Plymouth – Store 56

66 – 68 New George Street, Plymouth, Devon PL1 1RS

Woolworths originally opened in Plymouth in 1915 at 39 Tavistock Place, in an ordinary street house according to cyber-heritage.co.uk. In 1930 the store was extended and had an Art Deco facade added.

In the Second World War, Plymouth was severely hit and Old Town Street was wiped out by bombing raids night after night. Most shops were destroyed, including Woolworths.

In 1941, six months after being bombed, Woolworths in Plymouth joined other retailers in re-opening in the local market.

Plymouth Woolworths 1940s

Plymouth Woolworths (Temporary Market) 1940s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Woolworths had an outlet in the market for 10 years. Meanwhile a huge superstore replacement was being built and this opened in November 1950.

“Each re-opening attracted a huge queue. The most spectacular was in Plymouth, where the chain had ‘carried on’ in the market for almost ten years after its original store was destroyed in a sustained campaign of bombardment by the Luftwaffe. The replacement was built in New George Street. It opened its doors for the first time on 24 November 1950. The Western Evening Herald reported that the grand opening drew a crowd of over 8,000!” Source: Woolworths Museum

Plymouth Woolworths 1951

Plymouth Woolworths 1951

Source: Woolworths Museum

Plymouth Woolworths 1950s

Plymouth Woolworths 1950s

You can see video footage of the store in the 1950s here:

This store survived right until the end, with a cafe on the first floor (there was a back entrance to it). This photo was taken after the store closed in December 2008.

Plymouth Woolworths 2009

Plymouth Woolworths 2009

Source: ballysundriven

Today the ground floor is occupied by Poundland, and on the right side space has been created to put in an escalator to the first floor for another retailer (vacant at the mo). All in all, good news that you can still see the 1950s frontage and it does look like the windows have been restored.

Plymouth Former Woolworths - Poundland

Plymouth Former Woolworths – Poundland

Source: Stratton Creber Commercial

As for the original store on Tavistock Place, the Plymouth Social Club is in its place.

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