 1984 to move to a bigger and more modern store on nearby King Edward Street which will be covered in a future blog post. The Whitefriargate building was taken over by Peacocks, which has since closed.

Hull-Whitefriargate-Peacocks-2007-(former-Woolworths)

Hull Whitefriargate Peacocks 2007 (former Woolworths)

Source: Roe, S.

Today the building is occupied by a rather loud looking shop called Boyes. I wouldn’t blame you for just walking past this building without noticing it, but it is actually a Grade II Listing Building – though this beautiful architecture was designed for Smith’s Bank, built in 1829. It was probably a good thing it was listed, otherwise you know Woolworths would have knocked it down and put up their own building!

Hull-Whitefriargate-Boyes-2017-(former-Woolworths)

Hull-Whitefriargate-Boyes-2017-(former-Woolworths)

Source: Brownie Bear

The next store numbers from 7 – 14 have already been covered. You can read them here:

Store 7 – Brixton
Store 8 – Middlesbrough
Store 9 – Woolwich
Store  10 – Bristol
Store 11 – Harlesden
Store 12 – Croydon
Store 13 – Wolverhampton
Store 14 – Swansea

Leeds – Store 5

140/142 Briggate, Leeds LS1 6BU

The fifth UK store opened at The Exchange Buildings at 131 Briggate on the 8th March 1910. This was the first Woolworths in Yorkshire. The store was on the ground floor, whilst the upstairs were used as offices and bedrooms for the Grand Central Hotel next door.

Leeds Woolworths 1912

Leeds Woolworths 1912

Source: Woolworths Museum

It was a small Victorian-gothic building that looked quite grand. They hoped the store would attract society people as they passed on their way into the banking halls around the corner. The store did really well here, with the salesfloor packed to overflowing at peak times. Which meant the firm had to find bigger premises.

On 1st December 1928 the store relocated next door, building a brand new store with a grand Art Deco style facade, that replaced the Albion Hotel. (It’s the white building with the canopy in the middle of the below photo)

Leeds Briggate Woolworths c1948

Leeds Woolworths c1948

Source: Leodis

In 1959 the building was extended and modernised to be a superstore for Woolworth’s Golden Jubilee year, opening on 26th February 1959. The design is a recognisable Woolworths one – Portland Stone facade with a central section of aluminium with blue glass panels. The introduction of toughened armour-plated glass meant shopfronts could be more transparent. Displays of merchandised were moved from the centre to the side windows. The central window showed a double staircase to the lower ground floor, and an escalator leading up to the Foodmarket on the first floor. Escalators were the new thing at this time.

Leeds Woolworths 1959

Leeds Woolworths 1959

Source: Morrison K., Woolworth’s 100 Years on the High Street

In the above photo you can clearly see the staircase to the lower floor, looking quite grand. And in the below photo, there you can see the escalator going up to the self-service Foodmarket. There was also a 444-seater cafeteria on this floor. A novel feature of this store was a record department with listening booths.

Leeds Woolworths 1959

Leeds Woolworths 1959

Source: Morrison K., Woolworth’s 100 Years on the High Street

Leeds Briggate Woolworths 1965

Leeds Briggate Woolworths 1965

Source: Leodis | A Photographic Archive of Leeds – read the comments in this link, there are some lovely memories from locals.

The below photo was taken a few years before the store closed down in 1987, being one of the many city centre stores that were sold in the eighties.

Leeds Briggate Woolworths 1982

Leeds Briggate Woolworths 1982

Source: Yorkshire Post

In 1987,  a well-known department store in Leeds called Schofields and Rackhams moved their store here, and they became part of the House of Fraser chain – which brings us to today.

Leeds Briggate former Woolworths now House of Fraser

Leeds Briggate former Woolworths now House of Fraser

Source: Longbottom B.

It’s lovely to see the front is pretty much the same, just the windows on the upper floors seem to have posters in them now. The ground floor entrance doors have been moved to the centre with window displays on both sides. There’s still a cafe by the looks of it, though I wonder if the basement floor still exists.

If you are ever in Leeds, do go into House of Fraser and look for any clues of Woolworths past.

Manchester Piccadilly – Store 4

19-35 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1LP

The fourth Woolworths store opened on Oldham Street in Manchester. It was the first store to open so close to a Marks and Spencer Penny Bazaar, and there ended up being a friendly rivalry between the two stores, with customers flocking to both.

Manchester Oldham Street Woolworths 1910

Manchester Oldham Street Woolworths 1910

Source: Woolworths Museum

The large two floor store became a training ground for future managers. In 1927 the store was moved to an iconic purpose-built building on the corner of Piccadilly, built of Portland Stone, that was to be the largest store in Europe.

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1937

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1937

Source: Wade, R.

1950s

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1955

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1955

Source: O’Brie, T.

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1956

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1956

Source: Pinterest

1970s

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1970s

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1970s

Source: Our Manchester

The Manchester Piccadilly store is one of the more famous stores for a devastatingly sad reason.  A deadly fire took hold of the store on the 8th May 1979, that killed 9 shoppers and one member of staff.  Windows on the upper floors had bars over them, people were trapped and firefighters lost time having to cut through the bars. The cause of the fire was from polyeurathane sofas, a new style of budget seating. The investigation concluded that their fabric had been set on fire, perhaps by a discarded cigarette or faulty electrical wires. It had smouldered until the flames reached the foam filling. This was highly inflammable and had burnt at 700oC, releasing a deadly cyanide gas. A single breath had been enough to kill.

The fire resulted in the routine installation of sprinkler systems and changes in the material used in soft furnishings. I don’t want to share any photos of the fire as it’s really sad to look at, but there are many photos online and you can read more about it here.

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths 1970s

Manchester Piccadilly Woolworths mid-70s

Source: Pinterest

The store was re-opened after the fire but closed in 1986. It was an amusement arcade for many years until recently when it was renovated to become a Travelodge, Morrisons, Zizzi and Nandos.

Manchester Piccadilly former Woolworths now Travelodge 2014

Manchester Piccadilly former Woolworths – Travelodge 2014

Source: Hamid, T.

 

 

Liverpool London Road – Store 3

93 London Road, Liverpool L3 8JD

The third Woolworths store to open in the UK was also in Liverpool, on London Road, just two miles away from the first store in Church Street. The building was offered at a low lease from Owen Owen (remember that department store!), whose owner was impressed by the product offerings in the Church Street store. It actually opened one day before Store 2 (there was a race between the stores as to which would be ready first), and they opened on 4th February 1910.

Liverpool London Road Woolworths 1910

Liverpool London Road Woolworths 1910

Source: Woolworths Museum

London Road was a distinct shopping area that attracted a fashionable clientele as well as students and academics, according to the Woolworths Musuem. But it was also reported that “on its first day the London Road store was mobbed by ‘shawlies’ – a name given to working-class Liverpool women who were usually elderly and of scruffy appearance – assistants fainted, counters were pushed around and many customers left having failed to pay for their purchases.” (Source: BBC Liverpool)

Liverpool London Road Woolworths Valentines Window Display 1937

Liverpool London Road Woolworths | Valentines Window Display | 1937

Source: National Museums Liverpool

From the caption in the below photo, it seems as though the original building may have been demolished, or they erected a new purpose-built store further along London Road, in 1962.

Liverpool London Road Woolworths 1962

Liverpool London Road Woolworths 1962

Source: Getty Images

The store closed down, possibly another one of the casualties of the 1980s closures. The building was an amusement arcade for a while – though they kept the back of the Woolworths store windows, doors and mosaic floor. This photo was taken in 2009.

Former Woolworths Liverpool London Road 2009

Former Woolworths Liverpool London Road 2009

Source: Mayer, P.

It’s all gone now, not a trace left, as a Tesco Express now takes the place of 91-93 London Road, Liverpool.

Former Woolworths Liverpool London Road 2015

Former Woolworths Liverpool London Road 2015

Source: Liverpool Echo

Preston – Store 2

30-31 Fishergate, Preston PR1 3PU

Woolworths’ second UK store opened in Preston, 35 miles north of Liverpool, on 5th February 1910. It was chosen because it was a market town with fine buildings and affluent factory workers. Originally the store was on the junction of Guildhall Street until 1922. It was in a prominent position at the top of Fishergate, facing the cotton town’s elegant town hall.

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1910
Preston Fishergate Woolworths, 1910

Source: Woolworths Museum

In the below postcard from 1901, you can see the store that Woolworths took over – the one with the hanging lanterns. Today the building does not exist. A plain-looking building housing Mountain Warehouse and HMV is in its place (have a look at the photo at the end of this post).

Preston Fishergate pre-Woolworths 1901

Preston Fishergate pre-Woolworths 1901

Source: Blog Preston

The long queues started to annoy local councillors trying to get to work, so after a number of court battles, in 1922 a larger store was built a few doors down, with a classic Art Deco style frontage. As the store was long and narrow, it was given a strong centrepiece at the top.

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1959

Preston Fishergate Woolworths, 1959

Source: Woolworths Museum

See how busy the store was in this 1960s photo.

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1963

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1963

1970s

Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1972

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1972

Source: Blog Preston

1980s

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1984

Preston Fishergate Woolworths 1984

Source: Preston Historical Society

In the mid-eighties, the store was trialed as a Weekend store. The inside was divided into areas, colour-coded in pastel shades. There were circular ‘cash and wrap’ points. There was a V-shaped lobby, and the door and window-frames were coloured peppermint blue (Source: Woolworth’s 100 years on the High Street, Morrison K.) You can see below the thin blue ‘Weekend’ strip inderneath Woolworths and how the doors go in diagonally to make the V-shaped lobby.

Preston Fishergate Woolworths Weekend Store 1986

Preston Fishergate Woolworths Weekend Store, 1986

Source: Preston Historical Society

The ‘Weekend’ name was dropped quite soon after, but the V-shaped lobby and peppermint blue window and door frames stayed for over 20 years, until the end in 2008.

Woolworths Fishergate Preston 2008

Woolworths Fishergate Preston 2008

Source: Thompson, G.

Today Next has taken over the building and the beautiful Art Deco facade remains. You can see a few shops along are HMV and Mountain Warehouse, where the original Fishergate store was.

Preston Fishergate Next (former Woolworths) 2012

Preston Fishergate Next (former Woolworths) 2012

Source: Thompson, G.

Next time you are shopping along Fishergate in Preston, look up if you go into Next and take in the wonder of Woolworths past!