Tag Archives: 1930s

Bournemouth – Store 54

18/20 Commercial Road, The Square, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5LZ

Six years after the first Woolworths opened in the UK in 1909, the fifty-fourth store was opened at 18 Commercial Road, The Square, Bournemouth in 1915.

Original 10" x 7" photograph from 1931. On the left is Montague Burton, Ltd (Burton Tailoring) at number 16. On the right is The British Shoe Co., Ltd., at number 22.

Bournemouth Woolworths 1931

Source: Ladell, A.

The store was extended to include 20 Commercial Road (previously Bon Marche, drapers and milliners) in 1931 with an impressive Art Deco “cinema frontage”.

Bournemouth Woolworths 1931

Bournemouth Woolworths 1935

Source: Ladell, A.

Alas, this was destroyed by enemy action on 10th April, 1941, when a single oil bomb (incendiary bomb) gutted the building in the same raid that destroyed the new Art Deco Beale’s store. The site remained a gap for more than a decade before being reconstructed and reskinned in Portland stone in the 1950s.

18-20. One of the early buildings here was Waterloo House that underwent a bit of a facelift to become Woolworths in 1915. Rebuilt around 1930, the premises were severely damaged during an air raid in WW2 with these replacement premises opening in the 1950s. This branch of Woolworths closed in 1983 and became a branch of Boots.

Woolworths Bournemouth 1961

Source: Bournemouth Grant

It was a huge Woolworths store, with two staircases at the end, with a photo booth at the bottom. On the top floor was a cafe bar.

Bournemouth Woolworths 1964

Bournemouth Woolworths 1964

Source: Bournemouth Grant

bournemouth-woolworths-1976

Bournemouth Woolworths 1976

Source: Bournemouth Echo

In 1983 this store was sold to Boots (which relocated from Old Christchurch Road/Post Office Road) as part of Kingfisher’s asset disposals. It is still a Boots store today.

Boots Bournemouth 2008

Boots Bournemouth 2008

Source: Grant

Boots Bournemouth 2012

Boots Bournemouth 2012

Source: Ladell, A.

Advertisements

New Malden – Store 672 / 2019

106-110 High Street, New Malden, Surrey KT3 4EY

Woolworths opened in a small store on New Malden High Street in 1936, then extending in 1939. You can see it below on the right, 3 stores down from Timothy Whites (which is now Boots).

New Malden Woolworths 1955

New Malden Woolworths 1955

Source: Francis Frith

In 1964, the store extended into the neighbouring building and was refurbished, modernised and converted to self-service.

New Malden Woolworths 1962

Woolworths New Malden 1964

Source: Pinterest, O’Malley N

New Malden Woolworths 1965

Woolworths New Malden 1965

Source: Francis Frith

There was further modernisation in 1978.

In 2000 the store was converted to a Woolworths General Store format, with a new store number 2019. Two years later it went back to being a normal Woolworths, and was then upgraded to a 10/10 store. It closed down in December 2008.

3120006341_d1b027aa5b_z

Woolworths New Malden 2008

Source: Flickr, Dawson F

The building was then taken over by a discount store who didn’t take the Woolworths fascia down! This photo was taken in 2010:

4281026061_429ae0692b_z

Discount Store, New Malden Old Woolworths building, 2010

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven

And now it is a Poundland.

13954914933_48082a795a_z

Poundland New Malden, 2012

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven

Redhill – Store 164

3-7 High Street, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1RE

Woolworths opened on Redhill High Street in 1924, two doors down from a public house (The Junction). You can see it below on the left side of this 1933 photo, the second shop in.

Redhill Woolworths 1933

Redhill Woolworths 1933

Source: Francis Frith

Here is a later photo from 1955, from another angle. Woolworths is on the right side and unchanged from 1933.

Redhill Woolworths 1955

Redhill Woolworths 1955

Source: Francis Frith

There are no more photos on the internet, but they expanded into the shops next door, so it spanned from 3 – 7 High Street. I would guess this happened in the 1970s when the high street was redeveloped.

In the 2000s, Redhill Woolworths was chosen to be a 10/10 trial store, which meant trying out the blue and red fascia and ‘ Woolworths’ in lower case as seen below. Personally I never liked this look. It was also a ‘Christmas store’ when head office would mock up what Christmas would look like instore when it was actually July.

Here it is on it’s last day of trading, 27th December 2008.

Redhill Woolworths 2008

Redhill Woolworths 2008

Source: ephotozine

Today the building is occupied by Wilkos, looking a lot brighter now the grime has been painted over!

Wilko Redhill

Wilko Redhil

Bognor Regis – Store 344

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.

Bognor Regis Woolworths London Road

Bognor Regis Woolworths London Road – Undated

Source: Gravelroots

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.

Bognor Regis Woolworths 1974 fire

Bognor Regis Woolworths 1974 fire

Source: Bognor Regis Museum

There’s not much info on the store, apart from its closure in December 2008.

Bognor Regis Woolworths 2009

Bognor Regis Woolworths 2009

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.

Wilko Bognor Regis 2010

Wilko Bognor Regis 2010

Source: Flickr, ballysundriven

Exeter – Store 151

190/191 High Street, Exeter, Devon EX4 3DX

Woolworths first opened in Exeter on 1st December 1923 on Fore Street, in former tobacconist building H C Lloyd & Son Ltd.

In 1934 they moved on to the High Street, purchasing 190 and 191, which were Garton & King and Pinder & Tuckwell. The two buildings were put together with an impressive Monks Park Stonework facade, installed by the Bath and Portland Stone Firms Ltd, which you can see below.

Exeter Woolworths 1930s

Exeter Woolworths 1930s

Source: Exeter Memories

In 1976 they moved out of this building into the then new shopping centre. Today this building is occupied by McDonalds and MenKind.

Exeter McDonalds Menkind 2013

Exeter McDonalds Menkind 2013

Source: Exeter Express and Echo

Unit 100, Guildhall Shopping Centre, Exeter, Devon EX4 3DX

The new Guildhall Shopping Centre was built in the 1970s, and Woolworths moved into a 2-storey unit in 1976. Their site was on the North Street side, with entrances on Waterbeer Street and Trickhay Street. There was a cafe on the top floor, with a third entrance/exit which led to the first floor of the shopping centre.

Exeter Woolworths 2008

Exeter Woolworths 2008

Source: Exeter Memories

The store closed in December 2008. Soon afterwards, Wilko took over the building, where it is still trading today. This is a view from inside the shopping centre.

Exeter Wilko 2015

Exeter Wilko 2015

Source: 192.com

 

Chelmsford – Store 355

40/41 High Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1DF

Woolworths opened in the Essex town of Chelmsford in 1929. In the late 20s when Woolworths was rapidly expanding, the chain had started to take over old hotels. In Chelmsford they took over the site of the King’s Head Hotel, a building which had been in the High Street since the 15th Century. The building was demolished and the standard single storey Woolworths store was built in its place.

Chelmsford Woolworths 1930s

Chelmsford Woolworths 1930s

Source: Essex Record Office

Chelmsford residents fully embraced the new large store, believing the building improved the overall look of the High Street. You can see it below on the right of the photo, which shows the High Street junction with Springfield Road.

Chelmsford Woolworths 1930s-2

Chelmsford Woolworths 1930s

Source: Essex Record Office

During the World War II, the store was hit. Wooden counters caught fire, but luckily there were staff inside to put the flames out, and the store reopened soon after.

In the 1960s, the store expanded, having obtained 6 units on Springfield Road, so that it became a large L-shaped corner store.

Chelmsford Woolworths 1982/3

Chelmsford Woolworths 1982/3

Source: Flickr, Sarah

Chelmsford Woolworths 1985

Chelmsford Woolworths 1985

Source: Flickr, Sarah

In 1987, there was a conversion to a Focus store and the more familiar fascia we all remember.

Chelmsford Woolworths 1996

Chelmsford Woolworths 1996

Source: Flickr, Sarah

Chelmsford Woolworths closed on Friday 2nd January 2009.

Chelmsford Woolworths 2008

Chelmsford Woolworths 2008

(From my Facebook group)

Chelmsford Woolworths 2008Chelmsford Woolworths 2008 (Springfield Road)

Chelmsford Woolworths 2008 (Springfield Road)

Source: Flickr, Mathews T.

In 2010 Barclays Bank moved to the High Street side. The Entertainer and Lakeland moved into the Springfield Road side.

Chelmsford Barclays 2015

Barclays Bank 2015

Chelmsford Entertainer 2015

Chelmsford Entertainer 2015

Chelmsford Lakeland 2015

Chelmsford Lakeland 2015

Sources: 192.com

Sutton – Store 71

148/150 High Street, Sutton, Surrey

Sutton Woolworths was one of the very early stores of the chain. It opened in the High Street in 1916. In the below 1923 postcard, the Woolworths store can be seen on the right. It was next to the Surrey County Theatre which opened in 1921.

Sutton Woolworths 1923

Sutton Woolworths 1923

Source: Woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

Below you can see the store to the far right. I’m estimating this to be in the 1930s from the cars.

Sutton Woolworths 1930s

Sutton Woolworths 1930s

Source: CinemaTreasures.org

Below is a 1935 postcard, where it can be seen that the store has had a refurbishment with an art deco cinema-style facade, quite suitable considering what the neighbouring building was.

Sutton Woolworths 1935

Sutton Woolworths 1935

Source: CinemaTreasures.org

This photo was taken shortly before Sutton High Street was pedestrianised in the early 1980s. Woolworths is on the left, where you can see the store’s 60s makeover – with the upper floors covered in what looks like concrete.

Woolworths Sutton Early-1980s

Woolworths Sutton Early-1980s

Source: Flickr, Simpson E.

Looking at the building today, yes it does seem to be some sort of grey concrete cladding, or maybe it’s metal. The store has been split into 2 units, a Burton/Dorothy Perkins and a Superdrug (I’ve merged two photos here from 192.com)

Sutton Burton Dorothy Perkins Superdrug 2015

Sutton Burton/Dorothy Perkins and Superdrug 2015

Source: 192.com

I don’t know the exact date Woolworths left this building, but I do know that the chain acquired Superdrug in 1988 and Woolworths opened in a new building at 71 High Street, Sutton in 1994.

I will cover the 71 High Street store (Store No. 1192) in a separate post.

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

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

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

Edinburgh – Store 213

10/14 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AW

In 1925, Woolworths built their Scottish flagship store on the busy and bustling Princes Street, opening its doors in March 1926. It was the second store in Edinburgh after the first one in Leith, but this one was much grander.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1926

Edinburgh Woolworths 1926

Source: ifo Apple Store

Here is it in 1933. Its location next to the Royal British Hotel and Palace Cinema, and opposite the infamous Waverley Steps made it a national landmark.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1933

Edinburgh Woolworths 1933

Source: RCAHMS

In 1956 they expanded into the cinema next door, demolishing it and extending their external facade and adding a floor in the roof. The F.W.Woolworth fascia was updated to extend the whole way across.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1956

Edinburgh Woolworths 1956

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Here it is in the 1980s shortly before closing, with it’s updated logo.

Edinburgh Woolworths 1980s

Edinburgh Woolworths 1980s

Source: The Scotsman

1984 they closed down when Kingfisher took over and closed most of their large Woolworth stores. A Wimpy soon opened in its place, here it is in 1986.

Edinburgh Wimpy 1986

Edinburgh Wimpy 1986

Source: Lost Edinburgh Facebook Group

In the 1990s the Wimpy became a Burger King. Here is the parade of shops in 2009, with Boots, Evans and Waterstones.

Edinburgh Princes Street 2009

Edinburgh Princes Street 2009

Source: Beth’s Blogging (design) Blog

All the shops left and the building was empty for a number of years. Then in 2011, Apple started a $20 million reconstruction of the whole building, with the insides totally changed but keeping the grand exterior facade as it was – as fortunately this is a listed building.

This is a photo taken by my brother in March 2015 – we can see it is an Apple Store and a Barclays, and the Royal British Hotel is still there. The Apple branding is very subtle, and the interior is completely open – quite different from it’s Woolworths day, yet the exterior is keeping its heritage. Good work Apple.

Edinburgh Apple Store 2015

Edinburgh Apple Store/Barclays 2015

Birmingham Bull Ring – Store 103

105/107 The Bull Ring Centre, Birmingham B5 4QN

Originally, Woolworths opened in Birmingham City Centre on Spiceal Street in 1921, 6 years before the nearby New Street branch opened.

THEN:

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1921

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1921

Source: Woolworths Museum

It was hugely successful in this location – sales were amongst the highest in the country in the 1930s – so they doubled it in size, with the addition of a large restaurant, and then made further enhancements in the 1950s. You can see below how it is over 2 stores.

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1959

Birmingham Woolworths Spiceal Street 1959

Source: Nicklin, Phyllis http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/263/

Major changes were to come in the 1960s – “Woolworths own construction department worked closely with town planners and Taylor Woodrow to devise a massive redevelopment scheme for the City Centre. By releasing land owned by Woolworths they traded both for cash and a brand new store in a new shopping precinct to be known as the Bull Ring Centre. Half of the original Bullring store was demolished to allow for development, with a new ultra-modern Woolies built in its place. Woolworths then swapped into the new site allowing the rest of the old store to be redeveloped.” Source: 100thbirthday,co.uk 

I have included the below photo so you can see the location of the St Martin church – this is how we can work out what is in the same location today. This is in 1962 when the new Bull Ring Centre store is being contructed with the old store next door still trading.

Birmingham Woolworths 1962

Birmingham Woolworths 1962

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffsimages/7161080582/

The Bull Ring Centre was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in May 1964. Linked by escalators and stairs, with 23 acres of space, air-conditioning, valet parking and tropical plants(!), it was the biggest indoor shopping centre in Europe, with the largest Woolworths in Europe. Watch this video for a nostalgic insight into the building: Bull Ring Opening Video

Below is a photo from 1966, showing the ultra-modern new flagship Woolworths. It was the superstore of its time, with modernised ranges and shop-fittings, featuring a large foodhall, an extended clothing range, plus a top floor cafe where they had a ‘never seen before’ iced water machine.

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths 1966

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths 1966

Source: Dowling, Geoff 

Unfortunately, just 20 years later, in 1983 the store closed for business, when the board decided to sell larger stores to release capital – “The Bull Ring store was one of the first to be disposed by Kingfisher in 1983 to another developer planning to raise the whole site to the ground and replace it with something architecturally significant.” (Source: 100thbirthday,co.ukThere wasn’t a Woolies in the City Centre until the 1990s when they re-opened in the Pallasades Shopping Centre.

Birmingham Woolworths 1983

Birmingham Woolworths 1983

Source: Birmingham City Centre Past Facebook group

Some forums say Mark One traded from this building in the 1990s, but this was on the other side of the ramp – so I am presuming it lay empty for decades, before the Bull Ring Centre was demolished in 2000. The new Bullring shopping centre was then built, opening in September 2003.

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths Demolition 2000s

Birmingham Bull Ring Woolworths Demolition 2000s

Source: Wilde, Brett

Below is a photo from 2007 after the new shopping centre was opened with the new Selfridges chain-mail building in the foreground. Behind the church is Borders which looks as though this was where the original Woolworths building would have been. Borders have since closed down.

Birmingham Bullring from north 2007

Birmingham Bullring from north 2007

Source: Warrins, Gavin 

In 2011, the Bullring was extended to have a new ‘Spiceal Street’ centre with restaurants (see below). So I would say this corner is where the Bull Ring Woolworths once stood.

NOW:

Birmingham Bullring 2011

Birmingham Bullring 2011

Source: http://bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk/spiceal-street-opening/

 

Brighton – Store 73

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.

Brighton Woolworths 1930s

Brighton Woolworths 1930s

Source: Regencysociety.org

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.

Brighton Woolworths 2004

Brighton Woolworths 2004

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/winfield370/3622748369

This store became a 10/10 new format store in the 2000s, before closing for good on 30 December 2008.

Brighton Woolworths 2008

Brighton Woolworths 2008

The building didn’t stay empty for long, in April 2009 H&M announced they would be moving in.

H&M Brighton 2009

H&M Brighton 2009

Source: www.jacksoncriss.co.uk

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 🙂

Brighton H&M 2014

Brighton H&M 2014

Dovercourt – Store 535

246-250 High Street, Dovercourt, Essex CO12 3PA

Woolworths opened in the small Essex seaside town of Dovercourt in 1934.

Dovercourt Woolworths 1934

Dovercourt Woolworths 1934

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/harwichs/7148594819

overcourt Woolworths 1936

Dovercourt Woolworths 1936

Source: http://www.harwichanddovercourt.com/

Known as the ‘3d 7 6d store’, the frontage increased by one half in 1937.
Source: Through the Shop Window – http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/shop-window/

Dovercourt Woolworths 1937

Dovercourt Woolworths 1937

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/harwichs/5519215995/

Dovercourt Woolworths 2005

Dovercourt Woolworths 2005

Below is the store just before it closed for good on 30th December 2008. I like this picture as you can really compare the High Street with the 1936 postcard above.  It looks like Nationwide was the ‘Developing & Printing’ shop, and what was Boots at the far end of the street in 1936 is now painted yellow.
Woolworths Dovercourt 2008

Woolworths Dovercourt 2008

An Iceland opened in it’s place in September 2009. Here it is:
Dovercourt Iceland 2010

Dovercourt Iceland 2010