21 – 27 London Road, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 6BT
Woolworths opened in Enfield Town, North London, in 1925. There are no photos of the store from the early days, but we can guess there was a 1950s makeover from the style of the building in this photo, and it looks like it was quite a large store.
This store closed when the chain went bust in December 2008. It was empty for quite a few months, and then became a ‘Home Solutions’ store. Today you will find Poundland and Pep & Co in the building.
504 – 506 Harrow Road, London W9 3QD
Woolworths opened on Harrow Road in London W9 in 1925. This area is known as Maida Hill, about 3 miles from Paddington. It was close to Westbourne Park underground station. There is not much information online about the store, but there is this close-up photo from 1955. You can see the kitchenware products in the window, and how prams were kept outside in those days. It looks like this mother had an early style Smart Trike!
Source: Westminster Memories
This photo is supposedly the store in the 1960s, but I have my doubts as there are no buildings with this style of window on the Harrow Road today. UPDATE 25/11/18: Thank to Stuart Kew for confirming this photo is of Harlesden Store 11 and not Maida Hill. I have now added this photo to the Harlesden post.
Source: Maida Hill Forum
The store closed in June 1986. The store at the address of 504 – 506 Harrow Road is the Co-operative (formerly Somerfield). The upper floors of this store look nothing like the 1960s photo, which is why I suspect it has been captioned incorrectly. Either that or the Woolworths store moved, and the building was demolished. All we do know is that Woolworths was where the Co-operative is today.
49a Westow Hill, Upper Norwood, London SE19 1TT
The Upper Norwood branch in South London was more commonly known as Crystal Palace Woolworths. It opened in 1925 on Westow Hill. You can see the store in this 1955 photo, on the right with the art deco facade.
Sometime after, the store was given a makeover, and the upper floors looked more simple, just plain brick. Mark Sawyers was the store manager in 2002-03. He remembers it was “a lovely little shop, had a great time there. It had such a great little village feel for an area of South East London… it was really Crystal Palace..”
The store closed in December 2008.
Source: Diamond Geezer
I believe the store was empty for a good few years before becoming a Poundstretcher. The Woolworths tiled pillars are still in place.
PS. If you look at the windows above the Little Palace Cafe in the ‘now’ photo, and compare with the 1955 photo, you can see they are the same windows in the building next to the art deco Woolworths.
105 – 109 Strand, London WC2R 0AB
Woolworths opened their fifth Central London store on The Strand in 1925. The others were Oxford Street, High Street Kensington, High Holborn and Tottenham Court Road. The Strand store It opened next to The Savoy Hotel and was part of a mixed development designed (later known as Norman House) by Trehearne & Norman. They customised the main shop unit for Woolworths and the offices above for Shell-Mex. (Extract from Woolworth’s 100 Years on the High Street – Morrison K.)
Source: Historic England
The below photo is from 19th May 1937, when King George VI (1895 – 1952) and his royal procession were driving down the Strand on their way to Guildhall. You can see Woolworths in the background, next to Dolcis Shoes.
The store survived World War II intact before being used for concept development in the 1950s. In 1951 a new wooden floor was put in, as well as self-service grocery counters with an extended range of foods.
The learnings from The Strand were rolled out widely across the estate from the mid-50s to 1970. The store had further modernisation in the 1970s with the introduction of an upstairs Harvester Restaurant.
The store closed in 1986, when Kingfisher were selling properties to raise funds. Strand and Holborn stores in London were chosen because they had little weekend trade.
Today you will find Boots in its place – but the whole building is due to be redeveloped next year. Below is an extract from the developers, and it seems they are keeping the original frontage which is good news.
Source: Soult G.
“The Duchy of Lancaster has obtained planning permission from Westminster City Council for the £multi-million refurbishment of Norman House at 105-109 Strand in the heart of the Savoy estate.
The decision comes as a result of a detailed planning application developed by a multi-disciplinary team and submitted in August 2017. The development project includes a major refurbishment of the existing 1920s building as well as the addition of two new storeys which will improve rooflines at the front and rear.
This will be the largest single refurbishment project ever undertaken by the Duchy. Once completed, the new scheme will provide a landmark retail, restaurant and office space expected to be worth over £60 million in value.
Commenting on the approval, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “The improvement of the Duchy’s holdings and public realm on the Strand has been identified as a key priority for the Duchy of Lancaster. We are delighted with the support we have received from Westminster City Council and believe that the finished scheme will not only enhance the streetscape, but will attract new businesses, shoppers and visitors to this part of the City.
The scheme is designed to appeal to high quality retailers, restauranteurs and corporates who are looking for modern, open spaces which are both flexible and functional. The refurbished Norman House will deliver these spaces, while retaining the charm and appeal of the building’s original architecture.
The project team responsible for the redevelopment proposals includes architectural firm ORMS who were first appointed to look at the future potential of the building back in June 2016. Other members include planning consultants Gerald Eve LLP, project management company Quartz, structural engineers Heyne Tillett Steel, mechanical and electrical engineering firm Hoare Lea and cost consultants Exigere.
Work is expected to start on site in 2019, with completion due in 2020.
Norman House forms part of the Savoy estate, an area of land which has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster since the 13th century. While the front of the existing building faces the Strand, the rear of the building overlooks the listed Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and the famous Savoy Steps. Great care has been taken in developing the design proposals to ensure that this view is preserved and enhanced and that linkages are improved between the front and rear.”
Source: Duchy of Lancaster
92 – 94 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London W12 8LR
Woolworths opened in Shepherd’s Bush in West London in 1925. I spent a long time looking for a photo of the Woolworths, but it was very hard, as Uxbridge Road is a very long road that goes through many towns. I finally found a photo but the store is obscured by a bus! You can see upper floors, where the arrow is pointing on the photo.
The store closed in 1984 and has been a Superdrug ever since.
Source: Forgotten London Woolworths
329-333 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TJ
Woolworths opened in Kentish Town in North West London in 1924, on Kentish Town Road. It was located directly across the road from Kentish Town Train and Underground Station.
Here is an extract from the Camden News with a memory from a customer who remembers it from her childhood:
“We used to get a ha’penny and I used to get a bag of broken biscuits – me and my brother would share them,” said Mrs Govier, from Haverstock Hill. “That was 80 years ago.”
Mrs Govier, who was looking for a bargain in the stripped aisles, said she has shopped at Woolies every week for most of her life but hadn’t been able to visit recently and was shocked at the state of the store.
“It’s sad,” said Mrs Govier of the store, which has been a permanent fixture in her life. “If you wanted anything they sell it. You want knitting needles, cards, cotton, sweets or paint – you always spend more than you want to when you come in.”
Mrs Govier, Age 83 at 31/12/08, Camden News
Apparently in 1999 this Woolworths had a £1 million makeover. Less that 10 years later the store was to close.
It closed in December 2008. In August 2009 a Sainsbury’s Local opened here, which still trades today. It is one that I visited many times when I worked down the road from here. There is actually no remnants at all of it being a Woolworths!
20 – 21 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 0BU
Woolworths opened their 175th store in London on Tottenham Court Road, as known as Bloomsbury. The building was designed by an outside architect called Peter Dollar.
In the 1970s there was a huge redevelopment scheme of Tottenham Court Road, and the buildings, including Woolworths, were demolished and replaced by a large office block and retail development. Below is a photo of the store after it had closed and ready from demolishment. There are some great photos of Tottenham Court Road before the redevelopment here.
The Woolworths store was where the Hi Fi/Sony Centre and the Samsung Centre are today.
Source: Soult G.
8 – 13 High Holborn, London WC1V 6DT
In 1924 Woolworths opened their next Central London store in Holborn. It was a new building designed by Constantine & Vernon, the location being on High Holborn on the junction of Grey’s Inn Road, by Chancery Lane tube station.
High Holborn Woolworths 1925
The shopfront was interrupted by the entrance to the upper-floor showrooms and offices of Morton Sundour Fabric Ltd and W.T. Copeland & Sons Spode China. I’m assuming they were numbers 14 – 18 High Holborn.
On the 8th May 1940 the building was hit during WW2, and the top floor was hit. This photo shows the aftermath with glass and rubble scattered on the pavement.
After the war ended, a new store was erected with a curtain-wall facade. It was L-shaped, with a back entrance on Grays Inn Road.
Source: Roll the Dice
David Bray worked at the store in the 1970s. He remembers one night he got an alarm call out… a bomb had exploded in the Natwest entrance directly opposite the store and taken out the windows. He had to sit there all night waiting for it to be boarded up.
In June 1986 the store closed and the building’s upper floors had a change of use to residential flats. The building was reclad in bricks. The Woolworths store itself was split into 3 units. On the High Holborn side there is Dorothy Perkins and Holland and Barratt.
Source: Soult G.
On the Grey’s Inn Road side, the unit is occupied by Argos and it is on this side that you can see evidence of it being a Woolworths with the black at the bottom.
Sources – Historic England and Woolworths 100 Years on the High Street by K. Morrison
201 – 207 Kensington High Street, London W8 6BA
In 1924 Woolworths opened in another prominent London location – High Street Kensington. The purpose-built building had a large cinema frontage finished in glazed cream marble brickwork.
From 1954 the Kensington regional offices were on the upper floors.
Woolworths moved from numbers 201 – 207 and relocated along the high street in the 1960s. Today the building has been split into three retail units.
54 – 60 Kensington High Street, London W8 4QZ
In the 1960s, Woolworths moved to 54 – 60 Kensington High Street, to premises formerly occupied by Barker’s.
Source: The Library Time Machine
The store closed in 1984 along with the Oxford Street branches. Today you will find Uniqlo and Zara in its place.
311 Oxford Street, London W1R 2EA
Woolworths finally made its first move into the West End of London in 1924. It was a direct challenge to Selfridge’s bargain basement, and positioned on the south side of Oxford Street – the less desirable side – opposite John Lewis and some distance to the east of Selfridges.
The building was designed in 1923 and completed in 1925 when the upper floor office suites were advertised for rent. Some of the offices were used by Woolworths as their regional Metropolitan office. The building closely resembled the new Liverpool Church Street store but the central feature was sub-divided. (Source: Woolworth’s 100 years on the High Street ; K. Morrison).
Source: The Guardian
The store included a big restaurant in the basement, a dedicated food hall with wines and spirits on the first floor and a huge range of toiletries, tourist items and jewellery on the ground salesfloor.
Source: Historic England
Source: Soult G.
In 1984 the store was sold when Kingfisher took over, with the aim to raise funds. Since then the building has been occupied by Burton, Tesco and Waterstones.
Today it is a Uniqlo store, and if you look up, you can see the original Woolworths architecture, and it looks like the upper floors are now retail floors with some colourful lighting effects. Looks good.
100-104 High Road, Kilburn, London NW6 4HX
The 150th Woolworths store to open was Kilburn in North London, in 1923. I can’t find any photos of the exterior from the early days, but there is this one of the inside from the 1930s, showing a spectacular spring bulbs display.
This photo shows the inside in the 1960s, a very busy store showing the Woolworths girls each in charge of their counters.
Source: Museum of London
Kilburn Woolworths traded from the High Road all the way to the end, and apparently had wooden floors for the longest time out of all the Woolworths stores. It finally closed in December 2008.
Today you will find Iceland in its place.
612-614a Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7DL
One of the early London stores, this one opened in 1923 in the Bakers Arms district on Lea Bridge Road, with a striking Art Deco facade. It was an L-Shaped store with the main entrance on Lea Bridge Road, and a smaller side entrance on the High Road.
In these photos taken in 1939, the windows had been neatly taped up for safety, to prepare for the war. As a result, both frontages stayed intact during the blitz.
Somewhere along the line you can see the Woolworth fascia got a sixties makeover, just looking at the typeface used.
Above three photos – source: Historic England
In the 2000s, this was one of the stores chosen to be a general store, and had it’s store number renamed from 129 to 2024.
Source: Lock, D.
Then it was tranformed back to a normal Woolworths until its closure in December 2008.
Today the main part of the building is an Iceland, and it is pleasing to see the Art Deco facade remains.
Source: London Postcode Walks
The High Road side entrance is now a Greggs.
Source: All in London
72/76 High Street North, East Ham London E6 2JL
Originally Woolworths opened in East Ham in the 1920s at 193 High Street. It can be seen in this photo opposite the Palace Theatre.
Source: The Newham Story Forums
East Ham was bombed severely in WW2, and the Woolworths was flattened on September 7th 1940 (Source: The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940, by Peter Stansky)
The store was rebuilt at 72-26 High Street North on the corner of Skeffington Road, and this is what it looked like.
Source: bowroaduk, Flickr
This was my friend Ruksana’s local store from her childhood. She remembers it being a long store and her mum always buying her kitchenware from here, in particular Tefal. The store closed on 30th December 2008.
Shortly after it closed, Poundland took over the premises. This was one of 4 Poundlands that cut their prices to 97p in 2013 to undercut the many poundshops on the High Street! Today it is back to £1, as I popped in there to buy some chocolates. It definitely still has a Woolworths feel to it.
The original Woolworths which was at 193 High Street opposite East Ham station and the Palace (which became C&A, today a Lidl) is now Sports Direct.
240 – 244 Green Lanes, Palmer’s Green, London N13 5TU
Woolworths opened in Green Lanes in Palmer’s Green, North London, in 1922. Green Lanes is an ancient route running from Stoke Newington to Enfield, running through quite a few North London neighbourhoods, each with their own shopping area. It was a good choice to put a Woolworths store here.
In the February 2000, Palmer’s Green became a pilot ‘General Store’ and was renumbered ‘2000’.
The ‘General Stores’ concept had actually been developed 15 years earlier, in 1985. It came alive in the year 2000, with the conversion of a few Woolworths stores to become convenience stores, selling food, health and beauty, having a pharmacy as well as photo processing, faxing and photocopying services.
I actually visited this store – I was at university and living in a student house in the area, and I remember walking into the store and feeling very disappointed. This was not a Woolworths!! Gone were the departments you would expect in a Woolworths, and instead were these tiny offerings. A bit of food, a bit of makeup. It looked very sparse.
The trial was called off in July 2002, as ‘at the end of the day, customers do not want to buy food from Woolworths’. All 22 general stores went back to being traditional Woolworths, but they did not bother to change the fascias back.
This Woolworths closed down for good in December 2008, and today it is an Iceland.
263 – 277 High Street, Hounslow, Middx
Woolworths opened on Hounslow High Street in 1921. Sadly this store got completely destroyed in WWII.
Source: Woolworths Museum
Woolworths opened as a temporary store at 263 High Street in 1949. It is pictured here as a self-service supermarket – it may have been converted to this when a new Woolworths store opened at 269-270 High Street in 1959.
Source: Historic England
The lasting solution for Woolworths was to introduce food market departments to their traditional stores, so the two stores merged to become a huge store at 263 – 277 High Street.
In 1984 this branch became a prototype ‘Operation Facelift’ store, with geranium red walls and fixtures, wider shopping aisles, new wall signage, full lighting and perimeter cash desks.
In 1987 the Treaty Shopping Centre opened and Woolworths backed onto this shopping centre.
In 1991 the store was extended and refitted as a ‘store of the future’ with touch-screen ordering kiosks, and a new style cafe called ‘The Cafe’. It was given a new store number of 1186 at this point.
Robert Baker was the manager of Hounslow Woolworths at the time the store was converted to a 10/10 store in the 2000s, and he had a great team working there right up to the end in December 2008.
The building became part of a huge redevelopment scheme – it was taken down and completely rebuilt to become a very modern looking H&M and Next.
Source: Quidnet Capital Partners
36 – 40 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, London E8 2JR
Woolworths originally opened on Kingsland High Street in Dalston in 1921 at numbers 64 – 66. They traded here until the late 1960s (see below on the right).
Source: Hackney Council
This is now a Poundland and vape shop.
In the late 1960s, Woolworths moved along the road to numbers 36-40, directly opposite the train station. The building was a former theatrical store, but this was demolished to create a purpose-built Woolworths store. Although there are no photos of the store, you can recognised the style from this photo of the building today. Closing date is unknown, I am guessing the 1980s but I could be wrong. Today you will find a Hair & Cosmetics shop and a McDonalds.
Source: Loving Dalston
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.
356 – 362 High Road, Chiswick, London W4 5TE
Woolworths opened in Chiswick, West London, in 1920 on the High Road on the site of the former Palais cinema. The store traded here for nearly 90 years. In the 80s it became a Heartland store, and in the early 2000s it became a General store and was renumbered 2021. My husband was a trainee manager at the time and he said it did terribly, as it was directly opposite an M&S Simply Food. With Chiswick being a posh area, customers simply would not choose Woolworths over M&S to buy their bread and milk.
It was also the store where a man just strolled in and stole 4 microwaves that were stacked by the entrance. On checking the CCTV, they saw that he looked around, picked up the microwaves, walked out and just loaded them into the boot of his car. It does sound quite amusing now.
In June 2008 it was announced that Woolworths were selling the leaseholds of 4 London stores – Chiswick, Angel, Clapham Junction and Edgware Road – to Waitrose for £25.5m. So the store closed in the summer of 2008 and became a Waitrose.
106 – 112 High Street, Acton, London W3 6RH
Woolworths opened on Acton High Street in West London on 31st July 1920. It wasn’t a purpose-built store as the architecture is uniform along the High Street. The store was extended on 14th February 1931, and then modernised in July 1937.
Nearly three decades late, the store was modernised in April 1964. Two years later there was further extension in December 1966, and in August 1978 the store was modernised again.
It was cut down in March 1986, with the unit sublet by Chartwell Land.
There are no photos of the store, but it did exist as my other half remembers shopping there in the 1990s. Acton Woolworths finally closed on 12th June 1993.
Today the building is occupied by the Belvedere pub.
With thanks to Graham Hill for supplying the dates.
The next store has already been written about:
352 – 356 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4OW
The 86th Woolworths store opened in Stratford in East London in 1920. You can see it below on the far right.
Source: The Newham Story
The store is on the 1972 list with it’s High Street address. In 1974 the Stratford Shopping Centre was built, and Woolworths moved into there at some point.
Today the High Street building does not exist, as most of the High Street has been demolished for regeneration over the years. I think they are building flats there now . The nearest surviving building is The Builders Arm pub at number 302.
43-44 The Mall, Stratford Centre E15
Woolworths traded at its new location in the Stratford Centre, and unusually the store kept it’s store number 86. It traded until the chain’s closure in 2008. Who knows if it would have survived anyway with neighbouring Westfield Stratford opening.
Source: Diamond Geezer
Today the unit is occupied by Poundland.