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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
Source: Kirwin D.
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.
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.
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:
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.
And at the back is a ghost Woolworths sign!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Source: Ladell A.
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.