86 High Street, Prestatyn, Flintshire LL19 9BG
Woolworths opened in 1934 in Prestatyn, North Wales. It was a purpose-built store but with a more rectangular look that the other branches, with the central pediment being omitted.
Source: Thomas, H
Prestatyn Woolworths closed on the 2nd January 2009, after trading from this location for 74 years.
Source: Bennett, V
Today it is a Home Bargains store.
86 High Street, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 5RW
Woolworths opened in Pwllheli, North Wales, on the 7th July 1934. New stores were being opened every 17 days in the 1930s, with stores following a standard model – although builders boasted that they always added a few local twists. At Pwllheli there was the standard single storey store, red brick and a central pediment. It looks like it was a bit bigger than the other branches, as there were two windows in the middle. This staff photo is from the opening day.
Source: Woolworths Museum
Former employee Geoff Marriott remembers the store had a refit in Summer of 1977. He says, “Anita Harris opened the store. I was a trainee in Barmouth for Summer season and worked at the store for week. Did last till the end 1974 to 2009.”
The store was updated to the Woolworths Local format in the later years. Woolworths traded from this location for 74 years, closing in January 2009.
Source: Daily Post
It became a branch of The Original Factory Shop, but you can clearly see the Woolworths features of the building.
30 High Street, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 3AA
Woolworths opened in the former mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales, in 1933. I don’t know if there was ever an upper floor, but in this photo we can see it was on floor only, and a small store. They traded here for 60 years.
Source: Twitter @gingergavino
The store closed in May 1993, and became a carpet store called Lewis’s. You can see they kept the Woolworths store front, with the recognisable doors and tiles. This store has since closed down.
9 – 11 High Street, Holywell, Clwyd CH8 7LA
Woolworths opened in Holywell, North Wales, in 1933. Number 9 was a house and number 11 was a grocers and the two were combined to make one Woolworths store.
Source: Richardson, R.
Source: Flintshire Pictures
Source: Morris, C.
Woolworths traded from this location right until the end, closing in December 2008. In June 2011 Wetherspoons opened here, naming their pub “The Market Cross”.
31 – 32 Clifton Street, Cardiff CF2 1LR
Woolworths opened their fourth Cardiff store on Clifton Street in 1932. The store was in the premises of the former Clifton Cinema. Below are a series of photos across the decades.
Source: Remember Old Cardiff
Source: Ford, J.
Source: Cardiff Now & Then
Source: Dutfield, S.
This Woolworths closed in January 2009.
Today it is a Tesco Express.
Source: Cinema Treasures
51-57 Albany Road, Roath, Cardiff, Gwent CF2 3LL
Woolworths opened in Albany Road in Cardiff (Wales) in 1932. It was the third branch to be opened in Cardiff. It was purpose-built, originally at 51-53. Although there are no photos from the early years, I am assuming it had the usual architecture of 5 bays, red brick with the central pediment. The store was extended to number 57, probably in the 1960s from the look of the current boxy building. You can see it in the distance, on the left side of the road, in this photo.
The store traded here to the end, closing in January 2009. It was a large store.
Today it is a Home Bargains. The front has been changed and the upper floor windows boarded up.
26 Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 1DG
Woolworths opened in Aberystwyth in 1932. I’m not sure whether it was always at number 26 Great Darkgate Street because the earliest photo I can find is from 1965 (see Woolworths on the far right, just cut off). The building looks quite new and 1950s in style. Whether they had relocated here or renovated the existing store is not clear.
Source: Getty Images
Peter Taylor worked at the store in the 1970s. He says, “I did my summer season in 475 Aberystwyth as a Trainee in about 1976, John Urry was the Manager and Mr Coyle was the district manager. The Supervisor was a lady called Bombie and she looked after me as it was my first time away from home at age of 17. I was also good friends with Allison who ran the music department. From memory a lady called Mair ran the office. It was a great summer season, although the pubs were closed on a Sunday, back then.”
I spot some peppermint blue doors here, which leads me to believe it had a Comparison store update in the 1980s. Interesting to see plants and ice cream outside the store in 2005. And Half Price D&G aftershave in the window for £7.49.
After the store closed in December 2008, it became a Poundland. The doors and window frames have been painted a shade of Poundland green.
24 Agincourt Square, Monmouth, Gwent NP5 3XB
Woolworths opened in the Welsh town of Monmouth in April 1932. The store was purpose-built and you will recognise the architecture in this early photo.
The store had a large side extension in 1964 and a garden centre added in the 1970s. The original part of the store seemed to retain it’s vintage fascia, windows and doors.
It was rebranded Woolworths Local but again, note the beautiful original shopfront that was there right until the end.
After this store closed in December 2008, it became an Iceland. And look – they kept the original 1930s windows, hurrah!
4 – 5 Orchard Street, Neath, West Glamorgan SA11 1DS
Woolworths opened in Neath in 1931. I think it was an L-shaped Store with an entrance on Wind Street and another entrance on Orchard Street.￼￼
Source: Neath Guardian￼
The store was extended and traded here right until the end in January 2009.
Neath Former Woolworths 2009
It became a Poundland/Pep & Co.
56 Hope Street, Wrexham, Denbighshire LL11 1BE
Woolworths opened at 56 Hope Street in Wrexham on 25th July 1931, and extended 5 years later into neighbouring 58. They traded from this location for nearly 40 years.
Source: Old Photos of Wrexham
Below is a photo from 1965, and I have circled the Woolworths store on the right.
Source: Francis Frith
8- 10 Regent Street, Wrexham, Denbighshire LL11 1SF
On 12th November 1970, they relocated to the new larger premises on Regent Street, where it was 2 floors up, and had an escalator down to a basement floor.
It had a back entrance on Lord Street.
Source: Historic England Archive
It seems as though it was destined to be a trial store for the Woolworths group. In 1984, Wrexham was one of 20 stores that trialled the ‘Daily Provisions’ cornerstone strategy. They reopened with a grocery section, an up-scale offer of bread, cakes and take-away food, and a new delicatessen counter in the basement selling fresh fish and meat. Apparently there was an amazing giant model of a fish on the wall over the fish counter!
In 1988 it tried the comparison store format. Then in 1992 the store was refurbished. And finally in the 2000s, the store was one of the new style 10/10 stores. Iain Miles managed the 10/10 refit at 445 Wrexham and he says “the disused basement still had all the Fish Bar and other 1970s fittings unused for 30 years. The old escalators had been dropped through the floor and were lying on their back in the basement as no way of removing them. Still have the old 1960s glass door sign which was removed for shopfront alterations in the refit.”
The store closed on 5th January 2009.
Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr
It lay empty from a long 2 and a half years, until August 2011 when Discount UK opened. Today Bargain Buys trades from this location, and The Chinese Buffet is in the basement with it’s entrance on Lord Street.
And as for the original Woolworths on Hope Street, this is now WHSmith. It’s a new building, as there was a huge fire in 2001 and the building had to be demolished. Here is how it looks today.
This post was originally written in 2015.
If you liked reading this, you may enjoy reading about Rhyl – Store 308.
134 – 136 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, South Glam CF1 9YL
Woolworths opened their second Cardiff store in 1931. The first was Store 25 on Queen Street that opened in 1931. This one was on Cowbridge Road East. It was a single storey purpose-built store.
This is a photo of Terry Williams, manager of the store from 1978 until retirement in 1987. Photo was kindly sent in by Richard Northover who says “Like my father he was a gentleman of the old school and a great friend to me when I was first appointed to 297 Maesteg. Store 440 was one of 5 stores in Cardiff.”
This Woolworths store lasted until the end, closing in January 2009.
Today the unit is occupied by a BHF Furniture and Electrical shop, but you can still clearly recognise the Woolworths architecture.
For this post I have to share a link to Out of the Blue Artifacts where you can read all about the history of Abertillery Woolworths in fascinating detail, thanks to Graham George Bennett’s research.
39 – 47 Somerset Street, Abertillery
Woolworths opened in the Welsh mining town of Abertillery in April 1931. It was originally on Somerset Street, a purpose-built store that was delayed in being constructed due to going back and forth with the council – the council wanted the building to be set back so they could widen the street. Woolworths didn’t and the road remained narrow.
Source: Out of the Blue Artifacts
Source: Out of the Blue Artifacts
In the 1960s, Woolworths moved to bigger premises on the High Street, taking over what was a furniture shop – Bristol House.
Today the original building still exists – as well as the very narrow road. It was FADS carpet store, but more recently the unit has been split into two and they are vacant.
31 High Street, Abertillery, Gwent NP3 1YE
This is how the new store on the High Street looked. It was a Woolworths Local. You can see it was on a steep road and there were steps up to the entrance. The store closed in December 2008.
Now it is an Iceland. Building could do with a lick of paint.
28-30 Windsor Road, Penarth, South Glamorgan CF6 1YE
Woolworths opened in Penarth in 1930 on Windsor Road. Apparently these were houses that were bought and the shops were built over front gardens. The upper floors are rather beautiful.
Woolworths traded here for nearly 80 years, closing in January 2009. Today Sainsbury’s is in the building.
29-33 Pool Street, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55 2AD
Woolworths opened in Caernarfon in 1930 on Pool Street. Although I can’t find any photos from the early years, going by the pattern of the previous stores covered, we can guess it looked similar to them – single storey, symmetrical, 5-bays, central pediment.
Below is a staff photo from the 1960s.
In the 1950s or 60s the store had a makeover, and then they traded here right until the end in December 2008.
Today it is a TOFS (The Original Factory Shop).
6-7 Hall Street, Carmarthen, Dyfed SA31 1PL
Woolworths opened in Carmarthen in 1930 on Hall Street. The front entrance was on Hall Street, and there was a back entrance off Wood’s Row. They traded here for nearly 80 years, closing in January 2009.
It became a B&M store and it seems they wanted to cover up the upper floor. But they did keep the 1970s Woolworths doors.
103 Commercial Street, Tredegar
Woolworths opened in Tredegar in February 1930. It was on Commercial Street next to Midland Bank. It is pictured below on the right, the shop with the canopies.
Source: Tredegar Community Archive
The building today houses a charity shop.
Gwent Shopping Centre, Tredegar, Gwent NP2 3XH
In the 1960s the Gwent Shopping Centre opened, and Woolworths moved there. It was an enormous store. These photos were taken in 1988, prior to the store being halved in size. Look at those 80s window posters – all singles down to £2.79! Sweet Sensation! Top Toiletries! Soft Toy Price Cut! Great Toy Value! Paint Prices Pulverised! Ladybird Autumn Collection Just Arrived! It looks like a shell suit in the Ladybird poster – did you own one of those shell suits?
Richard Northover remembers the store being “cut in half to fund space for Superdrug, prior to which the store had a big food offer – including a delicatessen which served this Valley town for many years until Kingfisher destroyed bit by bit the business.”
The store become one of the Woolworths Local stores and closed in December 2008.
Today it is an indoor market.
Source: Wales Online
28 High Street Superior, Brecon, Powys LD3 7LG
Woolworths opened in Brecon in 1929. It took over the premises of J E Nott and Co on the High Street.
This photo is from the opening day – the first day was for viewing only. You can see the sign saying “No Goods Sold To-Day” above the “6d Palmolive Shaving Cream” sign
Source: The Brecon & Radnor Express
This is a quote from the Brecon Museum about the photo: “The famous FW Woolworth & Co Ltd pricing policy is also in evidence, with products priced at 3d and 6d, and large signs emphasising Nothing in these stores over 6D. Woolworths held on to their Threepenny and Sixpenny price limits for many years. When raw material prices rose, their suppliers had to absorb the cost, or item sizes were reduced. For example, in the late 1930s their 10-inch saucepans were replaced with 6-inch ones. Another tactic was to sell items such as pans and pan lids separately. They even sold a camera in kit form, with each of the three pieces meeting the price promise.”
The store manager from 1934 was Mr Chasemore – this photo was kindly sent in by former manager Richard Northover.
From 1967 to 1987 the manager was Fred Clift – photo also sent in by Richard Northover. He tells us more about Mr Clift: “My predecessor as Brecon store manager was Fred Clift, who retired February 1987. I took over from Fred after leaving Maesteg in June ’86 to do a 9 month secondment with Mervyn Robertson’s special projects team. Fred had stayed in Brecon for 20 years until he retired. I already knew him because we had been in the same area and saw each other at managers meetings over the previous four years. He was well known and loved in the local community and even knew the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea, whose diocese centred in Brecon. So much so that Fred’s nickname in the area was ‘the bishop of Brecon’. He was big man with a very dry sense of humour. In the days before email we passed messages by phone store to store. I used to ring Fred and halfway through taking down the message the receiver would be dropped and I would hear ‘Good morning Bishop’.”
Source: PLAN Brecon
“I felt sorry for the team as after having Fred for 20 years, I was like a bucket of cold water, a 26-year young manager in a hurry so much. So I regretfully only stayed 18 months before moving on to 922 Bicester – a store almost three times the size. Food had been removed 4 months previously so I had the task of rebuilding sales which we did after a major store relay. I had a very experienced team. Brenda Powell was my office Manager, Margaret Evans my staff supervisor – both Woolies stalwarts. Sue Pritchard and Mrs Parry were my salesfloor supervisors, jolly Dawn Thomas on Entertainment, and Eric in the stockroom. Brenda took over as store manager from me and had several good years before she retired. A great team in a great store in a lovely location to live. I wished I had stayed longer but the next opportunity beckoned to a young man in a hurry….but happy memories.”
Thank you for sharing your memories of working at Brecon Woolworths with us Richard.
In the 1990s the store was had a rebrand to “Woolworths Local” and they traded here right until the end, closing in December 2008.
It became a branch of The Original Factory Shop, but the store frontage is pretty much unchanged from its Woolworths days.
52 Castle Square, Haverfordwest, Dyfed SA61 2AE
Woolworths opened in Haverfordwest in 1929, originally on Bridge Street. Woolworths then moved to Castle Square in the late 1950s, taking over part of the Castle Hotel (see below photo). The Bridge Street store was taken over by Boots. But there is no Boots on this road today – I am thinking it might be the Superdrug building.
The castle was literally behind Woolworths, so it was in a very good location where there would be a lot of potential customers.
Source: Emily & James
The store closed in December 2008.
It became a 99p store, which then became Poundland.
12 – 14 Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, Gwynedd LL29 7NU
Woolworths opened in Colwyn Bay in 1929. It was on a corner plot on the junction of Abergele Road and Woodland Road. See it on the left of this photo.
From what I can gather online, there was a stockroom upstairs.
Colwyn Bay Woolworths 1955
Source: Townscape Heritage Initiative
It lasted until the end, when the chain went bust in December 2008. But what was unique about Colwyn Bay Woolworths was that they had a giant Santa at the side, while the store was closing down. I mean, look at this photo!
It became a home store that also closed down, but today it is occupied by Spar and Subway.
29 High St, Rhyl LL18 1EN
On 10th March 1928 Woolworths opened in the seaside town of Rhyl in North Wales. It was on the High Street, a small single-storey store. They extended on 23rd May 1931. Below is a photo of the store in 1953, when there were Coronation celebrations for the Queen. Interesting that the store had a very large Woolworth fascia above the first floor.
Source: Rhyl Life
Woolworths moved from here a few years later. The building still exists today and it is a Shoe Zone Factory Outlet store.
1-4 East Parade, Rhyl, Flintshre LL18 3AD
In 1956, Woolworths built much larger, prominent seafront premises on the site of the Royal Cafe, which they demolished. You couldn’t really miss it – the store was huge, with a modern restaurant. They moved in there on 29th June 1956, becoming the department store destination of Rhyl. (It’s on the far right in the below photo)
On 17th May 1974, the store was modernised and converted to self service.
In 1987 it was refurbished to become a comparison store (without the restaurant), re-opening on 3rd April.
In the 2000s, the store became a 10/10 store, which you can see in the below photo. Although it looks closed in the below photo, Woolworths had in fact covered the windows in blue, presumably so they could put shelving up against the windows inside – but not looking so nice from the outside. It was a smaller store now, as the top floors were now occupied by Gala Bingo.
Source: The Roberts Organisation, Flickr
Today B&M Bargains operates from this premises. But up until 2011 there was still a little something that gave away it’s history…
Source: Alex Liivet, Flickr
If you enjoyed this, I also found the history of Rhyl Marks and Spencer online (now Poundland). Written by Rhyl History Club, it’s quite fascinating – read about it here.
This post was originally written in 2014.