Category Archives: Berkshire

Newbury – Store 307

13-15 Northbrook Street, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 1DJ

Woolworths opened in the market town of Newbury on 3rd March 1928, next to the prestigious department store Camp Hopson. It started off in small premises – here is a photo I estimate from 1930s:

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

In the early 60s, the store was extended to nearly double it’s size, and the front fascia completely remodelled.

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

After the makeover, the store front didn’t change much in appearance over the years, although it did have a series of extensions at the rear. Below is the store around 1965, with Burtons on the other side. We can see how traffic is building up here.

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Here is the store in the late 1980s, before the street got pedestrianised in 1998.

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Newbury Woolworths closed on 30th December 2008, after 90 years of trading. Here is a photo from when I visited the town in March 2009. From these photos you can see the buildings have not changed since the 60s, and the M&S clock is still standing (needs a new battery though 😉 ) – Northbrook Street has a lot of listed buildings, making it very picturesque.

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Today it is a Wilko (or Wilkinson’s) – I went inside and it is just like walking into Woolworths. The aisles and pillars are the same as before, and the store seems to go on for miles! There’s a back side entrance that leads on to a car park and the back of Camp Hopson. It is nice to have a replacement that does remind you of Woolworths.

Newbury Wilko 2014

Newbury Wilko 2014

 

Windsor – Store 295

17/18 Peascod Street, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1DX

Woolworths opened in Windsor quite soon after Slough, in the mid-1920s – the difference being that this was the Queen’s local Woolies:

“Her Majesty once told The Daily Mail that she had done her Christmas shopping at Woolworths. She was spotted occasionally in the large store in Peascod Street, just a short walk from Windsor Castle.” Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/xmas-adverts.htm

Below is a picture from 1968 – Woolworths is on the right hand side, next to Bala shoes.

Windsor Woolworths 1968

Windsor Woolworths 1968

Author: thamesweb
Source: http://theroyalwindsorforum.yuku.com/topic/1206/Peascod-Street-through-the-Decades

Windsor Woolworths 1968

Windsor Woolworths 1968

Close up of Woolworths above, with ‘Sale’ sign on the door advertising ‘Stacker tumblers 5d each’ and ‘Brobat’ reduced to 1/-. Where the 60s ladies is walking is exactly where the man is standing in the Boots photo (see at the end of this post).

Windsor Woolworths 2008

Windsor Woolworths 2008

Above is the store in August 2008, still trading, before it finally closed in December that year. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dimikagi/2912132072

Now it’s a deceptively large Boots, with perfumes along the narrow front section of the store, leading on to a huge floorspace at the back – with a massive baby section. I read on a forum that back in the 60s when this was Woolworths, shoppers liked to go to this part of store  to escape the fumes from the buses. Apparently M&S and Woolies were best for escaping the pollution. Good thing it’s all pedestrianised now.

Also I like how Boots have kept the little flagpost that used to hold the Woolworths Cafe sign 🙂

Windsor Boots 2014

Windsor Boots 2014

Maidenhead – Store 202

90/90a High Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1PU

Opened in the 1920s, Maidenhead was one of the first stores called ‘Woolworths’ with a ‘s’, having been Woolworth before then. This happened in 1985 when it was chosen to be a ‘Cornerstone’ Store along with Orpington and Bedford, where they launched the Ladybird clothing range. The 6 cornerstones were DIY, Leisure and Play, Homewares, General Convenience, Clothing and Daily Provisions. (Source: Woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

THEN:

Maidenhead Woolworths 1985

Maidenhead Woolworths 1985

Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/0202Maidenhead-1985.jpg

Below are 2 pictures I took, as I used to work around the corner. First is before the closure announcement, second is when the store was closing down.

Maidenhead Woolworths 2008

Maidenhead Woolworths 2008

Maidenhead Woolworths 2008

Maidenhead Woolworths 2008

It is now a Wilko, which really brightens up the lifeless high street – no offence locals 😉 Why did they get rid of the benches??

NOW:

Maidenhead Wilko 2014

Maidenhead Wilko 2014

 

Reading – Store 111/1180

61/64 Broad Street, Reading RG1 2AJ

Woolworths originally opened at 51 Broad Street, Reading in the Spring of 1922, which is where H&M is today. Some pretty fantastic vintage photos of the Reading store have been put up on www.reading-forum.co.uk by markjuk. (http://www.reading-forum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5709&p=51409)

THEN:

Reading Woolworths 1920s

Reading Woolworths 1920s

Source: http://readingimages.epixtech.co.uk/loc/1261402.PDF

NOW:

Reading H&M 2014

Reading H&M 2014

Source: http://uk-retail.pldbgw-dtz.maximalls.net/dynamic/image/2374271?x=340

The store was expanded to have entrances in Broad Street, Friar Street, Union Street and West Street, often used as a shortcut by shoppers to get from Friar Street to Broad Street. It sounds like it was MASSIVE, I can’t even imagine!

THEN:

Reading WW 1950

Reading Woolworths 1950

Source: http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/pages/0111Reading-1950.htm

Reading Woolworths 1955

Reading Woolworths 1955

Source: http://readingimages.epixtech.co.uk/loc/1285592.pdf

According to the Wargrave Local History Society, “Woolworths had moved to their present position in 1939, having earlier been nearer Union Street, although for a period in the late 80’s it was a shopping mall, then becoming Woolworths again.” Source: http://www.wargravehistory.org.uk/nov98.html

Reading WW 1945

Reading Woolworths Interior 1945

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolworths_Group#mediaviewer/File:A_Picture_of_a_Southern_Town-_Life_in_Wartime_Reading,_Berkshire,_England,_UK,_1945_D25360.jpg

Reading WW West Street Entrance 1979

Reading Woolworths West Street Entrance 1979

Source: http://readingimages.epixtech.co.uk/loc/1317811.PDF

Reading WW back

Reading Woolworths Friar Street Entrance 2013

Source: http://www.soultsretailview.co.uk/2013/03/16/pick-n-mixed-grill-the-ex-woolworths-that-are-now-wetherspoons/

Now this shopping mall concept sounds interesting. According to 100thbirthday.co.uk, it was originally a prototype for a new large store format called ‘Jupiter’, but they decided on ‘The Woolworth Mall’, piloting Ladybird clothing, the ‘Le Cafe’ restaurant, as well as opticians, show repair and estate agent concessions and selling large kitchen appliances! The mall used yellow and grey colours rather than the traditional red and white, although not for long as the concept was dropped quickly in favour of getting rid of huge city centre stores.

Reading Woolworths 1980

Reading Woolworths 1980

Source: http://readingimages.epixtech.co.uk/loc/1317805.PDF

Reading Woolworths 1980

Reading Woolworths 1980

Source: http://readingimages.epixtech.co.uk/loc/1304042.PDF

“The site was closed for redevelopment in 1989, closing on 17th June. When the development was complete Woolworths moved into a small store in part of its original footprint, which opened on the company’s 85th birthday, 5th November 1992 (Store 1180).” Extract from 100thbirthday.co.uk (Source: http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/pages/0111Reading-1950.htm)

Reading WW 2008

Reading Woolworths 2008

When I took these photos, I did notice how new the building looked – definitely not an original. The Reading Forum clarified this – Markjuk recalls “that a fire in the early 90s caused by squatters who in habited the derelict building, set fire to it causing extensive damage to the old Broad Street entrance prompting it to be demolished a few months later. Rather than save this art deco architecture, it was demolished and replaced with a bog standard brick building of no significance.” (Source: http://www.reading-forum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5709&p=51409)

NOW:

Reading Clas Olsen 2014

Reading Clas Ohlson 2014

And today it is a shiny new Clas Ohlson, selling pretty much what Woolies used to sell. I do like their pastel coloured straws 🙂

Slough – Store 263 / 1173 / 1243

190 High Street, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1JS

This store was one of the early ones, opened in the 20s. Below is a picture I found in Slough library from the 1930s (Source: The Changing Face of Slough) – Woolworths is on the far left, and the Eagle pub is now River Island. Boots is on the far right, still there today.

THEN:

Slough Woolworths 1930s

Slough Woolworths 1930s

Here is the store 20 years later, you can see in the background with the canopies. This was when the first EVER zebra crossing in the UK was opened in 1951 – on Slough High Street! It’s now just the pavement in between Boots and the Queensmere Shopping Centre. They should put a commemorative plaque here or something.

Woolworths Slough 1951

Woolworths Slough 1951

Source: The 1951 Club

Here is a postcard I found on Ebay – Woolworths is on the left. It appears they did a store makeover in the 1960s and changed the front facade.

Slough Woolworths 60s

Slough Woolworths 1960s

Below is the High Street store in 1982 “with notice in the window announcing that the store would be closing in February for two weeks for alterations”

Now my mum and I were in Slough in July 1983 the day before she gave birth to my brother. I said to her, ‘Wow so do you remember Woolworths when it was in the High Street then?’ – She says to me ‘Yes it was outside’

THEN:

Woolworths Slough 1982

Woolworths Slough 1982

Source: http://www.sloughhistoryonline.org.uk

NOW:

Poundland / JD Slough 2014

Poundland / JD Slough 2014

8, The Observatory, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1LE

Woolworths left the High Street site in 1984, and then opened in the Observatory on 14th June 1991 (where Primark is now). Below is a photo of the store being opened by retail director Martin Toogood and store manager Ken Webstar. According to the Woolworths Museum website, “…several Shopping Centres, like Slough’s Observatory Centre, offered ‘anchor’ sites in new developments at heavily discounted, capped rents. These stores opened long before the neighbouring properties were occupied, and helped to persuade others to take on tenancies.”

OBSERVATORY THEN:

Woolworths Observatory Opening, Slough 1991

Woolworths Observatory Opening, Slough 1991

Source: Woolworths Museum

OBSERVATORY NOW:

Primark Slough 2014

Primark Slough 2014

106/109 Queensmere, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1DQ

In 2000, the store moved to the Queensmere Shopping Centre, taking over the C&A site when they closed down. It was quite a large store with an upstairs floor too. Here is a photo I took when it was closing down in December 2008, with it’s last day of trading being 2nd January 2009.

QUEENSMERE THEN:

Slough Woolworths 2008

Slough Woolworths 2008

Today it is B&M Bargains, downstairs floor only, a cluttered store selling a mis-match of home goods, furniture, food and toys – remind you of anywhere? 😉

QUEENSMERE NOW:

B&M Slough 2014

B&M Slough 2014