163/165 High Road, Balham, London SW12 9BG
Woolworths opened on Balham High Road in 1928. It took over the premises two doors down from Barclays Bank, which you can see in the below 1915 postcard.
Source: Wandsworth Heritage Service
It was a very successful store, winning a regional window-dressing contest in the 1930s. Woolworths used to sell individual feathers for 3p each, as accessories for hats and gowns. The window dresser created a bird out of these feathers for the winning display:
Source: Woolworths Museum
In 1940 during WW2, a bomb hit Balham High Road in front of the Woolworths store, hitting the Northern Line Tube Station platform below. A bus crashed into the crater. Here is a photo of the bus being lifted out – behind the bus would have been where the Woolworth store was.
Source: Feeling My Age
Below is a great photo from 1974, showing Woolworths with it’s 70s fascia. This shopping parade is quite unique as it appears to have houses above each store to the rear.
In 2000, the store was one of the first to be converted to a Woolworths General Store, which offered a pharmacy, health & beauty products, general merchandise and convenience food. Balham was a pilot, renumbered to store 2002, with a Superdrug pharmacy moving instore. The General Store format didn’t do well, and it went back to a normal Woolworths store some years later, before becoming a 10/10 store.
A more recent photo, this is shortly before Woolworths closed on 5th January 2009, window displays not looking as great as they did in the 1930s.
Source: hugovk, Flickr
That same year, a 99p store opened in its place.
They were taken over by Poundland.
More recently (in 2019), the store has become the first ‘Aldi Local’ in the UK – it’s a smaller style Aldi that doesn’t have the middle aisle!
This post was originally written in 2015.
7-11 Chrisp Street, Poplar, London E14
Woolworths opened in Poplar, East London, in 1928. It was on Chrisp Street in a small purpose-built store. It had an unusual shopfront with square windows. By 1939 the store had been extended to the right.
The area was bombed heaving in WW2 as it was close to London’s docks. The shopfront survived but the upper floor must have been damaged and dismantled for safety. (Source: K. Morrison – Woolworth’s 100 Years on the High Street)
10 Vesey Path, Poplar, London E14
In the 1950s Woolworths moved to Vesey Path which was built parallel to Chrisp Street. It was in the Lansbury Estate that formed part of the ‘Live Architecture Exhibition’, built as part of the Festival of Britain 1951.
These photos have been supplied by Tony Cue. They were taken in 2006 when the store reopened after a 5/5 refit.
The store closed in December 2008 and it became an Iceland.
130 – 134 Rushey Green, Catford, London SE6 4HN
Woolworths opened in Catford in 1927, on Rushey Green. At some point it was extended to become a large L-shaped store, with a side entrance on Holbeach Road. From the front there was a coffee bar on the right as you walked in. The below photo was taken in the 1960s when a church service was taking place in front of the store. Look at the beautiful detailing on the windows.
In the 1960s, the store manager used to sit in a raised office at the back so he could see everyone. A former Saturday girl from that era remembers not being allowed pockets or boots “in case we put money in them. Our bags were checked before we left the shop as well. I think I worked on most counters for the princely sum of 16 shillings (80p) less 3d for NI. Hours were 9-6, no automatic tills, we had to work it all out ourselves. But for all that I thought I was rich!!”
Source: Hayzelden A.
The store closed down in 1985. Today the Rushey Green side is occupied by Specsavers and a betting shops. As for the Holbeach Road side, the back of the former Woolworths is part of ‘Catford Mews’. It looks like the back of the recently closed Poundland was the Woolworths side entrance.
Catford Former Woolworths
374 – 378 Green Street, London E13 9AP
Woolworths opened in Green Street, East London in 1927. Historically Green Street is the road that divides East Ham from West Ham. There isn’t much information the Woolworths store, but from the address we know it was very close to Upton Park tube station. Green Street was heavily bombed in WW2, but we have no information as to whether Woolworths was hit. From the style of the building today, we can guess there was a 1950s makeover.
The store closed in February 1994, and today it is Peacocks. But look up and you’ll see some Woolworths architecture.
435 – 441 High Road, Wembley, Middx HA9 7AE
Woolworths opened on Wembley High Road in 1927. It was a small store, quite close to Wembley Central tube station. At some point the store extended into the shop on its left – see below the unit that says ‘Woolworth’ in a strange typeface. You can see the original store saying F.W. Woolworth. It was on the corner with London Road.
In this photo you can see Woolworths on the right side, opposite M&S. The upper floor seems to have gone, so this photo may have been taken mid-makeover.
As you can see from the more recent photo, the store had a makeover with the familiar 1960s style upper floor, and the fascia/shopfront more uniform rather than looking like lots of shops put together.
In the 2000s the store was converted to a ‘General Store’ which included a pharmacy and a small food range. The store number was changed to 2027.
The store closed in December 2008 and became a 99p store. This then was taken over by Poundland – so now this Poundland directly faces the original Poundland that is in the old M&S building.
Source: Soult G.
740 – 742 High Road, North Finchley, London N12 9QD
Woolworths opened their 280th store in North Finchley in 1927. It was on the High Road, on a corner plot with Stanhope Road. They traded here until January 2009. From the style of the building we can guess there was a 1950s makeover.
Source: Addison M.
Today it is Poundland, where if you look closely you will recognise the Woolworths doors, tiles and black border.
133 – 135 Queen’s Crescent, Kentish Town, London NW5 4EG
Woolworths opened their second Kentish Town store in 1927. The first one was on Kentish Town Road (Store 176), opposite the tube station. This second one was on Queen’s Crescent, which is on the western side of Kentish Town, where one of London’s oldest street markets is held every week (read this article to get a idea of what the market was like). You can see the store below, second from the right.
The photo is from 1972 and shows an interesting ‘Woolworth’ fascia, and four entrance doors behind a central pillar, two windows to the sides. Sometime after this photo was taken in the 1970s, the store closed down. When they closed, the other Kentish Town Woolworths took the leftover stock to sell.
Today it is a Nisa Local (see below). You can recognise the upper floors from the 1970s photo, just with different windows. The shop on the right is looking rather sad and abandoned – just think that corner used to say “Try Thomsons soothing syrup for baby” You almost wish they hadn’t painted over it. The lovely windows have also gone.
Source: Google Maps
If you are a Kentish Town local, next time you pop into Nisa Local on Queen’s Crescent, now you know it was a Woolworths.
143 – 151 High Street, Penge, London SE20 7DG
Woolworths opened in Penge, an ancient settlement in South East London from before Domesday, in 1927. At first it was a small store, you can see it in the centre on this photo.
Penge was heavily bombed in the Second World War, but there’s no record of Woolworths being hit. They did enlarge the store though, extending into the building on the left side. The new bigger store had the typical Woolworths look, which you can see in this 1960s photo.
Source: Francis Frith
I don’t have a photo of the store in the 1980s, but even better, I found a video! This is pretty amazing to watch – somebody filmed themselves walking through Penge Woolworths in 1988. You can see the doors, the tills, all the products and brands, shelves, rollcages – literally come to life as you watch it. Thank you to the person who randomly decided to film this in 1988.
The store lasted until the end in December 2008, as did the retro doors.
It became a 99p store, and they changed the doors – sad times. Today it is Poundland, as they took over the 99p stores across the country.
456 – 460 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 9JD
Woolworths opened in Tottenham, North London, in 1927. It was on the High Road, near to Bruce Grove railway station. The store was purpose-built with an art deco facade, and next to it was Burton also with an art deco facade. It was also close to Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer in the early days.
Source: Tottenham Memories
Tottenham Woolworths was one of the casualties of the Kingfisher takeover and was closed down in June 1986. Today it is Peacocks, and although it looks like a different building because of the brick, it is actually the original building. The tiles from the art deco facade have been taken off, but if you look at the side of the building, you can see the tiles have been left there for some reason.
Here is a front angle of the former Woolworths.
186 – 188 Southwark Park Road, London SE16 3RP
Woolworths opened their 255th store in Bermondsey, South East London. It was on Southwark Park Road, and although I can’t find an early photo, this is a photo of the shopping area of the road in the 1950s. The Woolworths store may be the store sticking out on the right.
Graham Scott was the assistant manager in the early 90s. He remembers “it had the worst shrinkage in the south east at the time. It also had rats from the Thames and a ghost in the stockroom (I never saw the ghost only the rats!) Great store. I loved it!!”
Robert Baker remembers “certain staff always had lunch at 1pm so they could sit down and watch the program Neighbours on the TV.”
This photo is from Google Maps, taken in July 2008. The poster at the front says “£20 million summer clear out” – just 5 months before fate was to hit all Woolworths stores across the country.
Source: Google Maps
The store lasted until the end when the chain went bust in December 2008.
Today Tesco Express is in the building. They have changed the layout of the front windows and doors completely, but the top half is as it was.
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 1950s/60s 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
EDIT: This post was originally written in November 2014, and it was indeed the store that inspired the creation of this blog.
96 – 100 The Broadway, West Ealing, London W13 0TD
Woolworths opened in West Ealing in 1926. It was originally at 77 – 83 Broadway and was huge! An early superstore from the looks of it, and very modern from the glass windows on the first floor. The window displays look lovely, as do the curtain pelmets.
Some years later the store moved across the road to numbers 96 -100 in a purpose-built store with a grand Art Deco facade.
As you can see, it was a large building, with the left unit let out to another shop. It was next to British Home Stores and opposite Boots.
In the 1990s, this was my husband’s local store as he lived around the corner. He remembers, “I bought my first album from this store. It was Vanilla Ice – To The Extreme. I still have the CD. It was exciting buying my first CD. In those days you had to take the fake album case to the counter to exchange it for the actual CD. I also bought Snow – Informer from there on cassette single.”
In the late 1990s, my husband worked at the Greenford store, but he was sometimes sent to other stores in the district to sort out stockrooms and cover assistant managers. He was sent to West Ealing a couple of times. He remembers the store was L-shaped and the stockroom was upstairs with a lift. It was L-shaped because the right side which was Superdrug used to be part of Woolworths. So the store opened up behind Superdrug. The stock yard was shared with them too.
Mark Ward worked in West Ealing Woolworths three times – once on a refurb into a Heartland store in 1997, then as a Team leader for a year in 2000, and finally to help with its transformation to a 10/10 store around 2005. He says the store was much wider originally before half was given up to Superdrug. It had a front and rear entrance though at some point due to high theft levels the rear entrance was closed and turned into a garden centre instead! It was also the base for the area manager and area secretary for many years.
My personal memory of West Ealing Woolworths is buying my toy penguin from here. It was 2005/6 and we were in the Sainsbury’s opposite buying Tim Tam chocolates. You could see Woolworths from the alleyway out of Sainsbury’s. I saw the Madagascar penguins through the window of Woolworths, as they were on a front end with the DVD. I HAD to have that penguin, so we went in and bought it. I named him Henry the Penguin and he has been in many of my photos around the UK, and even a book!
West Ealing Woolworths lasted until the end, closing in December 2008. It became a Poundworld, but the future of the building is now a question mark.
This side of the road is to be turned into apartments and the old BHS next door has already been demolished. There was a petition in 2018 to save the Woolworths Art Deco facade. At the moment there is scaffolding around the building to protect the facade while the building behind is demolished. Whether they save the facade or not is still to be seen. Fingers crossed they do.
As for the original store at numbers 77 – 83 Broadway… it still exists!
17 – 19 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, London N4 1LA
Woolworths opened on Green Lanes in Harringay, North London, in 1926. It is a historic shopping area, but unfortunately I can’t find any photos of the store. We know it closed before 1995 but after 1972. From the address, we can see it is now Iceland, and from the style of the building we can guess there was a 1950s makeover. If anyone has any information on this Woolworths store, please do get in touch.
54 – 58 Church Street, Croydon CR0 1RB
Woolworths opened its second Croydon store in 1926. The first one was just down the road at North End (Store 3). The business must have been doing really well to justify opening a branch so close to the first store.
Source: Morrison K.
Church Street is an ancient, medieval road that does curve. There is a conservation plan to preserve the historic buildings. The plan has described the old Woolworths building as follows:
“The bend in Church Street is marked on the southern side by the sequence of early Georgian Grade II listed buildings at numbers 61-65 and on the northern side by the group of interwar neo-Georgian buildings at numbers 48-58. Numbers 48-52 have elaborate Classical style stonework window mouldings at first floor level. Its neighbour, numbers 54-58, has more Classical embellishment with a pediment, cornice, brick quoins and slender metal windows. The oversized fascia of the modern shopfront is particularly dominant to this group of buildings.”
The store closed at the end of 1972, when Woolworths started to consolidate stores where there were two branches in a town centre.
Poundstretcher is in the building today, and you can tell it was a Woolworths from the style of the building – the pediment and the lion head moulding that was added in, probably when the store was extended to the sides.
316 – 320 North End Road, Fulham, London SW6 1LT
The 220th Woolworths store opened in Fulham, London. It was on North End Road on the junction with Tournay Road.
This is actually going to be a very short post because I can’t find any photos or information on the store at all. It closed before 1995 as it is not on that store list. We can guess it closed in the 1980s with the rest of the Kingfisher closures.
Today Brighthouse and half of Poundland are at numbers 316 – 320 North End Road, so this is where the Woolworths store was. It wasn’t a purpose-built store, as you can see from the architecture, this is an existing parade of shops from pre-1920.
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