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.
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.
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.
Here it is in the 1980s shortly before closing, with it’s updated logo.
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.
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.
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.
This post was originally written in 2015.
16 – 22 Park Street, Walsall, Staffs WS1 1NQ
Woolworths opened its 46th store in Walsall in 1915 on Park Street. Some time in the 1920s-30s, a new store was built on the site – the earliest frontage in art deco style to be designed by Woolworths staff architects, incorporating an angular version of the lion-head logo (see them at the tops of the windows) – the lion’s head emphasised Woolworth’s efforts to stock goods of British manufacture in the aftermath of WW1.
Source: Historic England
In 1953 the store was decorated for the Queen’s Coronation.
Source: Walsall Council
The back of the store could be seen from the bus station.
Source: Fisher R.
In the 1970s the fascia was updated.
Source: Jones, S.
I found this comment from a former Saturday boy: “…Woolworths, where I once had a Saturday job. The building to the left used to be Boots. All us Woolies people envied the conditions of the Boots staff – they even had a staff hairdressing salon on the roof.”
Source: Black Country History
The store closed soon after the above photo was taken. Years later, a new Woolies opened elsewhere in Walsall Town Wharf (store 1194). The Park Street store became a Currys and Dixons in the 1980s.
Today the building is occupied by Barclays and Diffusion, and you can still admire the elegance of the Woolworths architecture and lion heads above.
Source: Chertsey130 Blog
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.
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.
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.
Source: Flickr, Sarah
In 1987, there was a conversion to a Focus store and the more familiar fascia we all remember.
Source: Flickr, Sarah
Chelmsford Woolworths closed on Friday 2nd January 2009.
(From my Facebook group)
Source: Flickr, Mathews T.
In 2010 Barclays Bank moved to the High Street side. The Entertainer and Lakeland moved into the Springfield Road side.
163/165 High Road, Balham, London SW12 9BG
Woolworths opened on Balham High Road in 1928. It took over the premises 2 doors down from Barclays Bank, which you can see in the below 1915 postcard.
Source: Wandsworth Heritage Service
It was a very successful store, winning a regional window-dressing contest in the 1930s. Woolworths used to sell individual feathers for 3p each, as accessories for hats and gowns. The window dresser created a bird out of these feathers for the winning display:
Source: Woolworths Museum
In 1940 during WW2, a bomb hit Balham High Road in front of the Woolworths store, hitting the Northern Line Tube Station platform below. A bus crashed into the crater. Here is a photo of the bus being lifted out – behind the bus would have been where the Woolworth store was.
Source: Feeling My Age
Below is a great photo from 1974, showing Woolworths with it’s 70s fascia. This shopping parade is quite unique as it appears to have houses above each store to the rear.
In 2000, the store was one of the first to be converted to a Woolworths General Store, which offered a pharmacy, health & beauty products, general merchandise and convenience food. Balham was a pilot, renumbered to store 2002, with a Superdrug pharmacy moved instore. The General Store format didn’t do well, and it went back to a normal Woolworths store some years later.
A more recent photo, this is shortly before Woolworths closed on 5th January 2009, window displays not looking as great as they did in the 1930s.
Source: hugovk, Flickr
That same year, a 99p store opened in it’s place. Here is a photo I took this month, with it’s new updated fascia (I don’t like it) and Barclays Bank still alive and thriving.