St Austell – Store 291

23 – 25 Fore Street, St Austell, Cornwall

Woolworths opened their first store in Cornwall on 12th November 1927. It was a small store in St Austell on Fore Street.

On 18th October 1940 St Austell’s Great Fire happened, when eight shops and a café were destroyed, and five others including Woolworths and an inn were badly damaged. See below, Woolworths is the white building in middle left, with the ladders up against it.

St Austell Woolworths 1940

St Austell Woolworths 1940

Source: Facebook

The store was extended in 1951, and then again in 1958.

St Austell Woolworths 1965

St Austell Woolworths 1965

These are some photos of the interiors from 1958 – note the newly refurbished counters, the terrazzo floor tiling and the fluorescent lights.

St Austell Woolworths 1958

St Austell Woolworths 1958

St Austell Woolworths 1958

St Austell Woolworths 1958

St Austell Woolworths Staff Photo - date?

St Austell Woolworths Staff Photo – date?

Source: Facebook

On 25th September 1970 the store was modernised, converting to self service. Though I think the change in the look of the building happened in the 1950s.  Note the fascia being updated to the experimental large typeface, all in upper case letters.

St Austell Woolworths 1970

St Austell Woolworths 1970

Source: Historic England

St Austell Woolworths 1971

St Austell Woolworths 1971

Source: Facebook

Shopping inside St Austell Woolworths 1970s

Shopping inside St Austell Woolworths 1970s

Shopping inside St Austell Woolworths 1970s

Shopping inside St Austell Woolworths 1970s

Source: Facebook

In 1980 it was again modernised with further works and a full refurbishment in 1982. Former employee Andrew Ellis started his career at Woolworths in St Austell, starting in 1982 in the stockroom. The manager was Ray Pipe, and Val Rowe was assistant manager. They used to open late on Tuesdays, as they had a team meeting on Tuesday mornings. He also says they hosted rock legends Prefab Sprout, Don Estelle and Windsor Davies.

The store was refurbished again in 1994. It closed for good on 27th December 2008 after 81 years of trading in St Austell.

St Austell Woolworths 2009

St Austell Woolworths 2009

Source: Ballysundriven

Today it is a Poundland, but you can still see the 1950s Woolworths architecture on the first floor, as well as the tiled pillars and original Woolworths doors.

St Austell Former Woolworths

St Austell Former Woolworths

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2 responses

  1. […] opened their second Cornish store in 1928. The first one was at St Austell (Store 291), opening in the previous year. It was a small store with a traditional frontage, that […]

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  2. […] opened their third Cornish store in the coastal town of Falmouth in 1928, the others being St Austell and Camborne. The Falmouth store was a small one on Market Street, which is literally on the coast. […]

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