Tag Archives: Blitz

Leyton – Store 129 / 2024

612-614a Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, London E10 7DL

One of the early London stores, this one opened in 1923 in the Bakers Arms district on Lea Bridge Road, with a striking Art Deco facade. It was an L-Shaped store with the main entrance on Lea Bridge Road, and a smaller side entrance on the High Road.

Leyton Woolworths 1939 - front

Leyton Woolworths 1939 – front

In these photos taken in 1939, the windows had been neatly taped up for safety, to prepare for the war. As a result, both frontages stayed intact during the blitz.

Leyton Woolworths 1939 - High Road side

Leyton Woolworths 1939 – High Road side

Somewhere along the line you can see the Woolworth fascia got a sixties makeover, just looking at the typeface used.

Leyton Woolworths 1967 - 1975

Leyton Woolworths 1967 – 1975

Above three photos – source: Historic England

In the 2000s, this was one of the stores chosen to be a general store, and had it’s store number renamed from 129 to 2024.

Leyton Woolworths 2008

Leyton Woolworths 2008

Source: Lock, D.

Then it was tranformed back to a normal Woolworths until its closure in December 2008.

Woolworths Leyton 2008

Woolworths Leyton 2008

Source: Flickr

Today the main part of the building is an Iceland, and it is pleasing to see the Art Deco facade remains.

Leyton Iceland Former Woolworths 2017

Leyton Iceland – Former Woolworths – 2017

Source: London Postcode Walks

The High Road side entrance is now a Greggs.

Leyton Greggs - High Road - former Woolworths

Leyton Greggs – High Road – former Woolworths

Source: All in London

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Swansea – Store 14 / 135

Store 14:
239-242 High Street, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA1 1PL

The FIRST Welsh store to join the chain, this store opened in 1912 on Castle Street.

Swansea Woolworths 1912

Swansea Woolworths 1912

Source: Woolworths Museum

Swansea Woolworths 1927

Swansea Woolworths 1927

Source: Francis Frith

The store was so successful that they bought out the neighbouring Hotel Cameron premises in 1927 and moved there in 1928. The original premises vanished in a junction improvement scheme.

Swansea Woolworths 1930s

Swansea Woolworths 1930s

Source: Swansea Recalled

The building was demolished down to the first floor after being bombed in the Blitz.

Swansea Woolworths 1940s

Swansea Woolworths 1940s

Source: Swansea Recalled

It was then used up to the first store, without the use of the old upper floor offices which had proved difficult to sub-let in the Great Depression anyway. Here is how it looked in 1949. The Cafeteria signage was the same, but the 3d and 6d lettering was dropped.

Swansea Woolworths 1949

Swansea Woolworths 1949

Source: Woolworths 100 Years on the High Street, Kathryn A Morrison

1n 1958-59, the store was rebuilt in a 60s style, as you can see in the photo below, opening on 16th November 1959. This is the building that Swansea locals will recognise as Argos today. On 28th June 1986 the store closed as part of cost-cutting back in the 1980s, and sold to Argos. Understandable as there was another Woolworths store just 5 minutes walk away from this site.

Swansea Woolworths 1959

Swansea Woolworths 1959

Source: Woolworths 100 Years on the High Street, Kathryn A Morrison

Here is it as Argos today.

Swansea Woolworths-Argos-2017

Swansea Woolworths-Argos-2017

Store 135 :
242-246 Oxford Street, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA1 3BA

Meanwhile over at Oxford Street in Swansea, a Woolworths store opened in 1923.

Swansea Woolworths 2008

Swansea Woolworths 2008

I actually can’t find any information at all about this particular store, or how it looked between 1923 and 2008. This building is now Poundland.

Swansea Poundland 2017

Swansea Poundland 2017

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

Southampton – Store 128

64/66 Above Bar Street, Southampton SO9 5UD

Woolworths opened a branch on Above Bar Street on 7th February 1923, alongside the original Southampton Woolies on East Street (Store 24) which opened in 1913. This newer one was a larger store.

Southampton Woolworths 1930s

Southampton Woolworths 1930s

Source: http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/images/0128Southampton-1930s.jpg

Former resident Margaret House remembers this store, “From memory, the original Woolies there was a long narrow shop, one storey, with a sloping floor. Had a cafe area at the far end of the shop where Mum would treat me to a Horlicks drink. That would have been late 40s early fifties.” Source: Southampton Memories: People and Places Facebook Group

Unfortunately this building got destroyed in the Blitz and had to be rebuilt. “The branch had re-opened in stages from 1949 until 1954. The final wave saw the opening of an upper salesfloor, with a customer restaurant and a large new clothing department. Garments were displayed hanging on the walls. The shopfit included new spotlighting to give extra prominence to the feature. For the first time customers were invited to select for themselves from the displays rather than asking an assistant for help. The product selection included a number of garments costing between twenty and forty shillings (£1 to £2).”
Source: http://www.woolworthsmuseum.co.uk/1950s-i-fasion.htm

Below shows how the new building looked:

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

 Source: http://www.facebook.com/SouthamptonMemories

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Southampton Woolworths 1960s

Source: Southampton Heritage Photos Facebook Group

Ex-Woolworths employee Ganesh Jillah who worked at Southampton from 1997-1999 says, “I remember when Titanic was released on video in October ’98. We were all working a late shift, and we had on Titanic t-shirts. The store was open as a special event from 9pm ’til 11pm on the Sunday, or maybe it was 8 ’til 12. There was a big queue of people outside the store all along the street! We had an orchestra playing like they had in the Titanic.” I asked him why Southampton in particular. He said it was because the Titanic had sailed from Southampton.

Woolworths Titanic Poster - Southampton

Titanic Poster – Southampton Woolworths

 

Southampton Woolworths 2006

Southampton Woolworths 2006

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/_moonpie/230871673

Southampton Woolworths 2007

Southampton Woolworths 2007

Source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/heritage/hampshireheritage

The store closed in September 2007 to the shock of many locals and employees, after the landlord offered them loads of money to end the lease 10 years early. TK Maxx and the Card Factory took it’s place. The canopies have gone but you can still see the same windows from the 1960s photo.

Southampton TK Maxx 2014

Southampton TK Maxx 2014

Source: www.192.com

Woolworths bosses then decided to open a new store in nearby Bitterne, in October 2008 (even though there was already a closed store in this area – store 1005, 401/403 Bitterne Road). Well this new one ended up being the last new store to be opened before the chain collapsed.