6 Grand Parade, High Street, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1BU
Woolworths opened on the High Street in Crawley on 26th July 1940. It was the last store in the chain to open for another 6 years, due to World War 2. Below you can see it’s the building with the awning and a car parked in front of it. The Woolworth architects had designed an upper balcony and a small turret on the roof.
Source: Grandma P’s Ramblings
This store closed in 1957 when they moved to the ‘new town’. The building was subsequently occupied by a Halifax branch, and today it is a Wetherspoons pub – The Jubilee Oak. The building has not changed at all.
17-19 Queens Square, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1EA
In the 1950s, Crawley was designated as a ‘new town’ by the government due to it’s rapidly expanding population. Woolworths moved from it’s small High St store to Queens Square where it opened as the largest self-service store of the 1950s.
Here is an extract from the Woolworths Museum:
“In 1957 Woolworth bosses went a step further, opening a much larger self-service store in Crawley New Town. A small store in the High Street was replaced by a much larger branch in nearby Queen’s Square. Executives hoped that a halo effect from the marketing of the new town, which portrayed it as ultra-modern, would help to break down customer resistance to the new format. The store layout included a number of new display ideas, with fully redesigned fixtures and fittings. For the first time gondola islands were used, with shelving from top to bottom, without understocks cupboards at the base. This style of shelving remains the standard for most retailers in the twenty-first century. At the time it was a first and proved quite controversial. Some customers complained that they had to stoop to pick up items on the bottom two shelves, while company bosses worried that the stock cost to fill the Crawley store was almost double the level of a comparable personal-service store. Despite the reservations of some older customers, the overall feedback from the Crawley shoppers was positive. Most liked the layout and thought the store was very up-to-date.”
Now here’s something random. You can buy a 252 piece jigsaw puzzle of the Crawley Woolworths 1950s store front from Amazon here. Shipped from America. Weird!
Here you can see it in 1971, looking a bit shabby after 14 years.
Source: Flickr, JR James Archive
Another random fact, Chico did an instore signing of his single D.I.S.C.O in Crawley Woolworths in August 2006.
Here is the store in 2008, before it closed later that year.
Today the building is occupied by Poundland. It was planned to demolish the building in 2013 as part of the Queens Square regeneration, but it is staying put and the actual square is being renovated now.
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven
18-20 London Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 1QA
Woolworths opened in the seaside town of Bognor Regis in 1928. I have found an undated postcard below of London Road and it looks as though the tall building in the centre, left side, is the F.W.Woolworth store.
The store had a 1950s makeover, but then in 1974 the store was set on fire when there was an IRA bomb. Woolworths would not be beaten and just 65 hours later the store reopened.
Source: Bognor Regis Museum
There’s not much info on the store, apart from its closure in December 2008.
Source: Flickr, Mark
Wilkos now occupy the building, and you can clearly recognise it as the upper facade is exactly the same – a bit of Woolies architecture still on the London Road.
Source: Flickr, ballysundriven
97-101 Terminus Road, Eastbourne, Sussex
In the 1920s, Woolworth’s headquarters in London would receive nomination letters every day, suggesting a town where the chain should open. One of those towns was Eastbourne, for which the architects created a rather grand design. The store opened in 1924 on Terminus Road.
This photo was taken in the 1950s – we can tell by the number plate on the bus. In 1955, a second Woolworths store opened in Eastbourne in the old Regal Cinema building at 143 Seaside (Store 849) – I’ll cover that store in a separate blog post.
Source: Godfrey G., Flickr
According to locals on The History of Eastbourne Facebook page, the back doors opened up on to Tideswell Road. There used to be an alley that ran along the left side of the store to this road. In 1980, the Arndale Shopping centre was built behind the shops on Terminus Road, and the back of the Woolworths store was knocked through to the new shopping centre.
Eastbourne Woolworths is not on the 2008 store list, so it closed before the company went into administration.
Today the building is occupied by Poundland at 97-99, and Thomas Cook is at 101.
Source: Fawcett Mead
10/11 Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex TN37 6EA
There once was a Woolworths store at St Leonards-on-Sea, down the road from Hastings. It opened in the 1950s on Kings Road, quite close to St Leonards Warrior Square train station. It is on the right of the below photo – the building with the narrow arched windows.
Source: deslan, Flickr
I don’t know when it closed, but it wasn’t on the 2008 store list. Today the building is occupied by Kings Road Bazaar – quite appropriate as you could say Woolworths was sort of a bazaar of its own.
Source: Local Data Search
27/31 London Road, Brighton, Sussex BN1 4LE
Woolworths opened their second store in Brighton on 29th October 1927 at 1-2 London Road, on the corner of Cheapside. This branch was nearer to the two railway stations, whereas Store 73 was closer to the seafront.
On 8th June 1934, the store was extended, it looks like into the roof, and possibly to the rear.
Source: Brighton and Hove City Council
In 1965 Woolworths left the premises at 1-2 London Road. Sainsbury’s, who were next door at No.3, took it over to become a larger self-service supermarket at 1-4. What I find interesting it that with all the alterations, they kept the 3 little roof windows in the style of the original Woolworths store. They traded here until 28th February 2007.
Source: Pipes, Alan (Fred)
More recently Aldi started trading from here, from 19th March 2009.
Source: Pipes, Alan (Fred)
In 1965 Woolworths relocated up the road to 27-31, a larger Art Deco building (a former department store called Roslings) with 3 floors. From the below photo it looks as though Woolworths bought the shop next door as well as Roslings, and then recreated the Art Deco front on the other side.
Woolworths traded at 27 -31 from 28th May 1965. In the basement they sold haberdashery, paint, gardening, household, DIY and toys. The ground floor sold food, soap powder, confectionery, records, butchery and deli produce and there was a long tea bar at the back of the store. Upstairs was the staff canteen with separate seating area for men and women. Some workers say there was a lady ghost wearing the uniform of Roslings. (Source: Clarkson, Paul – Working at Woolworths in the 1970s)
Source: Mould, Tony
The store was re-modernised in the 1980s, and then there was an arson fire in the basement in 1987 – so they had to close temporarily. The basement was never reopened, with the stairs covered up with a large display.
Woolworths London Road closed on 30th December 2008. 99p Stores took over the premises and opened nearly a year later on 19th November 2009. Here it is – would look really good if they re-painted the Art Deco front, it is looking rather grubby!
49/51 Church Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex RH15 9BH
Woolworths arrived in Burgess Hill in September 1955 on Church Road (now Church Walk).
Source: Francis Frith
It was one of the later branches to be opened, as you can tell from the store number, and it looks as though it was medium sized from the photo above. I spoke to Burgess Hill local Robert who remembers the store from his childhood, in particular the pic n mix!
The store didn’t last long though, closing just under 30 years later on 15th September 1984. Perhap it was one of the low performing stores, or it was one of the casualties of the Kingfisher takeover when they closed several stores down to gain capital.
The building was later split into two and occupied by Sussex Stationers and Currys. In 2012 they had both closed down.
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered
In April 2012, a Wetherspoon pub opened here, after a £1.4 million makeover. During the makeover, the ghost of Woolworths past was revealed!
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered
The pub is called The Six Gold Martlets – here it is, alongside the shiny new Subway, from when I visited Burgess Hill last weekend. I knew it was a Woolworths 😛
181-185 Western Road, Brighton BN1 2BG
One of the very early Woolworths stores, the Brighton branch opened in Western Road on 5th August 1916. It was joined by two further Brighton stores in London Road and St James Street in 1927.
In 1968 the store was modernised and reduced in size, with the right side being sold to Clinton Cards. Below is the store in 2004, a year when Geri Halliwell visited one November evening to meet hundreds of fans, many of whom had been queuing since lunchtime.
This store became a 10/10 new format store in the 2000s, before closing for good on 30 December 2008.
The building didn’t stay empty for long, in April 2009 H&M announced they would be moving in.
Here it is from when we did a seaside trip in September 2014. Clinton Cards closed down in 2012, so H&M extended over their site, and the building is whole again just like the original Woolworths store in 1916 🙂