Category Archives: Devon

Barnstaple – Store 204

69 – 70 High Street, Barnstaple, Devon

Woolworths opened in Barnstaple, North Devon, in 1925. We don’t know what the original store looked like, as the only photo I can find is this one which looks 1970s or 80. From the style of the building we can guess there was a 1950s makeover. It is interesting that the fascia is grey rather than red.  In the 1980s the manager was Bob Brock, who was a real gentlemen according to fellow Woolies manager Ian Exeter.

Barnstaple Woolworths 1980s

Barnstaple Woolworths 1970s/80s

Source: Barnstaple History

The store closed in April 1992 when Woolworths moved into the Green Lanes Shopping Centre with a new store number of 1177.

Today the High Street store is Boots, and if you look up you can see the 1950s Woolworths architecture on the first floor.

Barnstaple Former Woolworths - Boots

Barnstaple Former Woolworths – Boots

 

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Exeter – Store 151

190/191 High Street, Exeter, Devon EX4 3DX

Woolworths first opened in Exeter on 1st December 1923 on Fore Street, in former tobacconist building H C Lloyd & Son Ltd.

In 1934 they moved on to the High Street, purchasing 190 and 191, which were Garton & King and Pinder & Tuckwell. The two buildings were put together with an impressive Monks Park Stonework facade, installed by the Bath and Portland Stone Firms Ltd, which you can see below.

Exeter Woolworths 1930s

Exeter Woolworths 1930s

Source: Exeter Memories

In 1976 they moved out of this building into the then new shopping centre. Today this building is occupied by McDonalds and MenKind.

Exeter McDonalds Menkind 2013

Exeter McDonalds Menkind 2013

Source: Exeter Express and Echo

Unit 100, Guildhall Shopping Centre, Exeter, Devon EX4 3DX

The new Guildhall Shopping Centre was built in the 1970s, and Woolworths moved into a 2-storey unit in 1976. Their site was on the North Street side, with entrances on Waterbeer Street and Trickhay Street. There was a cafe on the top floor, with a third entrance/exit which led to the first floor of the shopping centre.

Exeter Woolworths 2008

Exeter Woolworths 2008

Source: Exeter Memories

The store closed in December 2008. Soon afterwards, Wilko took over the building, where it is still trading today. This is a view from inside the shopping centre.

Exeter Wilko 2015

Exeter Wilko 2015

Source: 192.com

 

Torquay – Store 88

122/126 Union Street, Torquay, Devon TQ2 4QB

Torquay Woolworths first opened in Union Street on 7th February 1920, extending in 1931. The neighbouring Paignton branch opened in 1932. Below is an image of colleagues preparing for their town carnival entry in 1928. Most Woolworths stores entered a float in their local procession, winning many gold medals (Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

THEN:

Torquay Woolworths 1920

Torquay Woolworths 1928

Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

Here is the store in the early 1960s, prior to their move up the street.

Torquay Woolworths 1966

Torquay Woolworths 1960s

Source: Torquay in Pictures facebook group

In 1964, they relocated to larger purpose-built premises at 21-25 Union Street, reopening on 11th June. (Source: 100thbirthday.co.ukArgos took over the old building.

NOW:

Torquay Argos 2014

Torquay Argos 2014

Source: mapyourbusiness.co.uk

21/25 Union Street, Torquay, Devon TQ2 1ER

Here is the new store in 1968, 4 years after it re-opened. This photo was taken during the annual parade of the Torquay Hotels Association.

THEN:

Torquay Woolworths 1968

Torquay Woolworths 1968

Source: Torquay in Pictures facebook group

Here it is in 1988, interestingly with the more elegant F.W Woolworth fascia rather than the modern red and white Woolworth fascia that most stores had converted to in the 70s.

Torquay Woolworths 1988

Torquay Woolworths 1988

Source: Les Eddy, Flickr

After refurbishment in 1990, they reopened on 6th July. (Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk)
18 years later, Torquay Woolworths closed for good on 27th December 2008.

Torquay Woolworths 2008

Torquay Woolworths 2008

Source: Paul Anderson, Geograph

Over a year later, H&M moved into the building, opening on 25th February 2010 – almost exactly 90 years after the first Woolworths opened in Torquay – wow.

NOW:

Torquay H&M 2014

Torquay H&M 2014

Other Devon Stores you may be interested in:
Dawlish – Store 940
Paignton – Store 477

Devonport – Store 69

9-11 Marlborough Street, Devonport, Plymouth, Devon PL1 4AG

*All this information has been researched by Liz Cook who writes Devonport Online.

F.W. Woolworths, Store 69, was established in Fore Street Devonport in June 1916. It was destroyed in the blitz of WWII, on the night of 22nd/23rd April, 1941.

The company continued trading into the late 1950s in temporary premises a few yards away, on the corner of Fore Street and Morice Street. [1]

Devonport Woolworths 1954

Devonport Woolworths 1954

Source: BBC

Above is an exterior view of the temporary Woolworths and below shows the inside. It was stepped all the way through. The top image is looking down the store, with the exit to Fore Street at the bottom. The lower image is looking up through the store. Look at the number of staff! There was one to each counter in those days.

Woolworth DevonportWoolworth Devonport

Source: Steve Johnson’s CyberHeritage

In March 1946 F.W. Woolworth’s applied to redevelop the bombed site of the Royal Hotel in Fore Street, but their application was turned down as the Admiralty required the land.

Woolworths opened their new shop at number 9 -11 Marlborough Street in September, 1960. Mr D.C. Davies was appointed as manager to the Marlborough Street store in October, 1969. [1]

Devonport Woolworths 1960s

Devonport Woolworths 1960s

Source: Plymouth Facebook Group

The store closed on 7th January 1995. Today the building is occupied by Iceland.

Devonport Former Woolworths - Iceland

Devonport Former Woolworths – Iceland

Source: Devonport Online

[1] The New Bond. House journal of of F.W. Woolworth’s and Co, Ltd. June/July 1970. Volume 29 number 3

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.

Teignmouth – Store 466

7 Bank Street, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8AN

Teignmouth Woolworths 1959

Teignmouth Woolworths 1959

Woolworths opened in the harbourside town of Teignmouth, Devon in March 1932. It was a small store that remained unmodernised in 1959 – apart from its fascia, it still had all of its original features. The high island counters were made of the best mahogany, while every shopper was greeted by the distinctive sweet aroma of the oil and felspar used to treat the wooden floor. (Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

It was a store that frequently got flooded, with water having to be brushed away by staff.

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

(Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

Top-selling products were seasonables in summer when thousands of holiday-makers descended upon the town, and Christmas seasonables. The store would order their stock a year in advance. Staff in the summer were made up of seasonal temps and Saturday staff  – a big job to manage. According to the Woolworths Museum, the store stayed behind the times in the 1960s, with customers still having to pay for products at different counters, and pic n mix having to be pointed at by the customer and measured by staff behind the counter. Customers were expecting self-service by now.

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

(Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

Smaller stores were given the least priority in the list of Woolworths stores getting a makeover. This made it difficult for the Teignmouth store to display new products – for example, having no hanging rails to display blouses, shirts and beachwear.

The store carried on trading successfully until 27th December 2008.

Teignmouth Woolworths 2008

Teignmouth Woolworths 2008

Source: Topp A., Pinterest

A Carpetright opened in its place. This is a photo I took in 2010 when we went on holiday there. I stepped inside and I just knew it was a Woolworths. The staff looked at me oddly 😉

Teignmouth Carpetwright 2010

Teignmouth Carpetwright 2010

The Carpetright then closed (I thought the fascia did look temporary), and an M&Co has opened in its place. They painted the top of the building pastel blue too, which looks quite good, a definite improvement.

Teignmouth M&Co 2015

Teignmouth M&Co 2015

Source: 192.com

 

Dawlish – Store 940

2 The Strand, Dawlish, Devon EX7 9PS

Woolworths came to the Devon seaside town of Dawlish quite late on, in 1956. The building they occupied was on the Strand, and was actually built in 1919. Designed in eye-catching black and white pseudo Elizabethan style, half of the building was occupied by Cridge’s Cafe (see photo below).

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Source: dawlishhistory.org.uk

It later became Holman’s Cafe and then Brunt’s Cafe, until 1956 when it became Woolworths. When it opened, it was the first ‘self-service’ store in Dawlish, ie where you could pick the goods off the shelf rather than having to ask an assistant to get it for you from behind the counter. This was such a new concept that they had to have staff at the door explaining the self-service process! Here is the store in the swinging 60s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Source: Kingsdude/Dave, Flickr

The 1970s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Source: Rostance D, Flickr

And the 1980s:

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Source: RMC1490, Flickr

This photo from my Facebook group was taken shortly before they closed:

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

On 2nd January 2009 Woolworths Dawlish closed down for good. It lay empty for a long time, falling apart and becoming quite an eyesore. This photo is from our south coast roadtrip of 2010.

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

In 2011 the Co-op next door extended into the Woolworths building where it now trades as one large store.

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Source: JJ Justin, Flickr

Other Devon stores you may be interested in:
Torquay – Store 88
Paignton – Store 477

Paignton – Store 477

63 Victoria Street, Paignton, Devon TQ4 5ED

On 22nd July 1932, Woolworths opened in Paignton, ‘the family resort of picturesque Torbay’ as the town is described on vintage railway posters. This was 12 years after the neighbouring Torquay branch opened. Paignton Woolies opened on the former Dellers Hotel site next to the level crossing at Paignton Station, with the Gerston Hotel on its right.

Paignton Woolworths 1950s

Paignton Woolworths 1950s

Source: Paignton in Pictures Facebook Group

After 30 years, the store had a makeover in 1966 to make it a huge superstore, featuring a cafe and deli upstairs complete with barstools and a big drinks machine!

Paignton Woolworths 1966

Paignton Woolworths 1966

Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/Pell/477Paignton-66.jpg

Below is the store in 1977 (in the background), looking the same as the 1966 photo but in colour.

paignton woolworths 1977

Paignton Woolworths 1977

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8050359@N07/5919037537/

Here is the store in 1998, with the more familiar Woolworths frontage.

Paignton Woolworths 1998

Paignton Woolworths 1998

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79716601@N02/8471075383/

Here is the store just before it closed on 30th December 2008. It left a big hole in Paignton, with the building laying empty for nearly a year.

Paignton Woolworths 2008

Paignton Woolworths 2008

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/argentem/3143848412/

Paignton Woolworths back of store

Paignton Woolworths back of store

Then on Saturday 12th December 2009, the 99p store had a grand opening – the Paignton 99p Store was the 123rd UK 99p Store and the 52nd ex-Woolworths store to be re-opened by the company. That’s a lot of 99p stores.(Source: http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.ukThe upstairs became a Sports Direct. I read on a forum how some locals were disappointed that they got a 99p store whereas neighbouring Torquay got an H&M in their ex-Woolies building!

Paignton 99p store/Sports Direct

Paignton 99p store/Sports Direct

Now when we went to Paignton last week, the building was under scaffolding! Still I took the above photo to replicate the one from 1977 so you can see the before and after. Below is what it looks like under the scaffolding.

Paignton Wooworths 2014

Paignton 99p store/Sports Direct 2014

Source: http://statics.192.com/estreet/original/large/2256/22568211.jpg

Other Devon stores you may be interested in:
Torquay – Store 88
Dawlish – Store 940