Category Archives: Hampshire

Havant Woolworths – Store 573

30 West Street, Havant, Hants PO9 1PH

Woolworths opened in Havant in 1934, but unfortunately I can’t find any photos of it. It was on West Street in an existing building. They traded here for about 40 years, closing in the 1970s – 80s. Today it is a Superdrug.

Havant Former Woolworths

Havant Former Woolworths

Source – Twitter @soult

 

Petersfield Woolworths – Store 562

8 High Street, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 3JE

Woolworths opened in Petersfield in 1934. It was a small purpose-built store, although the design of it was to fit in with the style of the high street.

Former store manager Penny White shares her memories, “It was my second store as a manager, 1988 I think. We had a great team who all worked so well together. We finally broke the £1 million mark. I do remember being called by the police one Sunday to let me know the front door was unlocked! I went over expecting to find the store half empty, but it was a sign of the times that nothing was missing and I still had a job on Monday morning! Couldn’t believe my luck nor could I work out what I would have told my boss.”

Peterfield Woolworths 1960s
Peterfield Woolworths 1960s

Source: Petersfield Museum (photo taken by Don Eades)

Richard Graver was the store manager in the 2000s and he has kindly supplied the photos for this post. Here are his memories, “A real community store, the heart of the town. I worked at 562 Petersfield from 1989 as a sales assistant. The manager was Philip Sturman, a peculiar man like Mr Bean. The store had two entrances after being extended to twice the original size in the 1980s. The store had a category 5 critical stockroom which was really challenging, so Store 289 North End was used for storage.

I returned to the store as Assistant Manager in 2002 under Paul Fellowes and then Store Manager after his departure. We acquired an external warehouse in Petersfield (big and tall enough that the articulated lorries could literally reverse in). This was crucial in the store’s setup and it became one of stores with the highest sales per sq. foot in the company.”

Petersfield Woolworths 1981
Petersfield Woolworths 1981

Source: Graver, R.

Mark Sawkins, who also worked at the North End branch, shares his memories of Petersfield, “I had two roles there – Ent Spec and then Assistant Manager, working with both Paul Fellows and then Richard Graver. It was a great local community store, that flooded every time it rained heavily. I was there when it went through a Local refit and then had to wear the amazing red and white striped shirts and fluffy red sweatshirts.. great times had there!!”

Petersfield Woolworths 2008
Petersfield Woolworths – January 2009

Source: Graver, R.

Petersfield Woolworths closed in January 2009 after 74 years of trading from this location. It became a 99p store, who later were taken over by Poundland. This is a photo of the fascia being changed over, and the ghost Woolworths sign was revealed.

Petersfield Woolworths Ghost Sign
Petersfield Woolworths Ghost Sign

Source: Graver, R.

This photo shows the store as a Poundland today. Have a look at the photo below to see a ‘then and now’ comparison.

Petersfield Former Woolworths
Petersfield Former Woolworths

Source: Graver, R.

Petersfield Woolworths Then and Now

Petersfield Woolworths Then and Now
Petersfield Woolworths Then and Now

Source: Graver, R.

Fareham Woolworths – Store 536

4 Savoy Buildings, Fareham PO16 0AG

Woolworths opened in Savoy Buildings in 1934, next to the Savoy Cinema which opened in the same year.

Fareham Woolworths 1950s
Fareham Woolworths 1950s

Source: 20th Century Fareham

This postcard shows the Savoy Cinema and the Savoy Buildings which had Woolworths in the centre.

Fareham Woolworths 1950s
Fareham Woolworths 1950s

Source: Sense of Place South East

In 1959 the Savoy Cinema closed and Woolworths bought the site to build an new larger store. WHSmith moved into the old Woolworths store.

95-97 West Street, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 0AH

This photo shows the first Woolworths store next to the new Woolworths store.

Fareham Woolworths 1965
Fareham Woolworths 1965

Source: Woolworths Museum

“While the US Woolworths were relocating stores into shopping centres, the British company preferred to move into larger more modern premises next door to the old store, as shown here in Fareham, Hampshire in May 1965.” [Extract from the Woolworths Museum]

The below photo of Fareham Store Manager Arthur Hunt has been sent in by Richard Northover, who kindly shares his memories:
“Arthur Hunt (previously mentioned by me in your post for 470 Aylesbury)…. a great friend of Ken Pessell the Aylesbury manager and my father Dennis when he was a first store manager at Harpenden in the late fifties. Arthur gave me my first teddy bear when I was born in 1960! Arthur as you will see from his picture had a toupee! He went to Fareham in 1968 and retired early 1978 after over 40 years service…yet another FWW stalwart as we all were in those good old days. Not many woolies nuts like us left.”

Fareham Woolworths Store Manager 1968
Fareham Woolworths Store Manager

Source: Northover, R.

Dave Hill worked in Fareham in 1977-1978. He remembers that there were mens and ladies separate canteen rooms and the manager Mr Hunt.

Fareham Woolworths 1970s
Fareham Woolworths 1970s

Source: 20th Century Fareham

Here is a photo of a Woolworths canteen room sign. Richard Northover saved this sign from a closed store and he says ,”Us stockroom lads were not allowed to share the ladies dining room… but relationships still happened…..”

Fareham Woolworths Mens Lunch Room
Fareham Woolworths Mens Lunch Room

Source: Northover, R.

Penny White managed the store from 1993 to 1997 taking it through a refurb that added a cafe at the back. She says, “We also persuaded the centre we were attached to to open Sundays for the Christmas period. I was promoted from there to area manager for the south west mid ’97. We had a fabulous team. One thing I do remember was having to keep all the front doors but one shut during a really bad storm due to them all blowing in violently and nearly taking out customers!

Another time we evacuated the store because we thought there was a gas leak, all the area managers were there for a regional meeting. Workmen had left a blow torch on unlit. The meeting was abandoned for the pub. But the fire brigade liked our signing in log which had just been introduced. We had some good times and so many things were introduced during that period – the Lottery, Jeff Banks uniforms, availability checks and not counting it unless you had to!”

Andrew Heath was the next store manager from 1998-2001. Here is his photo from the 1999 yearbook.

Fareham Store Manager 1999

He says, “I took it through a full refurbishment when it was part of the “concept division”. It was my last SM role before becoming Area Manager for Hampshire in 2001.”

I am presuming the concept division were the 10/10 stores. Mark Sawkins was Assistant Manager and he tells us “It was also the area office for a while too. It was a nice, big store to shop and was lovely when it was refurbished to the 10/10 format.”

Fareham Woolworths 1998
Fareham Woolworths 1998

Source: Shimmon, B.

The store closed in December 2008. It became a 99p store, which then became a Poundland. This photo shows both former Woolworths buildings in the same shot – WHSmith in the original store and Poundland in the later one.

Fareham Former Woolworths
Fareham Former Woolworths

Alton Woolworths – Store 497

58 High Street, Alton, Hampshire 

Woolworths opened in Alton in 1933. It was originally at 58 High Street, and in an existing building.

Alton Woolworths 1950s

Alton Woolworths 1950s

Source: Facebook

They moved to bigger premises in the 1970s. It was a Clinton Cards store until recently, but today it is Mountain Warehouse.

Alton Former Woolworths

Alton Former Woolworths

Alton Former Woolworths

Alton Former Woolworths

65 – 67 High Street, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1EU

The bigger Woolworths store was at 65 – 67 High Street. They traded here to the end, closing when the chain went bust in December 2008.

Alton Woolworths 2007

Alton Woolworths 2007

Source: Facebook

Today this building is occupied by Iceland.

Alton Former Woolworths

Alton Former Woolworths

Shirley Woolworths – Store 441

3-7 High Street, Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire SO15 3UL

Woolworths opened in Shirley (Southampton) in 1931. It was on the High Street in a single-storey purpose built store.

Shirley Woolworths 1960s-70s

Shirley Woolworths 1960s-70s

Source: Facebook

Shirley Woolworths 1984

Shirley Woolworths 1984

Source: Daily Echo

It was a busy and popular store. Former employee Jamie Buchanan shares how it was “nice and pristine before the doors opened, and then it got trashed daily.” 

Shirley Woolworths inside

Shirley Woolworths inside

Source: Buchanan, J.

The store closed in January 2009.

Shirley Woolworths 2009

Shirley Woolworths 2009

Source: Facebook

It became a 99p store, which then became a Poundland/Pep&Co. But looking at the building, you can clearly see it was a Woolworths.

Shirley Former Woolworths

Shirley Former Woolworths

Source: NovaLoca

Andover Woolworths – Store 405

11-15 High Street, Andover, Hampshire SP10 1LJ

Woolworths opened in Andover in 1930 on the High Street. It was a purpose-built store with the classic 5 bay frontage and central pediment.

Andover Woolworths 1930s

Andover Woolworths 1930s

Andover Woolworths date unknown

Andover Woolworths date unknown

Source: Facebook

In 1972 Woolworths bought the Burtons building next door and built a new superstore (all the old architecture demolished). This photo shows a crowd were gathered for the opening of a new store. A poster in the window shows that the Mayor, Councillor C Berry, was due to open the store at 10am on Thursday 15th June and “New! Shopping made easy. Cash Wrap Service”

Andover Woolworths 1972

Andover Woolworths 1972

The store lasted until January 2009, with its closing date delayed by one day because they had too much stock.

Andover Woolworths 2008

Andover Woolworths 2008

Source: Andover Radio

Today you will find Poundland in the building.

Andover Former Woolworths

Andover Former Woolworths

Source: Ballysundriven

Winchester Woolworths – Store 359

118 – 121 High Street, Winchester, Hants

Woolworths opened in Winchester in 1929. It was on the High Street opposite The Pentice. Although I can’t find a photo of the exterior, here is how the inside looked. It was quite a large store.

Winchester Woolworths 1957

Winchester Woolworths 1957

Source: Facebook

In 1969 the upper floor facade was reconstructed to look like how the High Street would have looked in the olden days, I think as instructed by the town council:  “A little further to the west there is the reconstruction of the upper part of the old Chapel which was formerly Giffords and now forms part of Woolworths. This is less satisfactory because the shop front itself has gone, but nevertheless this reconstruction is a valuable break in what would otherwise have been an extremely dull first floor extending over a long stretch facing the pentice.” (City of Winchester Trust)

The store closed in January 1989 and became a test ‘Music & Video’ stand-alone store that failed. Today the building is occupied by The Body Shop, Santander and Tesco Express.

Winchester Former Woolworths

Winchester Former Woolworths

Portsmouth North End Woolworths – Store 289

98 London Road, North End, Portsmouth, Hants PO2 0NA

Woolworths opened their third Portsmouth store in 1927. The other two were Store 35 (Commercial Road) and Store 50 (Southsea). Store 289 was on London Road in North End. It was originally a small store – below is a photo of it from the 1940s, where you can see the windows have been boarded up to protect from air raids in WW2.

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1940s

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1940s

Source: Historic England

After the war had ended, the store was extended and had a makeover. Below you can see the new, larger store on the right side. The photo is undated from Pinterest, but from the cars I am guessing this is the 1950s. It looks like the tram stop was directly in front of Woolworths. Next door was a cinema that had opened in the 1930s.

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1950s

Source: Pinterest

Ian Exeter worked at North End Woolworths from July 1973 as a Saturday boy until 1978, by which time he had progressed to a trainee manager. He kindly sent in this photo from the 1970s, and also a photo of the manager at the time, Glanville Davies, who he says was a true gent and a great manager.

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1970s

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 1970s

Portsmouth North End Woolworths Managers 1970s

Portsmouth North End Woolworths Managers 1970s

Source: Exeter I.

Richard Graver was Assistant Manager at North End in the 1990s, before moving on to be AM and then Store Manager at Petersfield Woolworths. He tells us that in the late 1980s, the North End salesfloor was halved – the front half being the new salesfloor and the back being the new stockroom. This left the enormous first floor stockroom empty. Store 562 Petersfield used this as a satellite stockroom as did a couple of other stores. (A satellite stockroom is one where other branches could store their excess stock, particularly if they had limited space).

Former employee Mark Sawkins worked at North End in the 1990s when the store had it’s ‘Local’ refit – around 1996/7. He loved working there, though he does remember having to move the area manager’s car during the refit and nearly crashing it!

The store lasted until the end, closing on 2nd Janaury 2009. This is a photo from Google Streetview after the store closed, with the fascia still up.

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 2009

Portsmouth North End Woolworths 2009

It became a 99p store, which turned into Poundland when they bought them out. Now it is a Poundland/Pep & Co – it would be interesting to know whether they opened up the salesfloor back to its original size. The building is instantly recognisable as a former Woolworths store, from the upper floor 1950s architecture to the tiles on the side pillars. Next door, the former Odeon still there – the Art Deco frontage now taken over by Sainsbury’s. Behind the supermarket lies the spooky abandoned cinema. And in front of Poundland you can see the tram stop that became a bus stop is still there.

Portsmouth North End Former Woolworths

Portsmouth North End Former Woolworths

Eastleigh Woolworths – Store 282

19 – 23 Leigh Road, Eastleigh, Hants SO5 4FF

Woolworths opened in the Hampshire town of Eastleigh in 1927. It started off as a small store on the left-hand side of the ‘Eagle Building’, pictured below. The Eagle Building was “so called on account of the 8ft-wide eagle in terra-cotta placed at the top. Built by William Wallis at the turn of the century it was a remarkable feature in a town of only about 5000 people.” [Extract from Around Eastleigh including Chandler’s Ford, Bishopstoke and Botley Living Memories.]

Eastleigh Woolworths 1951

Eastleigh Woolworths 1951

Soon after the above photo was taken in the 1950s, Woolworths acquired the whole of the Eagle building and sadly were given permission to demolish the three central sections in order to expand. Although I love Woolworths, I do feel historic architecture should have been kept. Anyway, they built this rectangular block in the middle, keeping the smaller sides of the Eagle building as they were. A glass veranda was added, perhaps to give a Victorian shopping feel.

Eastleigh Woolworths 2008

Eastleigh Woolworths 2008

Source: Facey P.

Now, interesting fact, did you know that Benny Hill worked here in his youth? The store lasted until the end, and as you can see, it was a large store.

Eastleigh Woolworths 2008

Eastleigh Woolworths 2008

Source: Facey P.

Today it is a Poundland. They have kept the Woolies doors and windows, simply painting them in Poundland green. And look to the right on the upper floor, you can see the part of the Eagle building that was kept.

Eastleigh Former Woolworths

Eastleigh Former Woolworths

Source: Kirwin D.

Chichester Woolworths – Store 254

10 – 12 North Street, Chichester, Sussex PO19 1LE

Woolworths opened in Chichester in 1927. Whilst I don’t have any information of the early years, we do know that number 12 North Street is listed (the smaller building on the right): “C18. 3 storeys. 2 windows. Tiled hipped roof with tiled ridges. Red brick. Coved cornice. Stringcourse above 1st floor. Sash windows with flush boxes in flat arches; glazing bars intact; carved brick voussoirs to 1st floor windows. C20 shop front and fascia on ground floor replacing former shop window (of early-mid C19 date).”

That explains why it appears that Woolworths was occupying two different stores – it was the fact that they could not change the appearance of number 12. It looks like they did a 1950s makeover on the left side (number 10), with the familiar row of windows on the first floor.

Chichester Woolworths 2008

Chichester Woolworths 2008

John Coomber also worked at Chichester in 1977, and he remembers “Doug Dyer (store manager) often used to borrow cigarettes of the trainees. It was a tough time working there. One of the only stores I worked at where the staff were scared of the manager…..could be very harsh at times….not many thanks given out.”

Robert Baker was Assistant Manager in the mid-70s and he remembers when Chichester staff helped the Bognor store after it burned down in 1974 and the new store was built. “On a Monday the AM would drive Doug Dyer’s car over to Bognor store (so he could claim mileage) pick up the Bognor van and deliver all the furniture that was sold the previous week in the Chichester store. Fruit and veg sold well there in the 70s. It had one of the highest sales per foot stores in the south.”

Woolworths in Chichester closed down in December 2008. Trayci Adams was one of the staff working there when it closed – and she says there was a ghost at that store.

Today Boots is at numbers 10-12 North Street, but you can recognise certainly the left side as being a Woolworths building.

Chichester Former Woolworths - Boots

Chichester Former Woolworths – Boots

 

Aldershot Woolworths – Store 248

58 Union Street, Aldershot, Hants

Woolworths opened in Aldershot in 1927, in a purpose-built store. It was next to Burtons and opposite Timothy Whites (which became Boots) on Union Street. It also had an entrance at the other side of the store on the High Street. Woolworths stayed in this building right until the end in 2008. Here are photos of the store through its 80 year life:

Aldershot Woolworths 1970s

Aldershot Woolworths 1930s

Aldershot Woolworths 1935

Aldershot Woolworths 1935

Aldershot Woolworths 1957

Aldershot Woolworths 1957 (High Street side)

Aldershot Woolworths 1965

Aldershot Woolworths 1965

Aldershot Woolworths 1970s

Aldershot Woolworths 1970s

Aldershot Woolworths 1980s

Aldershot Woolworths 1980s

Aldershot Woolworths 2004

Aldershot Woolworths 2004

After Woolworths closed at the end of 2008, this branch became a 99p store. It was Poundland for a short while after they bought the 99p stores, but today the building is vacant again. The Woolworths architecture on the first floor is still there.

Aldershot Former Woolworths

Aldershot Former Woolworths

And at the back is a ghost Woolworths sign!

Aldershot Woolworths back 2018

Aldershot Former Woolworths – back 2018

Boscombe Woolworths – Store 179

609 – 615 Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hants BH1 4AR

Woolworths opened in Boscombe in 1925. It had an Art Deco faience front and it was a large store until the 1990s. The store was on the ground floor with the stockroom upstairs.

Boscombe Woolworths 1989

Boscombe Woolworths 1989

Source: Bournemouth Echo

In the 1990s the store was halved in size, and Superdrug moved into the unit that was created on it’s left. Note the peppermint blue frame surrounds of the windows and door.

Boscombe Woolworths 2000

Boscombe Woolworths 2000

Source: Flickr – Grant

I don’t know what happened to the middle ‘W’ in this 2005 photo! In this close-up you can see the red sale point-of-sale in the window and hanging from the ceiling instore. Above the doors are blue delivery truck shaped POS advertising ‘order instore’ – this was a new concept then.

Boscombe Woolworths 2005

Boscombe Woolworths 2005

Source: Emily and James

The store closed in January 2009, and Poundstretcher moved in. They have kept the peppermint blue window and door frames and the mosaic pillars. Next time you are shopping in Boscombe, take a closer look at Poundstretcher and look up to see original Woolworths architecture.

Boscombe Former Woolworths - Poundstretcher

Boscombe Former Woolworths – Poundstretcher

Source: Ladell A.

Southampton Woolworths – Store 128

64/66 Above Bar Street, Southampton SO9 5UD

Woolworths opened a branch on Above Bar Street on 7th February 1923, alongside the original Southampton Woolies on East Street (Store 24) which opened in 1913. This newer one was a larger store.

Southampton Woolworths 1930s

Southampton Woolworths 1930s

Source: http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/images/0128Southampton-1930s.jpg

Former resident Margaret House remembers this store, “From memory, the original Woolies there was a long narrow shop, one storey, with a sloping floor. Had a cafe area at the far end of the shop where Mum would treat me to a Horlicks drink. That would have been late 40s early fifties.” Source: Southampton Memories: People and Places Facebook Group

Unfortunately this building got destroyed in the Blitz and had to be rebuilt. “The branch had re-opened in stages from 1949 until 1954. The final wave saw the opening of an upper salesfloor, with a customer restaurant and a large new clothing department. Garments were displayed hanging on the walls. The shopfit included new spotlighting to give extra prominence to the feature. For the first time customers were invited to select for themselves from the displays rather than asking an assistant for help. The product selection included a number of garments costing between twenty and forty shillings (£1 to £2).”
Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/1950s-i-fasion.htm

Below shows how the new building looked:

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

 Source: http://www.facebook.com/SouthamptonMemories

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Source: Southampton Heritage Photos Facebook Group

Ex-Woolworths employee Ganesh Jillah who worked at Southampton from 1997-1999 says, “I remember when Titanic was released on video in October ’98. We were all working a late shift, and we had on Titanic t-shirts. The store was open as a special event from 9pm ’til 11pm on the Sunday, or maybe it was 8 ’til 12. There was a big queue of people outside the store all along the street! We had an orchestra playing like they had in the Titanic.” I asked him why Southampton in particular. He said it was because the Titanic had sailed from Southampton.

Woolworths Titanic Poster - Southampton

Titanic Poster – Southampton Woolworths

 

Southampton Woolworths 2006

Southampton Woolworths 2006

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/_moonpie/230871673

Southampton Woolworths 2007

Southampton Woolworths 2007

Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/heritage/hampshireheritage

The store closed in September 2007 to the shock of many locals and employees, after the landlord offered them loads of money to end the lease 10 years early. TK Maxx and the Card Factory took it’s place. The canopies have gone but you can still see the same windows from the 1960s photo.

Southampton TK Maxx 2014

Southampton TK Maxx 2014

Source: www.192.com

Woolworths bosses then decided to open a new store in nearby Bitterne, in October 2008 (even though there was already a closed store in this area – store 1005, 401/403 Bitterne Road). Well this new one ended up being the last new store to be opened before the chain collapsed.

Basingstoke Woolworths – Store 107

5 – 7 London Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 7AB

Woolworths originally opened at 5 London Street in Basingstoke Old Town on 19th November 1921, taking over the premises of William Cannon, the butchers. They extended in 1935 into part of the drapery shop of J Boyer next door, making a larger store.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1950

Basingstoke Woolworths 1950

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

In Febraury 1959 the store was extended and modernised further. Below is how the new store looked.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1966

Basingstoke Woolworths 1966

Source: R L Brown, Sense of Place South East

1/13 Chiswick House, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7LD

On 23rd October 1970 they relocated to Basingstoke’s new shopping centre, opening a HUGE new self-service store, with a restaurant, in a 3-storey building called Chiswick House. The Post Office moved into the empty London Street store. From this photo it looks as though it was all an indoor shopping centre, but today that ceiling has been opened up.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1970

Basingstoke Woolworths 1970

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The move to self-service was a big deal in the 70s. On February 1971 they celebrated “D” Day – when half of all Woolworths stores had moved to self-service and decimalisation. Here is the cash wrap desk upstairs in the Clothing department at Basingstoke.

Basingstoke Clothing Tills 1971

Basingstoke Clothing Tills 1971

Source: Woolworths Museum

1993 the store was cut to half its size, and other stores opened up in Chiswick House. Today Poundland, Vision Express and Specsavers trade from that side.

In the 2000s it was one of the stores chosen to be a 10/10 store, still trading with a cafe, until it’s closure in December 2008.

Basingstoke Woolworths 2008

Basingstoke Woolworths 2008

Source: Talbot, C

TODAY:

The Post Office is still trading from the London Street location.

Basingstoke Post Office

Basingstoke Post Office

And the Chiswick House Woolies has been split into 2 units. Greggs and a clothes store called Internacionale (I think) trade from there. Apologies for the grainy image, I actually took a photo of the wrong store (Poundland!), so have had to screenshot this off my vlog.

Chiswick House, Basingstoke 2015

Chiswick House, Basingstoke 2015

Other sources: Basingstoke Gazette

Other Hampshire Woolworths you may be interested in:
Portsmouth – Store 35Southsea – Store 50

Southsea Woolworths – Store 50

19/23 Palmerston Road, Southsea, Hants PO5 3QA

The 50th Woolworths store to open in the UK was in the seaside town of Southsea (after the neighbouring Portsmouth branch opened a year earlier), opening on 26th June 1915 at Palmerston Road. Below is the road in 1925, one of these shops was the Woolworths.

Southsea 1925

Southsea 1925

Source: Past and Present Publications

As sales were good, the building was extended in March 1932. Unfortunately this was one of the 26 stores that got destroyed in World War 2, on 11th January 1941.

After the war, Palmerston Road was redesigned, and Woolworths moved to a new location at numbers 19-23, opening on 10th October 1951 with a newly designed store. The new building was more accessible, with wider step-free entrances, and was significantly larger and brighter.

Southsea Woolworths 1951

Southsea Woolworths 1951

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

From this photo you can see they even put a ‘Woolworth’ fascia above each set of doors.

Southsea Woolworths 1966

Southsea Woolworths 1966

Source: Baker, Richard

Southsea Woolworths was one of the last stores to convert to self-service in 1973, I presume it being a laid-back seaside town, they took their time 😉 In 1988 the building was split in half, with 22-23 given to Superdrug. Then the store was was modernised again in August 1992.

Southsea Woolworths 2004

Southsea Woolworths 2004

Source: Baldock, James (used with permission)

Southsea Woolworths closed on 2nd January 2009, looking pretty much as it did in 2004 in the photo above. It lay empty for over 2 years.

Southsea Woolworths 2008

Southsea Woolworths 2008

Source: Citykey

Then, making a change from the norm, the council decided to open a library at this site. Southsea Library opened on 29th July 2011, complete with a cafe serving coffees and cakes “and in honour of Woolworths’ memory, a themed pick and mix box for children.” (Source: Portsmouth Lib Dems)

What’s nice to see is that above the library and Superdrug, the building appears exactly as how it looked in 1951. If you ever visit Southsea, do have a look.

Southsea Library 2014

Southsea Library 2014

Source: Custodian Reit plc

Portsmouth Woolworths – Store 35

121/127 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hants PO1 1D

100 years ago, on 22nd August 1914, Woolworths opened in the naval city of Portsmouth on Commercial Road, a year before the neighbouring Southsea branch opened. The premises started off small, but had a series of extensions in 1926, 1934 and 1938. Below is a postcard of Commercial Road in the 1920s, so you can imagine somewhere along this street stood the Woolworths.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Source: Postcards of the Past

With the city being a major naval port, it suffered terribly during WW2, and the Woolworths building was one of the casualties, being totally destroyed on 11th January 1941. The staff were moved to the nearby Fratton store.
A huge superstore was built in its place, reopening in stages from 1950 to 1953. Below is a photo that may possibly be one of the opening days from all the crowds outside.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Flickr – The House of Blue Leaves

The size of the shop may have looked normal from the front, but from this birds eye view, you can see the scale of the store – massive.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s - birds eye view

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s – birds eye view

The back of the store had a lovely curved feature with huge long windows. This was where the restaurant stood, on a mezzanine floor, with a spiral staircase by the windows leading up to the seating area. The restaurant had light flooding in from the windows, and there was rarely a seat free with it being so popular with customers.

Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Source: Woolworths Museum

Here is a photo of the finished store in the late 1950s, with Littlewoods next door in a similar styled building.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below is a 1970s photo of Commercial Road from ‘A Tale of One City’, with Woolworths on the far left. This was shortly before the road was pedestrianised.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Source: A Tale of One City 

After the road was pedestrianised, Woolworths also had a 70s makeover, and below is a photo showing the new fascia.

Portsmouth  Woolworths 1970s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

 

Between 1986-1989, the Cascades Shopping Centre was being built at the rear of the shops on Commercial Road, and Woolworths had to reduce its size as a result, and lose that lovely restaurant and those curved windows 😦
There wasn’t much change in the 1990s… My cousin worked there one Christmas – she reminisces “Yeah, it was fun”
Here is a photo from 2004, showing Woolworths really standing out with their signage. Littlewoods Extra is next door, but they closed down the year after and Primark took over that space.

Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below are two photos from 2008 before Woolworths closed down, one from the High Street and the other from the Cascades shopping centre entrance.

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 - front

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – front

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths  2008 - back

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – back

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008. The shop lay empty for 2 and a half years, possibly as it was such a large space. Then in 2011, neighbouring Primark announced they were planning to extend into the 30,000 sq ft space, creating one giant super-Primark.

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Source: 192.com

Southampton East Street Woolworths – Store 24

87/88 East Street, Southampton, Hampshire SO9 5UB

The twenty-fourth Woolworths store opened on East Street in Southampton in 1913. East Street was a very historic shopping street, it actually has an ancient history going back to medieval times. It was a very popular area, often crowded with shoppers, which is why it was a good location for Woolworths. It was located directly opposite a huge department store called Edwin Jones which Debenhams bought in 1928.

Woolworths in East Street must have done well as just 10 years later, another larger branch of the store was opened in nearby Above Bar Street – Store 128. Both stores stayed opened alongside each other.

The premises in East Street were bombed in World War II and new premises which took 5 years to build were erected and opened in 1959. There are no photos of the store, and nothing written about the closing date. But if it follows the pattern of other towns that had two Woolworths stores, it probably closed in the early 70s when the Above Bar branch store would have converted to self-service.

Today the building is occupied by Snip, which is variant of Costcutter the convenience store. You can see how large a store it is, on a corner plot.

Former Woolworths Southampton East Street 2015

Former Woolworths Southampton East Street 2015