Category Archives: Northern Ireland

Ballymena – Store 212

12 – 16 Bridge Street, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Woolworths opened in Ballymena in Northern Ireland in 1926. I’m afraid there are no photos online of this store while it was open. But there is this article that talks about the store, written in December 2008: https://www.ballymenatimes.com/news/the-wonder-of-woolies-ballymena-1-1911305

“At the height of its popularity in the Swinging Sixties and Multi-Coloured Seventies, Woolworths was the filling in the sandwich which linked Harryville to the top of the town and was, quite simply, ‘the’ one store which made each and every family shopping trip in Ballymena complete.

Step inside and you were immediately greeted by counter after counter, fitted in wood of course, divided up into small glass-sided compartments filled to overflowing with all manner of items that no child or adult could resist. From chocolate bars, novelty candies, boiled sweets, broken biscuits and chocolates in one section to buttons, needles, threads and pins in another, the variety for which Woolworths is famed was rolled out from the front to the back of a store which could keep a shopper, of any age, busy for hours. From light bulbs to ironing boards, aftershave to hot roasted peanuts, pet food and even fishing rods, there was little that the Bridge Street store did not stock.

At a time when few of us had a camera to call or own and mobile phones were decades away from invention, it was Woolies that had the solution to our picture problems, housing just about the only photo booth in the town.

A love of Woolworths today, however, is for most of us borne out of those weekly childhood visits to the pick ‘n’ mix and that’s something that even the latest generation of Woolies customers can understand and agree on.

Few could disagree too that the closure of the Bridge Street shop took much of the life out of that once busy retail thoroughfare or that its forthcoming disappearance from the town altogether, in the absence of a buyer for the company, will be a sad loss to shoppers in the borough.”

Ballymena Former Bridge Street Woolworths

Source: Ballymena Times

This store closed in the 2000s and moved into the nearby shopping centre which had a new store number.

Today, from what I can gather on Google Maps, the building has been demolished and there is just land ready from redevelopment.

 

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Belfast North Street – Store 99

157 – 161 North Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 1NE

Woolworths opened their second Belfast store, Store 99, at 59 North Street in 1921. The first store was on the High Street (Store 59).

Belfast North Street Woolworths 1920s

Belfast North Street Woolworths 1920s

Source: The Irish News

Belfast North Street Woolworths 1930s

Belfast North Street Woolworths 1930s

Source: Belfast Forum

In 1956 they moved to the site of the Gaiety Cinema at 157  – 161 North Street. The old site became the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – well actually the building doesn’t exist, it would have been where the tree is in the below photo.

Belfast North Street Former Woolworths

Belfast North Street Former Woolworths

As for the new store, there are no photos online of numbers 157 – 161 as a Woolworths store, but you can clearly recognise the architecture of the building from the below photo. This was taken in 1998 when it was a Star Bingo Club, so the Woolworths store closed before this date.

Former Belfast North Street Woolworths - Star Bingo 1998

Former Belfast North Street Woolworths – Star Bingo 1998

Source: Cinema Treasures

Today it still is a Star Bingo, it looks the same as it did in 1998 but with a different fascia. The area around it has a lot of graffiti and looks run down, perhaps that was the reason Woolworths left.

 

Portadown – Store 93

35-36 High Street, Portadown, Northern Ireland

Woolworths opened Store 93 in 1921 in Portadown, Northern Ireland on the site of a store called Anderson & Co. You can see it below with the awning, the building with 3 first floor windows.

Portadown Woolworths 1940s

Portadown Woolworths 1940s

Source: Sprott Collection

The store was extended to the right and modernised – the building looks 1950s in style. Here you can see how it looked in the 1980s, this photo was taken during a bomb scare.

Portadown Woolworths 1980s

Portadown Woolworths 1980s

Source: Henry Clark

This store lasted until the end, closing when the chain went bust in December 2008.

Portadown Woolworths 2008

Portadown Woolworths 2008

Source: P Flannagan

Today the building is occupied by Peacocks.

Portadown Former Woolworths - Peacocks

Portadown Former Woolworths – Peacocks

Source: Eric Jones

Londonderry – Store 85

28 – 32 Ferryquay Street, Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Woolworths opened in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1920 at number 32 Ferryquay Street, taking over a Victorian building that was a furniture shop. You can see it on the far right in this photo.

Londonderry-Woolworths-1935

Londonderry Woolworths 1935

Source: Foyle Civic Trust

In this 1955 photo, you can see an Art Deco style facade has been added.

Londonderry Woolworths 1955

Londonderry Woolworths 1955

Source: Foyle Civic Trust

In the 1960s the site was redeveloped to make a purpose-built store, taking over numbers 28 and 30 also. The lettering on the fascia was large, similar to Bromley’s 1960s store.

Londonderry Woolworths 1960s

Londonderry Woolworths 1960s

Source: Pinterest

Woolworths trading from here right until the end in 2008.

Londonderry Woolworths 2008

Londonderry Woolworths 2008

Source: BBC

Today the building is occupied by Poundland.

 

Londonderry Former Woolworths-Poundland

Londonderry Former Woolworths-Poundland

Source: Kenneth Allen

Belfast – Store 59

11-15 High Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 2AJ

Woolworths opened their 59th store in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1915. It suffered serious damage in 1928 when the upper floor cafe caught fire. The building was rebuilt together with Burton’s store next door on a much grander scale – you can see below how they carried on trading in the old store with the building works around it.

Belfast Woolworths 1928

Belfast Woolworths 1928

Source: Historic England

Woolworths collaborated with Burton’s to erect a composite building with an Empire Stone facade, displaying both their names at the top. The architecture resembles Burton’s house style more than Woolworths. Woolworths’ L-shaped store wrapped around Burton’s corner site and had two entrances (1-15 High Street and 2-10 Cornmarket). Woolworths preferred mid-block positions sandwiched between other shops, whereas Burtons preferred corner sites – this made them ideal partners.

Belfast Woolworths 1928

Belfast Woolworths 1928

Source: Historic England

Belfast Woolworths 1930

Belfast Woolworths 1930

Source: Pinterest

In 1974 and 1976 the store was badly damaged by fire when devices exploded. Terrorist attacks were a problem for all Irish stores.

Belfast Woolworths 1978

Belfast Woolworths 1978

Here are some photos of the inside from 1978 – the bright red cash and wrap desk, and the furniture department below.

Belfast Woolworths 1978 (inside)

Belfast Woolworths 1978 (inside)

This furniture department is very similar to the one that cause the deadly fire at Manchester (Store 4).

Belfast Woolworths Furniture Department 1978

Belfast Woolworths Furniture Department 1978

Source: Historic England

Belfast Woolworths closed in 2003 after the landlord sold the building for redevelopment. 90 of the staff were transferred to other branches, but the majority were given redundancy packages.

Belfast Woolworths 1998

Belfast Woolworths 1998

Source: CAIN

The whole building was taken over by Dunnes, and here is how it looks today. You can still see ‘Burton’ in the stone at the top of the building.

Belfast Former Woolworths - Dunnes

Belfast Former Woolworths – Dunnes

Source: Bridge, A.