Woolwich – Store 9

18/28 Hare Street, Woolwich, London SE18 6ND

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

In 1911, the second London Woolworths store to open was in the South East – Woolwich. It opened on Hare Street, the area chosen for being very industrial. (Photo source: WoolworthsMuseum.co.uk

Below are a series of photos of the Woolwich store through the decades.

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Source: Michael L, WoolworthsMuseum.co.uk

Woolwich Woolworths 1930s

Woolwich Woolworths 1930s

Source: Chris Mansfield Photos

Woolwich Woolworths 1950s

Woolwich Woolworths 1950s

Source: Chris Mansfield Photos

Woolwich Woolworths 1970s

Woolwich Woolworths 1970s

Source: King, J A, Chris Mansfield Photos

In the 1980s, the new Woolworths management decided on a drastic disposal of stores to cut costs, and sadly Woolwich was one of the ones to go. It closed down in 1984.

Today the building is occupied by Primark. Boots is still next door, and that BHS is now a Peacocks store.

Primark, Woolowich 2013

Primark, Woolwich 2013

Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr

Banbury – Store 428 / 1203

7 High Street, Banbury, Oxfordshire

Woolworths opened on Banbury High Street in 1931, according to the Banbury Guardian. It was built on the site of the Red Lion Hotel, below on the left, which was demolished to make way for the new store.

Banbury Red Lion Hotel 1921

Banbury Red Lion Hotel 1921

Source: Francis Frith

Here you can see the Woolworths store on the right of the photo in the 1960s.

Banbury Woolworths 1960s

Banbury Woolworths 1960s

Source: Francis Frith

Here are some wonderful photos of the interior from a lady who spent 30 years of her life working for “The old Woolworths”, courtesy of EddFrostDaughters Ltd.

Banbury Woolworths Inside 1960s -3 Banbury Woolworths Inside 1960s -2 Banbury Woolworths Inside 1960s

In the 1970s store list, the address is listed as 7a, so the store must have been halved, and the Woolworths store was kept open on the right side (that’s the Abbey National side in the below photo). Mothercare may well have been there since the 1970s, as their first stores opened in the 1960s. Woolworths closed on the High Street in the 1980s. So there was a period of time when Banbury had no Woolworths. Abbey National moved into 7a.

Banbury Mothercare and Abbey National 2000s

Banbury Mothercare and Abbey National 2000s

Source: Ancestry.com

7a High Street today is Santander, and you can clearly see from the windows above that this was the Woolworths building.

Banbury Santander 2015

Banbury Santander 2015

Source: iOxfordshire

Unit 51, Castle Quay Shopping Centre, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 8UP

The Castle Quay shopping centre was first built in 1977. In 1999, it underwent an £85 million redevelopment and this was when Woolworths moved in. It had a new store number 1203. It was the second store you saw as you walked inside, so a good position, and it backed on to the canal.

Banbury Woolworths 2005

Banbury Woolworths 2005

Source: Flickr, BRG2

The store closed in December 2008, and when I visited the town in September 2009, the Woolworths fascias were still up, but it was being converted into an H&M, so it must have opened soon after. I visited Banbury again last week, and this is how the former Woolworths looks today from the inside of the shopping centre.

H&M Banbury, 2015

H&M Banbury, 2015

Eastbourne – Store 172

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.

Eastbourne Woolworths 1924

Eastbourne Woolworths, Terminus Road, 1924

Source: Woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

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.

Eastbourne Woolworths, Terminus Road, 1950s

Eastbourne Woolworths, Terminus Road, 1950s

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.

Eastbourne Poundland 2011

Eastbourne Poundland and Thomas Cook, Terminus Road, 2011

Source: Fawcett Mead

St Leonards-on-Sea – Store 832

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.

St Leonards Woolworths

St Leonards Woolworths

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.

St Leonards Kings Road Bazaar

St Leonards Kings Road Bazaar

Source: Local Data Search

Hastings – Store 251

1-7 Wellington Place, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1NY

In July 1926, Woolworths bought the block of 2-6 Wellington Place and 15-20 Pelham. The buildings were demolished, and in their place a large ‘3 penny and 6 penny’ store was built (Source: Hastings Chronicle). This is how the store looked in the 1950s:

Hastings Woolworths 1950s

Hastings Woolworths 1950s

Source: Hastings & St Leonards Forum

Below is a photo of the store in 1982, where you can see there has been a major makeover – I am guessing this took place in the 1960s.

Hastings Woolworths 1982

Hastings Woolworths 1982

Source: Popkin, A

This photo was taken when the underground walkway was being built.

Hastings Woolworths 1988

Hastings Woolworths 1988

Source: gandalfthegrey, Flickr

This is a 1990s photo where you can see the Woolworths fascia has been updated.

Hastings Woolworths 1990s

Hastings Woolworths 1990s

Source: Goldsteinleigh Investments

Hastings Woolworths 2004

Hastings Woolworths 2004

Source: JJ justin, Flickr

A more recent photo here, just before the store closed for good on 2nd January 2009.

Hastings Woolworths 2008

Hastings Woolworths 2008

Source: Snapper Jude, Flickr

It soon became a Sports Direct – here’s a photo we took last week whilst on holiday in Hastings. It’s a large, prominent store – you can’t miss it. They have painted the blue tiles grey, but apart from that is looks exactly as it did as a Woolworths. And even the 4 little roof windows are recognisable from the earlier 1950s photo – a real piece of history.

Hastings Sports Direct 2015

Hastings Sports Direct 2015

Teignmouth – Store 466

7 Bank Street, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 8AN

Teignmouth Woolworths 1959

Teignmouth Woolworths 1959

Woolworths opened in the harbourside town of Teignmouth, Devon in March 1932. It was a small store that remained unmodernised in 1959 – apart from its fascia, it still had all of its original features. The high island counters were made of the best mahogany, while every shopper was greeted by the distinctive sweet aroma of the oil and felspar used to treat the wooden floor. (Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

It was a store that frequently got flooded, with water having to be brushed away by staff.

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

(Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

Top-selling products were seasonables in summer when thousands of holiday-makers descended upon the town, and Christmas seasonables. The store would order their stock a year in advance. Staff in the summer were made up of seasonal temps and Saturday staff  – a big job to manage. According to the Woolworths Museum, the store stayed behind the times in the 1960s, with customers still having to pay for products at different counters, and pic n mix having to be pointed at by the customer and measured by staff behind the counter. Customers were expecting self-service by now.

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

Teignmouth Woolworths 1960s

(Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk)

Smaller stores were given the least priority in the list of Woolworths stores getting a makeover. This made it difficult for the Teignmouth store to display new products – for example, having no hanging rails to display blouses, shirts and beachwear.

The store carried on trading successfully until 27th December 2008.

Teignmouth Woolworths 2008

Teignmouth Woolworths 2008

Source: Topp A., Pinterest

A Carpetright opened in its place. This is a photo I took in 2010 when we went on holiday there. I stepped inside and I just knew it was a Woolworths. The staff looked at me oddly 😉

Teignmouth Carpetwright 2010

Teignmouth Carpetwright 2010

The Carpetright then closed (I thought the fascia did look temporary), and an M&Co has opened in its place. They painted the top of the building pastel blue too, which looks quite good, a definite improvement.

Teignmouth M&Co 2015

Teignmouth M&Co 2015

Source: 192.com

 

Chippenham – Store 493

24-25 High Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3ET

Woolworths opened on Chippenham High Street in April 1933.

Chippenham Woolworths 1930s

Chippenham Woolworths 1930s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The store was modernised in 1957/58.

Chippenham Woolworths 1952

Chippenham Woolworths 1952

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Then in 1974, the store was converted to self-service, with further modernisation the following year. In 1977 a Garden Centre was added as an annex. This was when the recognisable single floor frontage was replaced with a smooth 2-floor frontage which you can see below.

Chippenham Woolworths 1970s

Chippenham Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Chippenham Woolworths was an Early Operation Focus comparison store, having a full refurbishment in 1986. In 1990, the Garden Centre annex  was closed and put up for sale. During the 1990s the store was used for concept development, pioneering the Heartland store format (which included reopening the Garden Centre as a salesfloor extension, giving space to reintroduce petcare, a limited range of toiletries and video rental). The store appeared in Analysts video in 1995 to illustrate how the business had changed and managed to generate £100m profit in a single year. Heartland elements were progressively dropped and the store narrowly escaped selection as a Woolworths General Store – instead it was upgraded to the latest 10/10 specification after demerger. (Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk)

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Source: Wright J.

2008 photo from my Facebook group:

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

Chippenham Woolworths 2008

The store closed in January 2009. I took this photo when I visited Chippenham in April 2009:

Chippenham Woolworths 2009

Chippenham Woolworths 2009

Today the unit has been split into two stores – Poundland and Costa Coffee.

Poundland and Costa Coffee, Chippenham 2013

Poundland and Costa Coffee, Chippenham 2013

Source: ballysundriven, Flickr

Putney – Store 45 / 1264

45 – 53 Putney High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SZ

One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened on Putney High Street sometime between 1914 – 1915. You can see it in the below photo – the fourth building along.

Putney Woolworths 1958

Putney Woolworths 1958

Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr

In the 1960s, they moved across the road. Today Robert Dyas and Boots are where the Woolworths used to be at 45 – 53.

Putney High Street 2015

Putney High Street 2015

Source: Roll the Dice, Flickr

60 – 62 High Street, Putney, London SW15 1SF

This was the new building, in classic 1960s style. They traded here at 60 – 62 High Street until they closed on 5th January 2009.

Putney Woolworths 2008

Putney Woolworths 2008

Source: citykey.co.uk

On 8th October 2009, a TK Maxx opened in its place.

TK Maxx Putney 2015

TK Maxx, Putney 2015

Source: ballysundriven, Flickr

Billericay – Store 911

101 High Street, Billericay, Essex CM12 9AW

Woolworths opened in Billericay in 1955/1956. They took over the site of the Telephone Exchange on the High Street, which had been on this spot from 1929 – 1952. The Telephone Exchange was demolished and Woolworths built the store in the below photo. It opened at a time when Self Service was just being introduced to the High Street – you can see the sign above the doorway in the centre.

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Source: Essex Record Office / Billericayhistory.org.uk

Here is a lovely memory of Billericay Woolworths in the 1950s:
“And there is Woolworths which when it arrived meant we had become a modern town. I can smell the newness of it still.  It was our first experience of a self-service store with bright lights and wooden floors and low counters. Later I got my first Saturday job there earning the princely sum of 12s and 9d  for the whole day. Mostly I remember my brother  and I selecting  a birthday gift there for mother with  great  love. We chose a pink plaster poodle standing appealingly on its hind legs, its collar studded with diamonds. We did not see its tawdriness just its cuteness and picking up a box paid for it and hurried home only to find the box was empty. It had taken us so long to save that shilling  and we rushed back the two miles  so distressed we were hardly able to speak, but the supervisor, Miss Lamb, was compassion  personified and mother got her birthday present after all.” Aileen Wortley, Billericayhistory.org.uk

The store traded here for over 50 years until it closed for good on 2nd January 2009.

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Source: Tim@SW2008, Flickr

An Iceland opened in it’s place quite soon after.

Billericay Iceland

Billericay Iceland

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven

Yeovil – Store 206

19 Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1LF

Woolworths opened on Middle Street in Yeovil, opposite the George Inn, in November 1925. Middle Street was the main road from London to the West Country then, so it was a very busy area.

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The store was extended in 1931, and then it looks as though it had a 1950s makeover from the look of the frontage in the below photo. Here’s an extract from ‘Yeovil in the 1960s‘, with Middle Street described by Roger Froude who was a teenager then, “of course FW Woolworth’s – still stuck in the 1950s with its wooden floorboards and the aroma of hot fresh roasted peanuts.” – so funny how Woolworths was never up-to-date!

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

The photo is from around 1965. You have to read the caption that accompanied it,

“I think we all mourn the passing of Woolies – but the interesting thing about this photo is the ‘footprint’ of the George Inn on the pavement.

So, the George was demolished to widen the road but some twat at the Council forgot to realise that they didn’t own the land (not much of a surprise there then) so the road couldn’t be widened after all. In any event within ten years the road was pedestrianised, so this wonderful 14th century building was, pretty much, wantonly destroyed for nothing.”

Here is a photo of the George, shame it was demolished. The 60s really was a decade of architectural crimes! This is where the 99p store stands today. It was Primark for many years, but you’ll see where they moved to if you read on.

The George, Yeovil - c1962

The George, Yeovil – c1962

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

Back to Woolworths, and the store was modernised in 1973. Then in 1985, it was chosen to be one of the first prototype Woolworths Weekend comparison stores, including a Tea Bar restaurant. Moving on two decades and In the 2000s, it became one of the 10/10 trial stores. You can see it on the right of this 2007 photo, it looks as though there was a really strange red and yellow fascia. Opposite the Woolworths, you can see Primark on the left of the photo, on the site of the old George Inn – it too having a strange logo.

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History

This photo was taken shortly before the store closed for good in December 2008.

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Source: Smith S

The building lay empty for over 18 month, when it was announced that Primark would be moving from across the road to open a bigger contemporary store. The new Primark opened in 2011, with the 99p Store occupying the old Primark building opposite. It is still quite recognisable as a Woolies building.

Yeovil Primark 2015

Yeovil Primark 2015

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History

Peterborough – Store 62

62-64 Bridge Street, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE1 1DX

Woolworths opened on Bridge Street in Peterborough in December 1915, and amazingly there are two photos of the store from this time, the first being this one:

Peterborough Woolworths 1915

Peterborough Woolworths 1915

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

And this one, although this photo shows the ‘3d and 6d’ placed before the F.W.Woolworth on the fascia:

Peterborough Woolworths pre-1920s

Peterborough Woolworths pre-1920s

Source: Peterboroughimages.co.uk

They extended in 1931, and added a restaurant in 1935, which you can see here (the lighter coloured buliding on the left side of the road). There was a small shop called Dunn & Co on it’s right, and the City Cinema was next to it (that’s the building with the dome) – this later was demolished and M&S was built here.

Peterborough Woolworths 1938

Peterborough Woolworths 1938

Source: Peterboroughimages.co.uk

You can see it more clearly here in this 1949 photo:

Peterborough Woolworths 1949

Peterborough Woolworths 1949

Source: Peterboroughimages.co.uk

Peterborough Woolworths 1960s

Peterborough Woolworths 1960s

Source: Peterboroughimages.co,uk

Between 1969 and 1972, they had a major 60s-style makeover, reconstructing around the original shell. Interesting use of the logo in yellow. Some say this was the ugliest building in Bridge Street!

Peterborough Woolworths 1972

Peterborough Woolworths 1972

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

This newspaper ad is from 1982:

Peterborough Woolworths Ad 1982

Peterborough Woolworths Ad 1982

Source: Peterborough in Pictures

I love this 80s photos, doesn’t the Woolworth sign look massive?!

Peterborough Woolworths 1980s

Peterborough Woolworths 1980s

Source: Peterboroughinimages.co.uk

In 1988, 1991 and 1993, the store was reduced in size. Half of the building was let out to other stores, and more recently it has been shared with New Look.

Woolworths and New Look 2009

Woolworths and New Look 2009

Source: ballysundriven, Flickr

Here is it shortly before it closed in 2008:

Peterborough Woolworths 2008

Peterborough Woolworths 2008

Source: Williams G M, Flickr

After 2 years vacant, TK Maxx took over the space in Spring 2011. Here it is, where you can see how large the buliding is, and how it must have been a huge Woolworths in the 1970s. And how those trees, which must been planted when the street was pedestrianised in the 80s, have really grown!

Peterborough TK Maxx 2011

Peterborough TK Maxx 2011

Source: Williams G M, Flickr

Penzance – Store 651

106-108 Market Jew Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 2LA

Woolworths came to Penzance in April 1936, opening on Market Jew Street. The store was extended in 1938. Below is a 1955 photo – Woolworths in the centre on the right hand side, with the triangle feature on the roof.

Penzance Woolworths 1955

Penzance Woolworths 1955

Source: Francis Frith

In 1972, the store was modernised, refurbished and converted to self-service, and then in 1986 there was an upgrade to the Comparison Store format.

Penzance Woolworths 1980s

Penzance Woolworths 1980s

Source: Hearson M, Flickr

There was a further refurb in 1993. Below is a photo in 2007, a year before they closed down.

Penzance Woolworths 2007

Penzance Woolworths 2007

Source: Burford R, Flickr

They closed for good on 27th December 2008. Here is when the letters were took off just before the annual Mazey Day celebrations.

Penzance Woolworths 2009

Penzance Woolworths 2009

Source: Hughs, R

In July 2009, a Poundland (surprise, surprise!) opened in this building. Here it is:

Penzance Poundland

Penzance Poundland

Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr

Dates source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

St Ives – Store 863

35-37 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1HF

Woolworths arrived in the Cornish seaside town of St Ives in the mid-1950s. The building they chose was set in a hill by the harbour, with the front facing the busy shopping area of Fore Street, and the back facing the harbour on Wharf Road.

Here is the front of the store on Fore Street.

St Ives Woolworths 2005

St Ives Woolworths 2005

Source: Flickr, Rutter R

And this is the harbour side on Wharf Road.

St Ives Woolworths 2007

St Ives Woolworths 2007

Source: UKCoastline.com

St Ives Woolworths 2008

St Ives Woolworths 2008

Source: Scaysbrook C

This is 8 days before they closed down.

St Ives Woolworths 2008

St Ives Woolworths 2008

Source: Flickr, textlad

The store closed on 2nd January 2009, becoming a Mountain Warehouse store on Fore Street, and a Pizza Express on Wharf Road.

St Ives Mountain Warehouse 2015

St Ives Mountain Warehouse 2015

Source: geograph

St Ives Pizza Express 2015

St Ives Pizza Express 2015

Source: Lewis Investments

Other Cornish Stores you may be interested in:
Truro – Store 836

Dawlish – Store 940

2 The Strand, Dawlish, Devon EX7 9PS

Woolworths came to the Devon seaside town of Dawlish quite late on, in 1956. The building they occupied was on the Strand, and was actually built in 1919. Designed in eye-catching black and white pseudo Elizabethan style, half of the building was occupied by Cridge’s Cafe (see photo below).

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Dawlish E. Cridges Cafe 1920s

Source: dawlishhistory.org.uk

It later became Holman’s Cafe and then Brunt’s Cafe, until 1956 when it became Woolworths. When it opened, it was the first ‘self-service’ store in Dawlish, ie where you could pick the goods off the shelf rather than having to ask an assistant to get it for you from behind the counter. This was such a new concept that they had to have staff at the door explaining the self-service process! Here is the store in the swinging 60s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Dawlish Woolworths 1960s

Source: Kingsdude/Dave, Flickr

The 1970s:

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Dawlish Woolworths 1976

Source: Rostance D, Flickr

And the 1980s:

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Dawlish Woolworths Late 1980s

Source: RMC1490, Flickr

This photo from my Facebook group was taken shortly before they closed:

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

Dawlish Woolworths 2008

On 2nd January 2009 Woolworths Dawlish closed down for good. It lay empty for a long time, falling apart and becoming quite an eyesore. This photo is from our south coast roadtrip of 2010.

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

Dawlish Woolworths (Closed) 2010

In 2011 the Co-op next door extended into the Woolworths building where it now trades as one large store.

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Dawlish Co-op 2011

Source: JJ Justin, Flickr

Other Devon stores you may be interested in:
Torquay – Store 88
Paignton – Store 477

Salisbury – Store 273

22-30 High Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2NS

Woolworths opened in Salisbury in the autumn of 1927.

There really isn’t any information on the history of the store on the internet. What I do know for a fact is that it stood at 22 – 30 High Street in 1972. The building doesn’t have any old-style characteristics, so they may well have traded from another smaller premises in Salisbury in the early days. But that is just speculation.

This is a photo of the High Street in the 1950s, where if Woolworths was at 22-30 High Street, it would have been somewhere to right of the Crown Hotel.

Salisbury High Street 1950

Salisbury High Street 1950

Source: Francis Frith

Here s a photo from 2006:

Salisbury Woolworths 2006

Salisbury Woolworths 2006

Source: Peter Facey [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Here is the store shortly before it closed in January 2009. You can see they had a refurb since 2006.

Salisbury Woolworths 2008

Salisbury Woolworths 2008

Source: Chris Talbot [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

And today New Look trades from the building.

Salisbury New Look 2015

Salisbury New Look 2015

Source: 192.com

Swindon – Store 38

23-24 Regent Street, Swindon, Wiltshire

Woolworths opened in Swindon the 12th September 1914 on Regent Street where it traded in a small buildling which was then extended to the left (No, 23) in 1936.

Swindon Woolworths 1939

Swindon Woolworths 1939

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Here it is in the 1950s:

Swindon Woolworths 1950s

Swindon Woolworths 1950s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

And the 1960s:

Swindon Woolworths 1960s

Swindon Woolworths 1960s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

There was a refurb in 1973, which is when I presume they lost their beautiful Art Deco style facade. There was another refurb in 1980 and one more in 1995. It seems Swindon was the true trial store for the chain.

Swindon Woolworths 1995

Swindon Woolworths 1995

Source: Woolworths Museum

Extract from the Woolworths Museum: “As a prototype, the City store at Regent Street, Swindon, which had been one of Frank Woolworth’s first and favourite locations, was relaid, with new products and a new look. Unlike the work at Hounslow in 1994, the transformation was achieved cheaply and the result was spectacular. New ranges included a large cookshop, displayed on wooden tables as well as regular counters. It offered a more fashionable range, including kitchen appliances and a wider selection of china and glassware. Kids ranges were moved towards the front of the dual entrance store, in a carpeted area to the left hand side of the main gangway. The restaurant was moved down to the ground floor and given a new look. Swindon had the look and feel of a modern department store. The idea was repeated in Doncaster, Yorkshire and was refined further in the branch in the Arndale Centre at Luton, Bedfordshire.”

Here is the store in 2006. This is the image many head office folk will remember as we were sent on training courses in Swindon. It truly was enormous inside.

Swindon Woolworths 2006

Swindon Woolworths 2006

Source: Armin Grewe

The store closed down in January 2009, and a year later it reopened as a temporary BHS, while their site was demolished as part of the £25m ‘The Parade‘ redevelopment project that houses stores including BHS, Topshop and River Island. This is now complete.

Temp BHS Swindon 2010

Temp BHS Swindon 2010

Source: ballysundriven

Today the unit has been spilt and is occupied by the oh-so-glam Poundworld, DiscountUK and Peacocks. Priceless next door seems to have disappeared too.

Swindon 2014

Swindon 2014

Source: Property Link

Wolverhampton Victoria Street – Store 13

58/59 Victoria Street, Wolverhamptons, Staffordshire WV1 3PE

Woolworths first opened in Wolverhampton on Victoria Street in June 1912, taking over an ornate tudor-style building that used to be occupied by John Cavitt & Sons. Proud of their prices, they had an eye-catching ‘Nothing in the store over 6d’ sign along the top of the windows.

Wolverhampton Victoria Street Woolworths 1928

Wolverhampton Victoria Street Woolworths 1928

Source: Howe B, Flickr

The store became known affectionately by locals as ‘Little Woolies’ from the late 1920s onwards, as a second larger store had opened in Dudley Street (Store 186).

An extract from George and Kath Peck’s Memories of Wolverhampton“In the 1920s, Woolworths in Victoria Street was one of the most popular shops in the town. It was outstanding, everything was good quality and cost just 6 pence or under. They were the cheapest, nothing was over 6 pence. People bought knives, forks, spoons and things like that to build the household utensils up. There was an upstairs and downstairs and at the time there was just one Woolworths in the town, the other one came later.” 

In the 1930s, Woolworths had got rid of the tudor-style facade (a shame I think!) and built the below building (on the left).

Wolverhampton Woolworths Victoria Street 1930s

Wolverhampton Woolworths Victoria Street mid-late 1930s

Source: Claire, Flickr 

They traded here as ‘Little Woolies’ until the 1960s. With the new superstore Woolworths in the Mander Centre, they was no need for a second store in Wolverhampton.

From the 1970s, Barretts of Feckenham traded from here, they were a store selling outdoor and camping goods.

Today the British Heart Foundation Furniture & Electrical shop is at 58-60 Victoria Street.

Wolverhampton British Heart Foundation

Wolverhampton British Heart Foundation Shop

Source: 192.com

 

Wolverhampton – Store 186

40/41 Dudley Street, Wolverhampton, Staffs WV1 3ES

This store was the second Woolworths in Wolverhampton, opening on 23rd May 1925 (The first Woolworths was in Victoria Street, Store 13, which opened in June 1912).

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1920s-30s

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1920s-30s

Source: Black Country History

The store was extended in 1927 and then in1930. See below on the far right, next to James Baker & Sons.

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1940s-50s

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1940s-50s

Source: Black Country History

In the 1960s it was part of a major town centre redevelopment scheme, with the building of the Mander Shopping Centre. A huge Woolworths superstore opened in stages between 1965 and 1968. This was when Wolverhampton store was the biggest Woolworths in the country! It boasted three floors, with the entire basement dedicated to fresh food, including a fresh fish counter. The ground floor had the more conventional Woolworths layout. The top floor was dedicated to furniture and carpets and had a large Harvester Restaurant!

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1968

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1968

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1974

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1974

Source: Howe B, Flickr

In 1985 Kingfisher experimented with an Electronic World store, but the withdrawal from food on 16th October 1986 left the store uneconomic. The store was cut down, with the restaurant closed and the upper two floors split off and re-let on 16th August 1988. Below is just before this happened. This floor became Boots.

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1988

Wolverhampton Woolworths 1988

Source: Black Country History

In 1989, Woolworths traded only from their basement floor, following a refurbishment, with their main entrance in the shopping centre and a door into Dudley Street atop a steep flight of steps. See below the small entrance next to the Boots which took over the unit.

Woolworths Dudley Street Entrance, Wolverhampton

Woolworths Dudley Street Entrance, Wolverhampton

In the 2000s, Wolverhampton Woolworths was converted to one of the 10/10 stores.

Wolverhampton Woolworths 2008

Wolverhampton Woolworths 2008

Source: Kidd R

The store closed in December 2008 and the unit remained empty for 4 years! In 2012 DiscountUK Home Store finally opened here:

Wolverhampton DiscountUK 2014

Wolverhampton DiscountUK 2014

Source: Express & Star

But the latest news for the Mander Centre, now that they have new owners, is that 10 discount stores are being ousted, including DiscountUK. Then they are going to turn 39 units into 11 larger units, including one 3-floor Debenhams, as part of a £25 million revamp (see artist’s impression below) – all to made it a better shopping experience for everyone. Wow a new 3-floor Debenhams, like there was a new 3-floor Woolworths in the 60s – history repeating itself!

Wolverhampton Mander Centre Revamp 2017 Estimated Opening

Wolverhampton Mander Centre Revamp – 2017 Estimated Opening

Source: Express & Star

Wrexham – Store 445

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. Below is a photo from 1965, and I have circled the Woolworths store on the right.

Wrexham Woolworths 1965

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.

Wrexham Woolworths 1971

Wrexham Woolworths 1971

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

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 until it closed on 5th January 2009.

Wrexham Woolworths 2011

Wrexham Woolworths 2011

Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr

Wrexham Woolworths back

Wrexham Woolworths (Lord Street back entrance)

Source: geograph

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.

Wrexham Bargain Buys 2015

Wrexham Bargain Buys 2015

Source: 192.com

The Chinese Buffet, Wrexham

The Chinese Buffet, Wrexham

Source: Groupon

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.

Wrexham WHSmith

WHSmith, Hope Street, Wrexham

 

If you liked reading this, you may enjoy reading about Rhyl – Store 308.

Rhyl – Store 308

1-4 East Parade, Rhyl, Flintshre LL18 3AD

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.

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)

Rhyl Woolworths 1960s

Rhyl Woolworths 1960s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

On 17th May 1974, the store was modernised and converted to self service.

Rhyl Woolworths 1970s

Rhyl Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

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.

Rhyl Woolworths 2006

Rhyl Woolworths 2006

Source: The Roberts Organisation, Flickr

Today B&M Bargains operates from this premises. But there’s still a little something that gives away it’s history…

B&M Bargains, Rhyl 2010

B&M Bargains, Rhyl 2010

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.