Tag Archives: BHS

Leicester – Store 49

50a – 54 Gallowtree Gate, Leicester LE1 1DB

Woolworths opened their 49th store in Leicester on Gallowtree Gate in 1915. The store was substantially enlarged in the 1920s and 1930s, as it was a very popular store.

Leicester Woolworths 1930s

Leicester Woolworths 1930s

Source: Leicester Memories

Leicester Woolworths 1930s

Leicester Woolworths 1930s

Source: Soult’s Retail View

 

A new look F. W. Woolworth store opened in Gallowtree Gate, Leicester in 1965, having been upgraded without actually closing. It was a ‘store of the future, with a new look inside and out – new music (the first to get a “modern” record department), soft goods, grocery (food hall on first floor), fashion and sports counters and a first floor restaurant. It had two large salesfloors, each with a brightly polished terrazzo marble floor in the firm’s distinctive pink and grey chessboard pattern.

Leicester Woolworths 1960s

Source: Woolworths Museum

The store was one of a few that pioneered new lighting, flooring and wooden ‘Clothing Tower’ fixtures. It had a sixty foot (18m) fashion counter featured garments in every colour of the rainbow. Nylon and Courtelle fabrics took the place of wool and cotton, but purchasers rarely returned for more, after finding the fabrics itchy and chafing.

Leicester Woolworths 1960s

Leicester Woolworths 1960s

Source: Leicester Mercury

In the 1980s, the Leicester store modernised again as a prototype ‘Weekend’ store and it was a hit with shoppers.

Leicester Woolworths 1980s

Leicester Woolworths 1980s

Source: Memories of Leicester

But shortly afterwards the building was sold to BHS when Kingsfisher took over and they were selling off city centre stores to make money. This store closed in 1984, there was a 2 year gap and then they opened a new store in Haymarket Shopping Centre in 1986 (Store 1141).

Leicester Former Woolworths - BHS 2010

Leicester Former Woolworths – BHS 2010

Source: Soult’s Retail View

Of course now BHS has also gone bust, so this building is vacant, still with the BHS fascia though. If you are in town, you can see the building, it’s next to The Works and Caffe Nero.

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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

Weston-super-Mare – Store 81

64 High Street, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset BS23 1HX

Woolworths opened in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare very early on, in 1919. You can see the building before it was a Woolworths in the below photo – in the centre with the roof windows.

Weston-Super-Mare High Street 1901

Weston-super-Mare High Street 1901

Source: Past and Present Publications

Here is a photo of the Woolworths store when it was trading. You can see they did not change the building at all, apart from removing the roof windows. Quite interesting, perhaps they were not allowed to demolish and build in their own style, as they had in other towns. It is a beautiful building, so I’d say this was a good thing. Bhs next door had demolished their building, replacing it with a rather 50s looking building.

Weston-Super-Mare Woolworths 2008

Weston-super-Mare Woolworths 2008

(Photo from my Facebook group)

The store closed for good on 30th December 2008.

Weston-Super-Mare Woolworths 2009

Weston-super-Mare Woolworths 2009

Source: White R., Flickr

The following year, Poundland opened, and here it is from when I visited the busy high street this week.

Weston-super-Mare Poundland 2015

Weston-super-Mare Poundland 2015

Weston-super-Mare Poundland 2015

Weston-super-Mare Poundland 2015

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

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