Category Archives: Wales

Newport (Wales) – Store 185

155-156 Commercial Street, Newport NP20 1UE

Woolworths opened their 185th store in Newport, Wales, in 1925. It originally opened at number 155 to 156 Commercial Street. You can see it below in the centre, there is a long fascia that says F.W. Woolworths & Co Ltd, but there is also a unit to the right that says just ‘Woolworth’ – an extension testing out the use of this name without the ‘F.W’ perhaps.

Newport Woolworths 1950s

Newport Woolworths 1950s

Source: Getty Images

147/148 Commercial Street, Newport NPT 1UU

In 1960 Woolworths moved along the street to make an even bigger store. They took over the site of The Talbot Hotel and the old Empire Theatre, to make the largest and most modern Woolworths store in Wales at the time.

Newport Woolworths 1950s

Newport Woolworths 1960s

Source: Historic England

Here is a memory from a former employee “This store had a food hall there. In my college holidays I used to work on the checkout. We had to know all the prices. We were not allowed to sit down so we finished our shifts with aching feet and backs. We all looked forward to the supervisor letting us shelf-stack to give us a spot of exercise.”(Extract from South Wales Argus).

Barbara Morse remembers “there used to be a man outside with a monkey and you could have your picture taken with him.” I think this was a normal thing in the old days, as I have read about this in other towns too.

Less than 30 years later, the store closed down in February 1989, not long after a new smaller Woolworths was opened in the Kingsway Shopping Centre.

Today you will see no sign of either of the Woolworths buildings. The first store at numbers 155 -156 is now Boots, in a building that looks quite 70s. This photo is from the same angle as the 1950s photos – Poundland is the Lilley and Skinner shop, the shop under scaffolding is Bevans and Boots in the distance is Woolworths.

Newport Former Woolworths - Boots

Newport Former Woolworths – Boots

The store at numbers 147 – 148 was demolished soon after it closed down and a new building was erected with three shop units – this is what it looks like:

Newport Former Woolworths - Superdrug, All Sports, The Body Shop

Newport Former Woolworths – Superdrug, All Sports, The Body Shop

 

Advertisements

Port Talbot/Aberavon – Store 182

26 – 30 Church Street, Aberavon, Port Talbot, Glam SA12 6DF

Woolworths opened in the Welsh town of Aberavon, also known as Aberafan, also known as Port Talbot, in 1925. This town is located in Swansea Bay. I found a very small photo of the original Woolworths store on Pinterest.

Aberavon Woolworths

Port Talbot/Aberavon Woolworths

Source: Pinterest

In the 1960s over 200 houses and 3 chapels were demolished to make way for the M4. I read an article of what it was like to live in this town during the building of this motorway and it sounds horrendous. I know this isn’t really related to Woolworths, but I can’t get over how the town looked with the new ‘road in the sky’.

Port Talbot Aberavon under the M4 - 1960s

Port Talbot Aberavon under the M4 – 1960s

Source: Wales Online

Between 1971 to 1976 most of old Aberavon in the upper Water Street and High Street area was also demolished to built a mall called the Aberafan Shopping Centre. So the original Woolworths building does not exist anymore.

Unit A1, South Mall, Aberafan Centre, Port Talbot, West Glam SA13 1LQ

Woolworths opened inside the shopping centre in the 1970s, where it traded all the way to the end in December 2008. Former employee Tom Lean worked here in the late 1990s/early 2000s, and he remembers the people being nice to work with. He says it was a fairly typical medium sized store, with stockrooms above and off to one side. When he was a kid in the 1980s it used to be a bit bigger than it was by the end, but they chopped a corner of it off to make a Superdrug.

Port Talbot Aberavon Woolworths 2008

Port Talbot Aberavon Woolworths 2008

Source: Jenkins L.

Today Home Bargains is in the old Woolworths unit. You can see Superdrug to the right of the photo, so you can imagine the Woolworths was quite a large store when it first opened inside the shopping centre.

Port Talbot Aberavon Former Woolworths - Home Bargains

Port Talbot Aberavon Former Woolworths – Home Bargains

Bargoed – Store 153

5 – 6 High Street, Bargoed, Glam CF8 8YJ

Woolworths opened in the Welsh town of Bargoed in 1923. The High Street is on a hill, so although from the front it looks as though it was a single storey store, it did in fact have two lower floors, and there is an upper floor peeking behind the frontage. I’m guessing this was a 1950s/60s building from the rectangular look.

Bargoed Woolworth 2009

Bargoed Woolworth 2009

Source: Ballysundriven

The store closed when the chain went bust in December 2008. The building lay empty for a few years, and then in 2011 The Original Factory Shop moved into the upper floor. The lower floors were converted into council offices.

Bargoed Former Woolworths - The Original Factory Shop

Bargoed Former Woolworths – The Original Factory Shop

Sadly it has recently been announced this July 2018 that The Original Factory Store would be closing many of their branches due to poor trading, so this building will be empty again.

Pen-Y-Graig – Store 149

48 Tylacelyn Road, Penygraig, Rhondda, Glam.

Woolworths opened in the Welsh village of Penygraig (or Pen-Y-Graig) in 1923. It does look like Pen-Y-Craig with a C on the 1972 store list, but Tylacelyn Road is actually in Penygraig.

There’s not any information on the store on the internet, and no closing date either. We know today that the address is for the Co-op store, which from this photo we can guess that is was a small Woolworths village store.

48 Tylacelyn Road, Pen-Y-Graig

48 Tylacelyn Road, Pen-Y-Graig

Source: Jaggery

If you lived in South Wales, do you or any of your family members remember the Woolworths in Pen-Y-Graig? Please do share any memories/photos.

Merthyr Tydfil – Store 140

44 – 45 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil, Glam.

The 140th Woolworths store opened in Wales in 1923, in a town called Merthyr Tydfil.

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1930s

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1930s

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1951

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1951

Source: Francis Frith

In the 1970s the store had a makeover, with this recognisable style. The makeover probably coincided with the conversion to self-service.

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1970s

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 1970s

Source: Alan George

The store closed in December 2008.

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 2008

Merthyr Tydfil Woolworths 2008

Source: WalesOnline

It became a B&M Bargains, but they then moved to a retail park – so this building is sadly empty again.

Merthry Tydfil Former Woolworths - B&M

Merthry Tydfil Former Woolworths – B&M

Source: Flickr

Swansea – Store 135

242-246 Oxford Street, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA1 3BA

Woolworths must have done well in Swansea, as 11 years after opening their first store on the high street (Store 14), a second store was opened on nearby Oxford Street in 1923.

Swansea Woolworths 2008

I actually can’t find any information at all about this particular store, or how it looked between 1923 and 2008. But the style of this building does look 1960s/70s. Today Poundland is at this location.

Swansea Poundland 2017

If you have any old photos of the Swansea Oxford Street store that you don’t mind sharing, do let me know in the comments.

Pontypool – Store 130

Crown Buildings, George Street, Gwent NP4 6YP

We are back in Wales with the 130th Woolworths store, that opened in Pontypool in 1923.

This photo shows the store in 1937, with a number of its staff outside celebrating the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The staff look so proud and happy, almost like cheerleaders.

Pontypool Woolworths 1937

Pontypool Woolworths 1937

Source: Freepresseries

The building does not look purpose-built, and the store was next door to the shoe shop Stead & Simpson.

Pontypool Woolworths 1940s

Pontypool Woolworths 1940s

Source: Pontypool Museum

Pontypool Woolworths 1950s

Pontypool Woolworths 1950s

Source: Pontypool Museum

“The staff of Woolworth Pontypool in Wales show off their spectacular display of dolls, nursery teaware and Easter Bunnies in 1951” Woolworths Museum

Pontypool Woolworths 1951

Pontypool Woolworths 1951

At some point the store was extended into the Stead & Simpson unit.

Pontypool Woolworths 2000s

Pontypool Woolworths 2000s

Source: Facebook

Pontypool Woolworths 2009 (after closure)

Pontypool Woolworths 2009 (after closure)

Source: Ballysundriven

And today it is Iceland.

Pontypool Former Woolworths - Iceland

Pontypool Former Woolworths – Iceland

Source: Jaggery

Bridgend – Store 120

32 – 34  Adare Street, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan CF31 1EL

The 120th Woolworths store opened in Bridgend in Wales in 1922.  Below is a photo from the 1930s with “the frontage of the building emblazoned with signs advertising H. Woodward’s paper showrooms. Woolworths window dressers often used rows of baubles as pelmets to enhance festive displays at Christmas time.” (Extract from Woolworth’s 100 Years on the High Street – K Morrison).

Bridgend Woolworths 1930s

Bridgend Woolworths 1930s

Source: Historic England

“I had a Saturday job in Woolworths in Bridgend, Mid-Glamorgan (as it was then). I remember we had to be 15 years and 3 months old before we could be considered for a job. Our pay for the Saturday was 19 shillings and 3 pence, but the 3 pence was deducted for the insurance stamp. I worked on various counters, biscuits, toys and even on the side counters of the store which contained groceries. The manager came up to my counter one day and said ‘I want you’. Oh no, now what have I done!! ‘Yes, sir?’ ‘Have you tried your GCE Maths exam yet?’ ‘Yes, sir, our class did the maths exam a year earlier than usual.’ ‘Did you pass it?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Then would you be interested in working in the office? ‘Yes, sir. Thank you sir.’ My job in the office was to count the cash and balance it with the individual tills in the store. I used to go around emptying the tills and then taking the money back to the office and making sure the tills and money balanced. On a couple of occasions I had to go to a till and count the money there and then: e.g. if a customer said they had given the assistant a £10 note but the assistant thought it was a £5 note then the money was checked to see if an error had been made. 19 shillings seemed quite a lot then but would be 95p in todays money. I do miss those days!” Memory from a former Saturday staff member (source: gransnet.com)

Bridgend Woolworths 1930s-50s

Bridgend Woolworths date unknown

Source: Pinterest

There was an extension into the neighbouring store at some point.

Bridgend Woolworths 1970s

Bridgend Woolworths 1970s

Source: Pinterest

How lovely the store looks in colour.

Bridgend Woolworths 2008

Bridgend Woolworths 2008

Source: Lobb M.

Today Poundland is in the building. Although this isn’t Woolworths architecture, if you are ever in Bridgend, do take a moment to admire this building.

Bridgend Former Woolworths - Poundland

Bridgend Former Woolworths – Poundland

Source: ballysundriven

Barry – Store 108

135 Holton Road, Barry, Glamorgan CF6 6TS

Woolworths opened in the South Wales seaside town of Barry in 1921.

Barry Woolworths 1944

Barry Woolworths 1944

In 1969, a new store was built. I am unsure of whether the original building was demolished, or if they moved to number 135 Holton Road. It looks as thought it was a street redevelopment as the neighbouring stores also have the white curved rain shelter.

Barry Woolworths 2008

Barry Woolworths 2008

Source: WalesOnline

The store closed in December 2008 and is now Poundland.

Barry Former Woolworth - Poundland

Barry Former Woolworth – Poundland

Bangor – Store 105

277 – 279 High Street, Bangor, North Wales

Back in Wales, Store 105 opened in Bangor at 297 High Street in 1921 (a building that is now Cool Trader). In 1939  they moved to a purpose-built Art Deco building at numbers 277 – 279. The basement of the building was earmarked as an air raid shelter in WWII which was thankfully never tested (Source: Bangor Civic Society). You can see the store in the distance in this 1960s photo.

Bangor Woolworths 1960s

Bangor Woolworths 1960s

And here on the right.

Bangor Woolworths 1970s

Bangor Woolworths 1970s

The store traded from this location for nearly 80 years, but not quite, closing in December 2008.

Bangor Woolworths 2008

Bangor Woolworths 2008

Today it is Boots, but look up and you’ll see the lovely Art Deco detail.

Bangor Former Woolworths - Boots

Bangor Former Woolworths – Boots

Pontypridd Store 98

Park Buildings, Taff Street, Pontypridd, Glam

Woolworths opened in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1921. The site was called ‘Park Buildings’ on Taff Street, and they traded here all the way to the end in December 2008. Here are some photos over the years.

Pontypridd Woolworths 1960s

Pontypridd Woolworths 1960s

Source: WalesOnline

Pontypridd Woolworths 1970s

Pontypridd Woolworths 1970s

Source: Beilby D

Pontypridd Woolworths 2007

Pontypridd Woolworths 2007

Source: Cornfoot R

Today B&M Bargains traded from this site, the building looking the same. You can still see the Woolworths tiles.

Pontypridd Former Woolworths - B&M

Pontypridd Former Woolworths – B&M

Source: Ballysundriven

Cardiff – Store 25

50-54 Queen Street, Cardiff CF1 1WU

Following success at Swansea – Store 14, Woolworths were keen to open in the Welsh capital of Cardiff. And this was the 25th Woolworths store in the UK, which opened in 1913. It was so successful, that they extended the store and had a grand reopening just a year later in 1914.

Cardiff Woolworths 1924

Cardiff Woolworths 1924

Source: Woolworths Museum

The upper floors were occupied by Luciana billiard halls. Quite a few Woolworths stores had billiard halls above, though it wasn’t a deliberate policy – unlike Burtons who did it to keep young men out of pubs, and hopefully be potential customers.

Cardiff Woolworths 1934

Cardiff Woolworths 1934

Source: Woolworths Museum

Cardiff Woolworths 1950

Cardiff Woolworths 1950

Source: Wales Online

The store was rebuilt and extended, reopening on 20th Jul 1960. The shopfront boasted a continuous row of eight doorways, interrupted by two structural piers, with small end display windows (Woolworths 100 years on the high street – Morrison K.)

Cardiff Woolworths 1960

Cardiff Woolworths 1960

Source: Alamy

Cardiff Woolworths 1970

Cardiff Woolworths 1970

Source: Wales Online

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Source: Wales Online

In 1982, the fascia was replaced with a Duraform one (reinforced plastic sheeting) in ‘Woolworths Red’  with a matt finish. The lettering was the new italicised san serif letter, accompanied by the looping ‘W” known as the Winfield logo.

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s

Cardiff Woolworths 1982

Source: Pinterest

The store had been hugely extended – here you can see an image of the interior, the upper floor for the cafe, with the curved banister, looking down on the sales floor.

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s-inside

Cardiff Woolworths 1980s-inside

Source: Wales Online

But just two years later, the store closed in 1984 as part of the 1980s Kingfisher sell-offs. The building was taken over by BHS who moved from their old premises. You can see they covered the windows of the first floor.

Cardiff Former Woolworths | BHS 2012

Cardiff Former Woolworths | BHS 2012

Source: Soult’s Retail View

You might think BHS left Cardiff when the chain recently went bust, but they actually closed in January 2013 to find a smaller site. in 2014 Primark moved in and rebuilt the front facade to fit in with the surrounding Victorian architecture. I think it looks beautiful, really reminicent of the early Woolworths store.

Cardiff Former Woolworths | Primark 2014

Cardiff Former Woolworths | Primark 2014

Source: Wales Online