269 – 271 Station Road, Harrow, Middx HA1 2TF
Woolworths opened in Harrow in 1930 on Station Road. It was purpose-built store, slightly larger than the usual with three entrances, and with a central pediment.
In 1989 the store had a full refurbishment and there was a grand reopening according to former deputy manager Stuart Kew, who has written a blog called Forgotten London Woolworths.
Source: Kew, S.
They traded here for 66 years. The store closed in 1996 as Woolworths moved into a much larger two-floor flagship unit in the new St Georges Shopping Centre, with a new store number of 1198.
Source: Kew, S.
After the store closed in April 1996, Yates took over the building. Today it is occupied by a pub called The Harrow, but look up and you will still recognise the Woolworths architecture (just not the windows).
157/158 High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1JY
My local Woolies in Uxbridge opened in July 1929 at 158 High Street. It was a small purpose-built two-storey store, with the classic architecture on the upper floor (see in the below photo on the left).
Here is a postcard from the opening day in July 1929, announcing the new arrival to Uxbridge High Street. With opening offers and extra value – household, sweets, toys, jewellery, hobbies and more.
“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.” [Extract from Woolworths Museum]
In the late 1940s/early 1950s, the Woolworths store was redeveloped to create a much larger store. It was probably done at the same time as when Suters store next door (aka Coad’s) was rebuilt, and the creation of the new bus depot behind the stores that led into the new Uxbridge Underground station side entrance. Both stores had back entrances from the bus depot through to the shop floor.
The two below photos are from the Philip Suter website, which is quite fascinating to read. Woolworths is the building in the middle right of this photo, next to Suters – you can see the WOOLWORTH letters along the top of the building.
The below photo shows the back of the store, Woolworths in the centre with the seven windows in a row. Behind the stores in the bus depot and behind that is Suters customer car park.
I have read that there was a small cafe at the rear of Woolworths that served the most amazing milkshakes.
Source: Uxbridge From Old Photographs – Pearce, K.
In the mid-1980s, Uxbridge Woolworths became a “prototype store called ‘Woolworths Weekend’. Initially this had a refrigerated display of Belgian Chocolates, which was manned throughout the day. It can be seen just inside the doors in the below photo. While the counter and service-cost proved too high for roll-out, once packaged the chocolates became a best-sellers in every store. The styling and range of the store, without the Weekend suffix to the name, became the template for 180 larger branches right across the UK, and proved a winner.” [Extract from Woolworths Museum]
Note the peppermint blue window frames and door panels.
Source: Chenneour E.
The ‘Weekend’ suffix was dropped not long after, and it became the Woolworths that I remember in the 1990s/2000s. Whenever I went to Uxbridge by bus, the bus stop was directly outside Woolworths back entrance, so it was a good shortcut to walk through Woolworths to the High Street. Confectionery and Pic n Mix was at the front (right side), and I think music was on the left side. Cards were in the middle of the store. Kids clothing, toys, electricals and homeware were from the middle through to the back, with DIY being directly behind the rear staircase that led to the bus station. There were photo booths at the top fo the stairs, and I vaguely remember one of those old fashioned weighing scales. Tills were on random island counters around the store.
Around 2005, Uxbridge Woolworths became a 10/10 store and had this trial blue fascia installed. I hated it so much. Woolworths should have always been in upper case letters. Inside the red walkway was put on and lots of colourful signage. Aisles was put at diagonal angles.
I took these photos when the store was closing in December 2008.
It soon became Poundland – and today it has a huge Pep & Co clothing department exactly where Ladybird clothing used to be. They kept the Woolies door and window frames and painted them green.
Next time I am in Uxbridge, I will take a photo, but if you look closely at the top of the ‘skyscraper’ bit of the building, you can still see the imprint of the WOOLWORTH letters.
18 – 22 King Street, Twickenham, Middlesex
Woolworths opened in Twickenham in 1928. It was a large 2-storey purpose-built store.
In the late 1990s it was chosen to be a General Store, and the store was renumbered to 2018. My husband was transferred there for a week from the Greenford store, when Twickenham opened as a General Store – they brought in staff from existing general stores to help set up. He remembers it was a long store, possibly L-shaped he sort of remembers.
General Stores were turned back into normal Woolworths stores in the early 2000s, but Twickenham kept their General Store sign right up until the end in December 2008. Then it became some sort of Clearance Store for smoke-damaged furniture, but today it is a Poundland.
95/103 High Street, Staines, Middlesex
Woolworths opened at 101-103 Staines High Street in 1926, 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.
In April 2003, Staines Woolworths was converted to a 10/10 store, and former assistant manager Peter Mitchell has kindly sent me lots of photos from the opening morning and from when they were setting it all up. Here are a few of them – get ready for a trip down memory lane…
From what I remember at head office, 10/10 was all about making shopping easier, the bright red walkways leading you to the different departments, the rows being at angles to give a sense of the store being bigger I think… And bright blue backgrounds for the department signage, that was noticeably bigger too. Yellow on the walls behind Entertainment. Bright, primary colours as they were going for Kids and Celebrations, target customer being a mum called Debbie who had two kids. That’s vaguely what these photos are making me remember, but I’m sure there was more to it.
The store lasted until the end, and closed 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!”