95/103 High Street, Staines, Middlesex
Woolworths opened at 101-103 Staines High Street in the 1920s, next to the old White Lion pub, as you can see in the below 1950s photo. The pub was demolished in 1956 when the one-way road system was built.
This photo is from the 1960s, you can see Woolworths on the left next to the M&S clock.
Between the 1960s and the noughties I could find no photos. Somewhere between these decades, Woolworths expanded into the neighbouring building (no 95-99). The Elmsleigh Shopping Centre opened in 1980, so I can guess a back extension took place around then, as there was another entrance to the store inside the shopping centre. This made it a VERY big Woolworths. Here it is shortly before closing for good on 3rd January 2009.
Poundland opened soon after at 95-99 High Street, but the main building remained empty until the end of 2010, with it’s fascia still bright and shiny throughout this time.
Source: Sharville, Ruth
In 2010, H&M announced they would be moving into the Elmsleigh Shopping Centre on a 10 year lease. Below are photos I took on 31st December 2014, the buildings still looking remarkably the same as they did in the 1950s, just with new retailers inside.
96 High Street, Yiewsley, Middlesex UB7 7DX
Woolworths Yiewsley was built in the 1930s, back when it was a nice, friendly village.
Move forward to the 80s, Yiewsley was not one of the safer stores, with robberies happening quite frequently. Still, I’d been in there quite a few times with my mum, as I used to have swimming lessons round the corner, seemed alright to me. Ex-Wooworths employee Ganesh Jillah did his cash office training there. He says ‘Nice’.
Woolworths in Yiewsley was demolished along with it’s neighbouring shops Lily’s Florists, D J Jewellers and Gordon’s, to create new ‘luxury’ apartments. The 1868 historic building, including Clare Villas above the shops, was wiped off the map in 2010 when Taylor Wimpey created this new-build called “Essence’. It wasn’t wanted on the High Street by locals, I remember this, I was there! In fact there was a petition called “Don’t Destroy our High Street” with locals saying we’d have a 5-storey monstrosity. Well here is it…
Source: Google Street View
What is was supposed to look like:
53-55 Station Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4BE
I took the above photo from my car in December 2008.
48- 50 The Broadway, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9PT
“Opened as store #512 on 9 September 1933, it was later renumbered as #2023 in about 2000, at the point where it was converted to the new ‘Woolworths General Store’ format. Though that concept turned out to be shortlived, the store continued to trade – still under its General Store fascia – until Woolworths’ collapse.” Source: http://www.soultsretailview.co.uk
I spoke to ex-Greenford employee Ganesh Jillah, who worked there from 1995 – 2001, and took the below photo when it closed for good in 2008. He reminisced “I remember when we moved the entertainment counter from the left side to the right and then back to the left in all the store refits”. I said “What? How did you move a whole entertainment counter” He said “We was Woolworths. We coulda done anything. And we did.”
He also mentioned the presence of ghosts at Greenford. “One evening, me and Stewart were cashing up when we heard all the sound books go off, you know the kids books where you press a button and it makes a sound. And there was no one else in store, just me and Stewart”
I said “What, all of them?”
“Yes ALL of them. We thought we must be hearing things and carried on. Went upstairs, came back down to lock up, suddenly the books start going off again, and one flew off the shelf. We legged it!”
157/158 High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1JY
My local Woolies in Uxbridge opened in 1929 – here is an original opening postcard from the Woolworths Museum website. “Each store opening was spectacular. The celebrations featured an orchestra or a marching band, fireworks and even circus performers. Most storefronts were draped with flags and bunting to add to the razzamatazz. Bosses knew that a big launch would draw a huge crowd, and that many of the day’s visitors would later add a trip to the new FWW to their regular shopping habits.”
THEN – 1940s (it’s the building in the middle, next to Suters – you can see the WOOLWORTH letters along the top of the building) The 2 below photos are from the Philip Suter website, which is quite fascinating to read.
Above photo – Source: Ken Pearce, Uxbridge From Old Photographs
Below are photos I took when Woolies Uxbridge was closing in December 2008.
It soon became Poundland – quite a massive one too. They kept the Woolies door and window frames and painted them green.
NOW – 2014
My boy clearly upset that Woolworths is no more…