75 – 77 Hamilton Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire
Woolworths opened their 96th store in Greenock, Scotland. Greenock’s main shopping thoroughfare was Hamilton Street, which connected West Blackhall Street in the west to Clyde Square in the east. Woolworths was at number 75 to 77, which you can see below on the left side with the Art Deco facade.
Source: McLean Museum
41 Hamilton Way, Shopping Mall, Greenock, Inverclyde PA15 1RS
In 1975 Hamilton Street disappeared along with several other streets as the area was pedestrianised as Hamilton Way. Woolworths was at number 41 Hamilton Way, keeping it’s store number 96. In the 1990s a shopping centre was built on Hamilton Way, incorporating Woolworths. The store was a large L-shaped one with two entrances. Below you can see the outside entrance on Charles Place. There was also an entrance on the shopping centre side.
Source: Nugent T
The store closed in January 2009 when the chain went bust, and today Wilkos is in its place. This is the shopping centre side.
6 King Street, Jersey (St Helier), Channel Islands
Woolworths opened their 95th store in the Channel Islands, in Jersey, in 1921. The building was a former drapers shop, in fact there is a whole history of number 6 King Street written here.
This is a photo of the store, next to Burtons, in happier times before the war.
In 1940 the Channel Islands were under German control. There was no contact allowed with the mainland, stocks ran low. The manager initially had the Jersey close on Thursdays, before closing down totally until the end of the war. You can read more about what happened here.
In 1945, the Channel Islands were liberated and Woolworths set to reopen and modernise the Jersey store in time for Christmas. The store became one of the most profitable ones in the chain.
This photo shows people queueing for Battle of Flower tickets in 1957, they just happen to be outside Woolworths.
In 1966 the Jersey store had a ‘Diamond Bar’ installed, and it remained a talking point in the 1980s.
And below is the store in more recent times, before it closed for good in December 2008.
Today the building is occupied by New Look.
Source: Jersey Evening Post
333-337 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HY
Woolworths opened in Hackney, East London in 1921. It was right next to a railway bridge. The store had an Art Deco facade.
In the 1970s the store was modernised and you can see the new fascia below.
The store lasted to the end in December 2008.
Today the building is occupied by Iceland, and you can still see the Art Deco facade above it.
1-2 King Street, Gravesend, Kent DA12 2ED
Woolworths opened in Gravesend in 1916, though the address is not confirmed anywhere.
In 1957 Woolworths moved to numbers 1 – 2 King Street, replacing Bryant and Rackstraw, the haberdashers who are said to have been there for 100 years. Previous to that, this was a pub called the Prince of Orange.
There was a fire in August 1966, which is photographed below.
The store closed on 19th December 2008.
Source: Goodrum R.
The building remained empty for a year, and then a store called Life & Style moved in. They closed down a year later. Then it became a Poundworld Plus. Then DiscountUK. And finally a Bargain Buys which it still is today.
7-9 Upper Market Square, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs ST1 1PY
In 1915, World War One did not stop Woolworth expanding and they opened their 55th store on Upper Market Square in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. As with many war-time stores, it had a similar design to Kingston-upon-Thames (Store 43), with an open pediment and a Venetian window.
Source: Historic England
In 1937 the store had a makeover, and as it was a long-store, the design was Art Deco with a centrepiece at the top.
In the 1970s the store was modernised along with the conversion to self-service. A typical frontage design was to have long narrow brick sections alternating with aluminium panels. As for the entrance, the display windows were moved to the sides and a panel of doors installed across the centre.
Source: Historic England
The store survived until the end, and it closed down in December 2008.
TJ Hughes took over the building but they went bust.
So Poundland came along and that is still occupying the space today.
Source: Staffordshire Daily Photo
49-57 New Street, Huddersfield HD1 2BL
Huddersfield Woolworths opened on New Street in 1915. It was expanded in 1934 to include an entrance on Victoria Lane. The upper trading floor retailed funiture and also had a cafeteria.
Source: Huddersfield Examiner
The shop was expanded again in 1964 from two storeys to six.
Source: Pictures of England
In the mid-seventies, a Shoppers World floor opened at Huddersfield – this was Woolworths catalogue shop, like the first ever Argos.
Source: Woolworths Museum
Shoppers World was very successful but the American owners decided to sell as it wasn’t doing too well over there.
In 1980 the store was extended and refurbished at a cost of £750,000. The work included expanding the Victoria Lane entrance by acquiring two small shops next door.
In 1990, with the introduction of the business rate, Woolworths took the commercial decision to remove the two top floors to reduce their rating liability. They also split the ground floor into two separate shop units and let them off. Woolworths, as a result traded only on the lower sales floor, which had a ‘frontage’ at the rear of the building onto a pedestrian area. They retained two entrances at front ground floor onto New Street level.
This was the Victoria Lane entrance which used to be the back and is now the front of the store, as it faces the Piazza shopping centre.
Source: Huddersfield Examiner
The store closed in December 2008 when the chain went bust, and Poundland now occupies the building. Here is the New Street back entrance:
And here is the Victoria Lane front entrance:
You can see how large a Woolworths store it would have been from this photo.
6 Clarence Street, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey
The 43rd Woolworths store opened in Kingston Upon Thames on 14th November 1914, completing a ring of stores around London’s metropolitan areas – the others were Richmond, Wimbledon, Lewisham, Ilford, Peckham, Croydon, Harlesden and Brixton. It was on a prime location between Clarence Street and Church Street, in the heart of town opposite Bentalls Department store and the post office.
Source: Woolworths Museum
The store was purpose built in a style that was in fashion at that time, with bold Classical flourishes, a strong centrepiece at the top. The centre of the store was difficult to light so a light well was put in. There was a first floor cafe and a small kitchen. In 1916 the store was widened towards the back and a second entrance was added at Church Street to help cope with the volume of trade, as well as the cafe being converted to another sales floor.
Source: Historic England
10/13 Market Place, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1JZ
Bigger premises were desperately needed, so they relocated to Market Place in 1931, where they demolished a hotel to build a half-timbered building with oriel windows and eyebrow dormers on Market Place. A taste for Old England facades came about at that time, possibly inspired by Liberty’s in London. The new store was built in stages, with sections added in 1933 and 1935.
Source: Woolworths Museum
The style of the building was considered vulgar by locals, so it was remodelled in 1959.
In 1972 the store was refurbished and a ‘Kwik Snax’ takeaway opened, replacing the old tea bar.
Source: Woolworths Museum
In 2003 Kingston was one of the 10/10 trial stores that got a new look, a new fascia and a red walkway in store with counters at an angle.
The store closed when the chain went bust in 2008 and it now is Clas Ohlson.
Source: Local Data Company
The first store at 6 Clarence Street is now Barclays, it seems the little Woolworths building has gone.
84-90 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0PY
Store 41 opened in Hammersmith in October 1914 at 84 King Street, right next door to the Hammersmith Cinematograph Theatre – a cinema that went bust in 1915.
Hammersmith Woolworths was one of the best performing and most loved stores in the UK, so in the 1920s there were plans to redevelop the site. The neighbouring buildings were secretly bought. The new store was built at 84-90, finished in Portland Stone and marble, with art deco finishes that were more luxurious than the other stores.
Source: Woolworth’s 100 years on the High Street, Morrison K
Below is a close-up and you can see the windows boarded up during the second world war.
Source: Woolworths Museum
There is this extract from the Woolworths Museum on how they kept trading while building this store:
“The development must have been something to behold. The Board was determined not to allow any loss of trading during the development, so the new building was put up around the old one, with trade transferred into the new section midway through the project so that the old building could be pulled down and replaced before the Upper Floors, including a popular tea bar and restaurant, as well large stockrooms and comfortable staff accommodation could be added upstairs. The new premises were opened in stages through the 1930s, with neon signage added just before World War II as a response to a ‘hated competitor’, which I would be guess would be the British Home Stores branch which opened opposite at that time, run by a rival American consortium.
Weeks after the work was completed, the building was side-swiped by the Luftwaffe, causing minor damage to the facade but destroying the new fascia and breaking most of windows and damaged the polished brass window and door frames. These were hastily repaired/replaced to make the ‘We’re carrying on’ picture, which had to be approved by the Censor before it was published in a special staff magazine for employees serving in H.M. Forces. It was among the first in the country to have a fascia without a reference to ‘Nothing over Sixpence’ or ‘3D and 6D stores’, as the repairs came days after the chain was forced to drop its long-standing fixed prices by wartime inflation.”
In 1982, the store was closed and the freehold sold when Kingfisher took over.
Today the building is occupied by KFC, Cashino Gaming and a Best Western Seraphine Hotel upstairs. So you can actually have a holiday in an old Woolworths building – who knows, you could be sleeping in the old stockroom!
Source: Best Western
118-122 High Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 1BY
The nineteenth Woolworths opened in Ilford in 1912, in a prime location next to the town hall. There are no photos of it when it first opened.
In 1938, the store was updated to have a simple Art Deco look. You can see it in the below photo – the large white building at the back.
Source: Francis Frith
Here is a close-up photo from the 1970s.
Source: Ilford in Pictures FB group
The store closed 29th January 1983, along with four other Woolworths stores across the country that day.
Today the building is occupied by Superdrug, Dorothy Perkin and Burton – so if you are visiting these shops on Ilford High Road, look up and see the Art Deco splendour of Woolworths past.
Source: Green & Partners
You can read about the newer Ilford Woolworths store 1241 here
4/5 Whitefriargate, Hull, Yorkshire HU1 2ET
The sixth Woolworths store to open in the UK was in Hull on the 4th November 1910. Hull was chosen because of its docks, freight and fishing industries and factories, all employing lots of people. The premises at number 4 and 5 Whitefriargate, formerly Smith’s Bank, were adapted to make a double-fronted store, the building being in a busy part of the city centre.
Source: Historic England Archive
There’s absolutely no information or photos of this store on the internet or in books. All we know is they traded at 4-5 Whitefriargate for 75 years. The store closed on the 7th April 1984 to move to a bigger and more modern store on nearby King Edward Street which will be covered in a future blog post. The Whitefriargate building was taken over by Peacocks, which has since closed.
Source: Roe, S.
Today the building is occupied by a rather loud looking shop called Boyes. I wouldn’t blame you for just walking past this building without noticing it, but it is actually a Grade II Listing Building – though this beautiful architecture was designed for Smith’s Bank, built in 1829. It was probably a good thing it was listed, otherwise you know Woolworths would have knocked it down and put up their own building!
Source: Brownie Bear
The next store numbers from 7 – 14 have already been covered. You can read them here:
105 Ballards Lane, Finchley, London N3 6JR
This store opened in 1938, in a familiar Woolworth architectural style (see far left):
Source: Francis Frith
And here it is today, the top half unchanged and clearly recognisable – now Superdrug and what looks like a closed down bakery.
Source: Property Link
5-6 Queens Square, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
In 1926 Woolworths opened on Queens Square in High Wycombe, and I think it was a long store that went through to Priory Road with another entrance there (where Primark is today).
Source: Woolworths 100 Years on the High Street, Kathryn A Morrison
Here you can see the store on the right side of the photo on Queens Square, looking towards Frogmoor.
Here is the Priory Road entrance on the far left of the photo, decorated for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. – this is the junction with Church Street.
A 1940s view:
The store in 1971 just before moving to its new location on the High Street.
Recently it has been a YMCA chariity shop and sometime it was a First Choice Travel Agents. At the Priory Street side, this has become part of Primark I think.
And here is it today – let’s hope something nice moves in
Source: Realla Property Search Engine
9-10 High Street, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP11 2BT
In 1969 Woolworths bought the site of the Red Lion Hotel, keeping the famous Red Lion statue. The hotel was demolished and a new store built behind arches. Offices were also built on upper floors as Woolworths were trying to generate extra revenue by letting out this space. Below you can see the store just after it reopened.
Originally the store was arranged over 2 floors with two entrances, one fronting the High Street and the other Castle Street – it was a very large store. They then closed the Castle Street entrance. Below you can see a view of the former rear entrance (formerly the site of the Odeon Cinema) on Castle Street.
In 1984, High Wycombe Woolworths was one of nine stores that tested out the concept ‘Electronics World’ – trying to link Comet and Woolworths, but this was abandoned in 1987.
In the 2000s, High Wycombe Woolworths was a 10/10 store and had a cafe. It was also the store where the head office team would test out promotions before they went live.
Today the building has been split into two, one side is Iceland, the other is Poundworld. The hotel’s iconic red lion statue, a major High Wycombe landmark, still stands on the colonnade outside the store.
1-7 Wellington Place, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1NY
In July 1926, Woolworths bought the block of 2-6 Wellington Place and 15-20 Pelham. The buildings were demolished, and in their place a large ‘3 penny and 6 penny’ store was built (Source: Hastings Chronicle). This is how the store looked in the 1950s:
Source: Hastings & St Leonards Forum
Below is a photo of the store in 1982, where you can see there has been a major makeover – I am guessing this took place in the 1960s.
Source: Popkin, A
This photo was taken when the underground walkway was being built.
Source: gandalfthegrey, Flickr
This is a 1990s photo where you can see the Woolworths fascia has been updated.
Source: Goldsteinleigh Investments
Source: JJ justin, Flickr
A more recent photo here, just before the store closed for good on 2nd January 2009.
Source: Snapper Jude, Flickr
It soon became a Sports Direct – here’s a photo we took last week whilst on holiday in Hastings. It’s a large, prominent store – you can’t miss it. They have painted the blue tiles grey, but apart from that is looks exactly as it did as a Woolworths. And even the 4 little roof windows are recognisable from the earlier 1950s photo – a real piece of history.
442/446 Holloway Road, London N7 6QE
I had many fond memories of Holloway Road from the 1990s when I started my student life, but I did not recall a Woolworths. So when I saw it listed on the 1970s store list, the idea for this whole blog began…
Woolworths opened on the bustling Holloway Road in the 1920s, opposite the Nags Head public house of which the area is now named after. Here is a photo from the 1950s, when trolleybuses were in use – there was a bus stop directly outside the store. There were upper floors, so I would say this was quite a large Woolworths.
Source: Carter, C
Below are two photos from the 1960s, where we can see the neighbouring buildings were J Lyons tea shop and H Samuel jewellers. It appears the road has also been enlarged since the 1950s.
Source: Pask, Brian
Source: Bannister, Geoff
Somewhere along the line, there was a makeover, I am guessing in the mid-1960s from the look of the building today. Then the store closed, possibly in the 1980s when Kingfisher took over, I can only speculate. What I do know is that it was definitely an Iceland in 1997.
Here is a more recent image of this parade of shops from 2010, where we can clearly see Iceland is where Woolworths was. The J Lyon tea shop is now Mothercare, H Samuel is T-Mobile (although probably an EE store now), and Marks & Spencer is still there looking remarkably unchanged. How was that for a lovely trip back in time 🙂
Source: diamond geezer
4 Balfour Road, Ilford, Essex IG1 4JH
The Ilford store was a relatively new one in the history of Woolworths stores – but the address has a fascinating history. Originally it was the Ilford Super Cinema which opened on 14th October 1922. In WW2, Ilford suffered the most German V2 rocket hits and the cinema was one of the casualties in 1945 – the building had to be boarded up.
In 1959 – 14 years later – the cinema was demolished and a C&A built in it’s place – a pretty eye-catching C&A building too.
Then when all the C&As closed down in 2000, Woolworths took on the lease of 6 of them – Chester, Metro Gateshead, Wood Green, Derby, Slough and of course Ilford.
The building, together with its illuminated Woolworths signs, always caught my eye whenever we drove through Ilford to get to my cousin Rori’s house. As a young local, she was quite distraught when C&A closed and threw a tantrum in the new Woolworths store… so C&A had it’s fans too. Here is a photo she took:
Ex-Woolworths employee and local Kerry Phillips reminisces, “I worked there for a couple of Christmases and always remember lots of people frantically shopping for last minute sweets and chocolates. The year Leona Lewis won X Factor I remember that song got to number one and it was played in store all day! “
She also remembers buying a CD on it’s last weekend of trading and how upbeat everyone was being. The Ilford store closed on 2nd January 2009.
In October 2009, a Wilkinson’s opened in it’s place. So although this is not a traditional Woolworths building, it is an iconic one and will probably stay a part of Ilford for many years to come.
Actually, here is an architect’s impression of Ilford after the proposed ‘urban realm scheme’ – it looks like they want Wilko’s gone and a cinema or something movie-themed in it’s place, I’m guessing in homage to the original Ilford Super Cinema.
9/11 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 2BA
Woolworths had been on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames for over 80 years according to the Henley Standard, before it closed on Tuesday 30th December 2008. So I estimate it opened in the late 1920s.
Source: Baldock, James (used with permission)
Above is the store just before it closed (picture from my facebook group).
It is now a teeny tiny Sainsbury’s, a really busy one too. That’s me with the apples below 🙂
37-41 High Street, Harlesden NW10 4NH
Harlesden in North West London was the eleventh UK store and the third London store. “It opened in 1911 and closed in 1991 at the end of it’s lease. The original store was rather smaller, expanding to the below frontage in two stages in the 1920s and 1930s. The outlet took a little longer to get established than the first two London stores Brixton and Woolwich, but had built such a large clientele by the 1930s that it was doubled in size.” Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/1910s-london.html
Woolworths shared the premises with sister company Superdrug in the 80s and moved out in the 90s.
Quote from Pat (Moss) Hurwood who was born in Harlesden in 1947 and lived there until 1963. “Further along towards the Jubilee Clock was a fishmongers that would have blocks of ice delivered about 7.30 each morning. Close to this was a wonderful Woolworths where you could spend what little pocket money you had. This shop went on fire and my brother, who was a budding photographer, sold a photo of the fire.” Source: http://www.movethat.co.uk/London/My/Harlesden
My sister works in Harlesden now at Champion records. She said her boss always mentions there was a Woolworths in Harlesden, which I supposed must have been really important being a record company. That’s where the interest in this post stems from. We are going to take a photo of what is in the building in the near future, when we are brave enough! Apparently it is some random home store, after Superdrug moved to across the road.
Edit 04/18 – she doesn’t worth there anymore and we never took that photo!! But here is a Google Maps image, where I have worked out it is Way2Save from the curve above the windows on the right – you can see this curve in the old 1920s Woolworths photo above.
53-55 Station Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4BE
I took the above photo from my car in December 2008.
48- 50 The Broadway, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9PT
“Opened as store #512 on 9 September 1933, it was later renumbered as #2023 in about 2000, at the point where it was converted to the new ‘Woolworths General Store’ format. Though that concept turned out to be shortlived, the store continued to trade – still under its General Store fascia – until Woolworths’ collapse.” Source: http://www.soultsretailview.co.uk
I spoke to ex-Greenford employee Ganesh Jillah, who worked there from 1995 – 2001, and took the below photo when it closed for good in 2008. He reminisced “I remember when we moved the entertainment counter from the left side to the right and then back to the left in all the store refits”. I said “What? How did you move a whole entertainment counter” He said “We was Woolworths. We coulda done anything. And we did.”
He also mentioned the presence of ghosts at Greenford. “One evening, me and Stewart were cashing up when we heard all the sound books go off, you know the kids books where you press a button and it makes a sound. And there was no one else in store, just me and Stewart”
I said “What, all of them?”
“Yes ALL of them. We thought we must be hearing things and carried on. Went upstairs, came back down to lock up, suddenly the books start going off again, and one flew off the shelf. We legged it!”