88 – 98 George Street, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 1RG
Woolworths opened in Altrincham in 1932 in a purpose-built store with the classic 5 bay and central pediment style (see below on the left of this postcard).
The store was extended to the left and to the right to create a very large store. Up until the 1990s the store kept it’s old-style look as you can see in this photo, with the vintage fascia and the circular pillars.
Source: O’Neill, A.
Former employee Emma Ronaldson has very fond memories of working at Woolworths in Altrincham. She says, “I’m still in contact with many of the wonderful people I met during my employment. My favourite job was filling up the pic n mix it’s a job I would still love today it’s part of my history and it’s lovely.” Joanne Johnson also has fond memories working as a Saturday girl on the entertainment department.
The store closed in December 2008.
It became an Iceland and Poundstretcher.
Source: Soult, G.
The Poundstretcher closed down and became a soft play cafe. There’s something nice knowing there are children playing in a former Woolworths.
102 – 102a School Road, Sale, Cheshire M33 1XD
Woolworths opened in Sale, Cheshire, in 1931. I’ve working out it is the store with the canopy open in the below postcard.
It closed down after 1972 but before 1995. It became a bar/nightclub but today it has been split into three units. You can recognise the Woolworths architecture on the upper floor, even though it looks really different with the black framed windows.
29 High Street, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 1AP
Woolworths opened in Runcorn in 1930, originally on the High Street. They traded from this building for 40 years before big changes came to Runcorn.
This present day photo shows the Woolworths store replaced by a road called Leiria Way – the building that was next to Woolworths is still there.
Unit 44 Runcorn Shopping City, Cheshire WA7 2DB
(later renamed 43-44 Forest Walk, Halton Lea Shopping Centre)
About a mile away, Runcorn New Town was being built, along with a brand new shopping centre called Runcorn Shopping City. It opened in 1972 and at the time was the biggest covered shopping centre in Europe. Woolworths moved their store to the shopping centre at Unit 44.
They traded here to the end, closing in December 2008. It became a Poundworld, but they went into administration last year. So the unit is vacant again.
10 Swine Market, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 5LW
Woolworths opened in Nantwich in 1930 – you can see it in the below photo on the right side.
In the 1960s the area was redeveloped and a larger Woolworths opened. Note the oversized letters.
The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
It soon became a B&M, which it still is today.
And look closer, and you’ll see the original 1960s Woolworths doors still in use.
286 – 288 Liscard Road, Wallasey, Cheshire L44 5TU
Woolworths opened in Wallasey in 1930 on the site of Harrop’s Coal Yard. Originally at number 288, it was a small store, purpose-built with the recognisable Woolworths architecture, central pediment at the top. It was later extended into number 286 (if you look at the photo of Poundland at the end of this post, you can clearly see where it was extended). This photo below shows a bit of Woolworths on the left in 1960, with the canopies open.
The road was pedestrianised in the 1970s and renamed Liscard Way. Woolworths did not move but their address changed to this:
42 Liscard Way, Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside CH44 5TU
Former employee Natalie Kay worked at Wallasey Woolworths towards the end, and she has kindly shared her memories, “I worked on 381 Wallasey for ten years starting in 1997. My aunties worked there and my cousins too. I have many memories of ‘family and friends evenings’ before I worked there, where the kids were entertained upstairs with videos and sweets! During my ten years there I met the love of my life and we were together for seven years. While there I was also diagnosed with cancer and happily beat it. All my colleagues clubbed together to give me and my boyfriend spends as we were going to Florida. We really were a family and you don’t find that these days. My best memories are always of hanging the Christmas garlands and decorating the Christmas trees.”
Such a heartwarming story, it sounds like Wallasey Woolworths was a lovely place to work at. The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008, complete with their original 1970s doors.
Today it is Poundland, but look up and you’ll see the classic Woolworths architecture.
35 – 37 High Street, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1AX
Woolworths opened in Congleton in 1927. It was a small store with a typical Woolworths look to the first floor – see below.
Source: Congleton Through Time, Alcock J.
In 1968 Woolworths bought The Bears Head Hotel and Farrell’s Sweet Shop next door. They were demolished along with Banks Car Garage on Market Street to build a Woolworths superstore. At the time Mr. G. Lamb was the store manager, pictured below with his staff. These photos were in The New Bond (The House Journal of F. W. Woolworth and Co. Limited) June/July 1970 – kindly sent in by Richard Northover. He says “This was the forerunner of Woolworths/Woolies News, which was all about people and stores – not the political rag that was Woolies News!! It was named after the original head office in New Bond Street London, which opened after the head office moved from Liverpool.”
Congleton was a unique store in that it was chosen to trial the first franchise Post Office in the 1990s. Colin Higgins managed the project at Regional level in conjunction with the HO store planning team. “Another store we tried it in was 608 Huntingdon around 1995. They were never successfully financially, as the big fee earners for PO operation, such as the BVP, were being phased out at that time.”
According to the Warrington Guardian there were three trial franchise Post Office stores, and Woolworths decided to end the trial in 1999.
The store continued to trade well as a normal Woolworths, lasting until the end. It closed in December 2008.
Shortly after closing, B&M moved in and they are still trading there today.
27 – 29 Mill Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 6NF
Woolworths opened their 265th store in Macclesfield in 1927. It was on Mill Street, a couple of doors down from Marks & Spencer. From the photo below, you will recognise the Woolworths style of building. You’ll also see a window poster showing The Simpsons Movie being released on DVD for £12.99 back in 2007.
Former employee Paul Broome says “There’s a great story about 265 regarding a burglary by an ex Assistant Manager. In the ’90s he was previously dismissed from the company, but one evening he hid in the store at closing time, and then emptied the safe after disarming the alarm codes which had not been changed after his dismissal.” Shocking!
The majority of staff were good people though, and they were a close-knit team. This note was put on the door after the store closed in January 2009.
Today Iceland is in the building, and if you look up, you’ll see the familiar Woolworths architecture.
26 – 28 Witton Street, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 5AL
Wooworths opened in the historic town on Northwich in 1926. Below you can see how the store looked, on the left of this photo. I am not sure if this was purpose-built or an existing building. Most of Witton Street is timber-framed, which today gives it a charming look.
This photo shows the 1930s store managers and his staff in front of the store.
Source: Woolworths Museum
The photo below shows the store in 1969, with Woolworth in giant letters – it does rather overshadow Marks & Spencer next door. You can see the building is different from the original, so they must have moved, probably to have bigger premises.
Woolworths stayed here until the end.
This photos shows the final lock up by Bob the store manager.
Today you will find Quality Save in the building.
2 – 4 Albert Road, Widnes, Cheshire WA8 6JF
Widnes was the first Woolworths store to open in the year of 1926. The store was on the corner of Albert Road and Winfield Way. It was not a purpose-built store as the building was part of a parade of shops. But the actual shopfront was Woolworths style with the store wrapping around the corner (see on the left of this photo).
The store was a long, narrow store that went quite far back, and quite a unique store as it had it’s original fascia well into the 1990s!
Carl Meredith worked at the store in the 90s and he has some interesting facts:
“The store sign was never updated from the original “F W Woolworths & Co Ltd” until the store had its convenience refurb in the summer of 1994, when it got its more modern “WOOLWORTHS” sign. It never had the any other version of the sign through the 70s and 80s – so no curly “W” or the big capitals letters version of the sign.
Notice as well, no shutters on the store at this time in history – unfortunately, with the rise in the popularity of video games in the mid-90s, the store had multiple break-ins through the store front window. After this, shutters were installed.”
The store lasted until the end, when Woolworths went bust in 2008. This picture was taken by Carl a couple of days before closing in December 2008. He says, “The 3D letters of the sign which the store had in the 90s were replaced in the early 00s with this flat, plain (dare I say cheaper?) version of the store sign.”
Source: Meredith C.
Two months later, the store became a B&M.
More recently, B&M closed their store down (as there is also a huge Home Store in the town). In October 2018, Heron Foods opened in the building. If you are ever in town, take a closer look and you’ll recognise the Woolworths doors and windows.
Source: Meredith C.
59 – 67 High Street, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 2HA
Woolworths opened their 199th store in October 1925 in the town of Crewe. The store they built had a grand Art Deco style, as you can see in the photo below. It spanned from numbers 59 to 67 of the High Street.
Source: Francis Frith
The store closed in 1984, another casualty of the Kingfisher closures. Today you’ll find Poundland here, and you’ll happy to see the Art Deco frontage is still there, but it seems to have lost the top floor (compare it to the 1960s photo to see!).
37 – 43 Eastgate, Chester, CH1 1LL
Woolworths opened in the historic city of Chester, near Liverpool, in 1924. They took over a genuine timber-framed building.
In 1961 an extension was made to the right in half-timbered English oak. The sales floor was linked at the back of House of Bewley and Kardomah.
The store had a mezzanine cafeteria that had a glass screen bearing the city’s coat of arms. The cafeteria gave direct access to the city walls and offered a view over the cathedral gardens.
Source: Chester Chronicle
Source: Woolworth Museum
The store closed sometime in the 1970s or 80s. Today Next and New Look are in the buildings.
Woolworths came back to Chester in the 2000s on Foregate Street, as store 1237. This was the one that closed in December 2008, becoming Primark.
220a Grange Road, Birkenhead, Cheshire L41 6EQ
Woolworths opened in Birkenhead in 1923. Although there are no early photos online, you can tell from this photo that this facade probably dates from the 1930s with it’s Art Deco design.
It was a store where there were reportings of ghosts being seen in the basement, where there was a crypt. Spooky.
This photo shows the inside of the store on the closing day.
Source: Wooley J.
And this is the last staff photograph. Thank you to Julie for sharing these.
Source: Wooley J.
Primark was already next door. When Woolworths closed in December 2008, they extended into this space creating a mega superstore Primark. They covered up the windows on the upper floors too – it looks like they have been painted over.
Source: Mayer P
Still, next time you are shopping at Primark in Birkenhead, take a look up and admire the Woolies Art Deco facade (minus windows!).
35-39 Princes Street, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 1SY
Store 48 was Stockport which opened in 1915. The store had a temporary shopfront for several years after World War One. Then a new purpose-built store was built in the 1930s.
In the 1930s a road was built above and along the River Mersey – before that the river cut the town in half. Woolworth and M&S were one of the few stores that lay along its route.
Then in 1965, the Merseyway Shopping Centre above the river, where the road was. The shopping centre is held up by concrete arches above the river! You can see Woolworths in this video of when the shopping centre was built – there are some rare photos here:
The UK’s first outdoor travelator was installed here, n front of Woolworths.
Source: Wild, S
In the 1985 an experimental V-Shaped red-framed entrance to the store was made, designed to funnel customers into the store. They kept this until the end.
Source: Emily and James
The store closed for good when Woolworths went bust at the end of 2008. The unit was split into 3 and is now occupied by River Island, Deichmann and Costa Coffee. If you ever go shopping at Merseyway in Stockport, do have a look above these stores, and have a latte in the corner of the old Woolworths.
Source: England, G.
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.
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.
Source: Warrington WorldWide Forum
Source: H Wells
Some more recent photos here – you can see the peppermint blue window and door frames.
Source: Mayer P.
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.
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.