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.
The store was extended in 1951, and then again in 1958.
These are some photos of the interiors from 1958 – note the newly refurbished counters, the terrazzo floor tiling and the fluorescent lights.
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.
Source: Historic England
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.
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.