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
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
259a Caledonian Road, London N1 1EE
Another short post for you, this store opened in 1955. Very similar in style to the Shoreditch store that opened 2 years later. Today it is an Iceland store.
142/146 Hoxton Street, London N1 6SH
This is going to be the first of a few ‘short but sweet’ posts, as I find it fascinating that there were so many London Woolworths stores that we see day to day without realising. Here is the Shoreditch store, which opened in 1957. Hoxton Street was severely bombed in the Blitz, so many streets had to be rebuilt. Here it looks as though Woolworths purpose built this one in the late 50s. I don’t know when it closed, possibly in the 1980s. Today it is a Poundland.
142/146 High Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 7JL
One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened in the North London town of Stoke Newington in 1915. It was part of a parade of shops, not a specifically purpose-built store, and you can see it below through the decades looking relatively unchanged.
Source: Flickr, Hornbeam Arts
Source: Flickr, Hornbeam Arts
Photo from my Facebook group.
After Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008, Iceland bought the store in January 2009, where it is still trading today.
60/68 North End, Croydon CR9 1SL
The Croydon store was the 12th Woolworths store to open in the UK and the 4th London store. It was opened by Frank Woolworth himself on 4th May 1912 on North End, right at the heart of the town. He had visited and shortlisted Croydon earlier, noting that the South East London location was “fine, progressive and bustling”.
Source: Woolworths Museum
The store shared its premises with the local cinema, Pyke’s Cinematograph, which was a popular destination for Edwardian Croydon residents. Woolworths made the most of the opportunity, opening late to line up with films on the silver screen and offering popcorn, ice cream and many magazines and sheets of music associated with the movies. (Source: Croydon Guardian)
Source: Flickr, pepandtim
1n 1929, Woolworths tooks over the cinema building next door and extended to a larger store.
Source: Woolworths Museum
Then in 1968, it was further extended into the Whitgift shopping centre in to make it the large size most residents today will remember. This was the North End road entrance:
Source: Flickr, BRG2
And this was the new Whitgift Shopping Centre entrance:
Source: Seaton, P
The store in 1989:
Source: Flickr, BRG2
The final photo from December 2008, shared to my Facebook group just before it closed for good.
And the Whitgift entrance:
Today the building is occupied by H&M, but you can clearly recognise the building from the architecture above. Quite a historic building.
Source: Flickr, ballysundriven
18/28 Hare Street, Woolwich, London SE18 6ND
In 1911, the second London Woolworths store to open was in the South East – Woolwich. It opened on Hare Street, the area chosen for being very industrial. (Photo source: WoolworthsMuseum.co.uk)
Below are a series of photos of the Woolwich store through the decades.
Source: Chris Mansfield Photos
Source: Chris Mansfield Photos
Source: King, J A, Chris Mansfield Photos
In the 1980s, the new Woolworths management decided on a drastic disposal of stores to cut costs, and sadly Woolwich was one of the ones to go. It closed down in 1984.
Today the building is occupied by Primark. Boots is still next door, and that BHS is now a Peacocks store.
Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr
45 – 53 Putney High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SZ
One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened on Putney High Street sometime between 1914 – 1915. You can see it in the below photo – the fourth building along.
Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr
In the 1960s, they moved across the road. Today Robert Dyas and Boots are where the Woolworths used to be at 45 – 53.
Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr
60 – 62 High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SF
This was the new building, in classic 1960s style. They traded here at 60 – 62 High Street until they closed on 5th January 2009.
On 8th October 2009, a TK Maxx opened in its place.
Source: ballysundriven, Flickr
163/165 High Road, Balham, London SW12 9BG
Woolworths opened on Balham High Road in 1928. It took over the premises 2 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 moved instore. The General Store format didn’t do well, and it went back to a normal Woolworths store some years later.
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 it’s place. Here is a photo I took this month, with it’s new updated fascia (I don’t like it) and Barclays Bank still alive and thriving.
168-176 Edgware Road, London, W2 2DX
Woolworths opened on Edgware Road on 21st March 1914, the 30th store to be opened in the UK.
The above photo is from 100thbirthday.co.uk and is a “photo taken on a colleagues Woolworths sixpenny camera. It shows the funeral cortege of the late H.M. King George V passing the store front in 1935.”
The store was extended in 1936 to quite a large size and I’m guessing this is when the lovely Art Deco facade was added.
In 1986 it was one of the first comparison stores. Possibly this was when they extended into the shop next door on the right. As it was the closest store to Head Office, it often had trials taking place here.
In 2000 it became a Woolworths General Store, being one of the early pilots for this scheme, and was re-numbered to 2031.
Source: Barras, Jamie
Somewhere between 2007 and 2008, the powers that be decided to change the fascia back to the traditional red Woolworths one – a bit late as it stopped being a General Store long before 2008.
Then they decided to close the store anyway! This was in July 2008 when 4 London stores were chosen to stop trading, before the whole chain went bust at the end of the year. Here’s a picture I took just before it closed down.
Quite soon afterwards, Waitrose took over the building, so it wasn’t empty for long. Here it is last week when I was on my way to Oxford Street. Still got the Woolworths flagpole up, minus flag 😛
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.
809/813 Romford Road, London E12 6EA
Woolworths opened on Romford Road, Manor Park, in 1928. It was on the junction of Carlyle Road opposite Second Avenue. The store took over the premises of W.Laver, Weaver & Draper – here is a photo from 1915 before it became a Woolworths.
Thanks to former Manor Park resident Tony Quinlan, we have a beautiful 1962 photo of the building as a Woolworths. He reminisces, “I remember standing by my mum on the wooden floors that they had then, and not being tall enough to see what sweets she was buying me from the sweet counter! The girls behind each counter wore lovely uniforms.”
According to the Newham Story Forum, this building was occupied by House of Holland in the late 1960s, a shop that sold sun loungers and camping equipment. This means Woolworths left Romford Road quite soon after the above photo was taken. The 60s was when returns-per-store started falling. As there were 100 London Woolworth stores, I can guess this was one that they closed to consolidate – especially with the East Ham and Upton Park branches so close by.
Today the building is split into three, occupied by UAE Xchange, Top Hat Pizza and Ch Domestic Appliances – I took this photo from my car when I was stuck in traffic on the way to my good friend’s wedding 😛 I would never have guessed this was a Woolworths once upon a time. The trees have long gone, but if you compare it with the 1915 and 1960s photos, it is quite remarkable how the upper half of the building is unchanged, even the chimneys are still there.
Top 2 photos: Quinlan, Tony
Newham Story Forum
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
211/213 Portobello Road, London W11 1LX
Woolworths opened in Portobello Road, Notting Hill in 1928. The below photo from ‘The Library Time Machine’ shows the store in 1958.
In 1961, another Woolworths opened around the corner at Notting Hill Gate – store 1047. I will investigate this in a separate post, but I do wonder whether the two stores did compete with one another.
If you look above the Woolworths sign, the second window on the left is checked, which I assumed to be new. But if you look at the 1958 picture, it appears there also.
The freeholders wanted to demolish this building when the lease ran out in June 2008, but locals fiercely demonstrated against this (Source: http://www.standard.co.uk). Shame just 6 months later, it had to close anyway with the rest of them. This one closed on Saturday 27th December 2008.
I can happily report that the freeholders have kept the Victorian building, and it is now Poundland.
37-41 High Street, Harlesden NW10 4NH
“Number 3 of the London stores, 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 and http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/pages/0011Harlesden-1920s.htm)
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.
329-333 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2TJ
Above image from my Facebook group.
A little snippet from a loyal Kentish Town Woolies customer can be read here: http://www.thecnj.com/camden/2008/123108/news123108_07.html
415-417 BRIXTON ROAD, LONDON SW9 8HJ
Brixton was the first London store! Number 7 of the group, Frank Woolworth decided to open it at 415-417 Brixton Road, as Brixton was an affluent part of London (yes really) where society ladies liked to shop apparently. It did really well there, catching commuters on the way to the railway station . It’s now the O2 store surrounded by many other phone shops, all quite new as this was the Foot Locker store that got set on fire in the summer of 2011 when the kids went all crazy. A bit of history repeating itself as this Woolworths store got bombed during WW1.
THEN – 1910
NOW – 2014
457-461 BRIXTON ROAD, LONDON SW9 8HJ
As the lease at 415-417 was to run out after 25 years, the store was relocated to the other end of the street on 3rd September 1936 to 457-461 Brixton Road,where an iconic Art Deco building was created and still stands there today – minus Woolworth sign 😦
THEN – 1936
Source for 2003 and 2008 pic: http://www.urban75.org/london/goodbye-woolworths-brixton.html