2 – 4 Albert Road, Widnes, Cheshire WA8 6JF
Widnes was the first Woolworths store to open in the year of 1926. The store was on the corner of Albert Road and Winfield Way. It was not a purpose-built store as the building was part of a parade of shops. But the actual shopfront was Woolworths style with the store wrapping around the corner (see on the left of this photo).
The store was a long, narrow store that went quite far back, and quite a unique store as it had it’s original fascia well into the 1990s!
Carl Meredith worked at the store in the 90s and he has some interesting facts:
“The store sign was never updated from the original “F W Woolworths & Co Ltd” until the store had its convenience refurb in the summer of 1994, when it got its more modern “WOOLWORTHS” sign. It never had the any other version of the sign through the 70s and 80s – so no curly “W” or the big capitals letters version of the sign.
Notice as well, no shutters on the store at this time in history – unfortunately, with the rise in the popularity of video games in the mid-90s, the store had multiple break-ins through the store front window. After this, shutters were installed.”
The store lasted until the end, when Woolworths went bust in 2008. This picture was taken by Carl a couple of days before closing in December 2008. He says, “The 3D letters of the sign which the store had in the 90s were replaced in the early 00s with this flat, plain (dare I say cheaper?) version of the store sign.”
Source: Meredith C.
Two months later, the store became a B&M.
More recently, B&M closed their store down (as there is also a huge Home Store in the town). In October 2018, Heron Foods opened in the building. If you are ever in town, take a closer look and you’ll recognise the Woolworths doors and windows.
Source: Meredith C.
60 – 62 Bridge Place, Worksop, Notts
We are into 1925 now, and the first Woolworths to open in this year was in Worksop. There are no photos of the store from the early years. This photo is from the 1970s after the store had a makeover with oversized letters.
Source: Worksop Guardian
There was an article from January 2009 in the Worksop Guardian with some memories from former employees:
Pensioner Sheila Jordan, 75, worked for seven years in Worksop’s Woolworths when she was a teenager and now her granddaughter faces unemployment having lost her job there.
“It used to be a great place to work, with a lovely atmosphere,” said Sheila, 75. “I started in 1948. I went there to work at Christmas, and they kept me on,” she said.
Sheila began working in the jewellery and toiletries department when she was 15-years old, before moving on to the ice cream parlour. Husband Stan said he first spotted his wife when she was working there. “I used to pop in and have a look and I thought ‘that’s for me’,” he said.
Sheila even starred on the front cover of Woolworths’ in-house national magazine when she was 19-years-old. “I was delighted when they picked me,” she said.
Mr Jordan said the whole family was really disappointed at the news of the closure. “You don’t expect a company like Woolworths to go,” he said.
Granddaughter Katy Jordan, 20, had been working in the offices for Woolworths for six months, and is now out of work. “We were all really disappointed when we heard it was closing,” said Katy, “We just kept thinking it wouldn’t happen. I think some people thought it could have been saved.”
Source: Worksop Guardian
Bridge Street was pedestrianised in 1989, and I am guessing that was when the Priory Shopping Centre was built. Woolworths stayed in its location on Bridge Place but had a rear entrance on the shopping centre side (pictured below).
Source: Sheffield History Forum
The store closed in December 2008, and it became a B&M. This is the front entrance.
And this is the rear entrance.
98 – 104 English Street, Carlisle, Cumberland CA3 8NE
Woolworths opened in Carlisle in 1924, though the location of this first store is unknown. In 1933 they relocated to English Street. The old workhouse had been sold to Woolworths, Burtons and two other retailers on a 99 year lease, and together they designed this building that was made of red sandstone. The corner store was Burton, and Woolworth was on its left. Later the store was extended to Victoria Viaduct, creating an L-shaped store.
Source: Emily and James
The building had ‘Woolworth Buildings’ engraved at the top. Carlisle was the district/area office, so I’m assuming this was why. According to a former employee, Carlisle store had the scariest area manager ever!
Source: Heritage and History
The store closed in December 2008, and it became a B&M store.
Source: Stopford A
The great thing is that if you look above the B&M store, you will see Woolworth Buildings still there – a lovely homage to the company.
8 Market Place, Grantham NG31 6LJ
Woolworths opened in Grantham in 1924, originally on Market Place – this photo shows all the men who helped build the store.
Source: Longland, M.
Woolworths traded from Market Place for just over 30 years before moving to bigger premises (see on the left of this 1950s photo).
Source: Francis Frith
This building is occupied by the Gravity Bar today.
Source: Lincolnshire Reporter
If you take a closer look at the fascia of Gravity, you will see surviving Woolworths Lion Head consoles, with the W erased.
Source: Building Our Past
46 High Street, Grantham, Lincolnshire
In 1957 Woolworths moved to the High Street, and three shops – Dewhurst butchers, the Grantham Journal and O’Brien’s Cycle Shop – were demolished to make way for the new store. The Grantham Journal was incorporated into the new building. The newspaper had been on this site since 1868.
In the 1990s Grantham was a pilot Heartland store. Heartland stores were a formula for market towns including “the Kitchen shop, improved displays of Toys and Kidswear, as well as new third-party ranges that could be delivered quickly and cheaply. Video rental brought a new dimension, complete with the obligatory chute at the back of the stores to return tapes out of hours. The stores also offered a dry cleaning service. New products included Petcare, an extended offer of home cleaning products, and a welcome return for a limited range of toiletries after a year-long absence, as well as Newspapers and Magazines.” (Extract from Woolworths Museum)
Former assistant store manager Matt Fox has fond memories of the store, it had a key place on Grantham High Street.
The store closed in December 2008 and today you will find B&M Bargains in its place.
154 – 155 High Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs
Woolworths opened in Burton-on-Trent in 1923, taking over the building of Pearson’s the tailor at number 154 High Street. The store did so well that they extended to number 155 the following year. There are no photos of the original store, this earliest photo I can find is this photo from when the store had a makeover in the 1970s. It wasn’t the prettiest of building, but it looked large and functional with a lot of entrance doors.
Source: Historic England
On 21st November 1983, the store relocated to the Coopers Square, leaving the High Street building empty for a decade.
Source: Soult G
In more recent years the building is now occupied by pubs, with a makeover on the upper floors that is more pleasing to the eye.
Meanwhile over on Coopers Square, the store was inside a shopping centre until the end in December 2008. Again I suspect this was a 10/10 trial store from the red flooring at the entrance and the large red fascia.
Burton-on-Trent Woolworths 2008
Today it is B&M bargains, and they have kept the Woolworths doors.
44 – 45 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil, Glam.
The 140th Woolworths store opened in Wales in 1923, in a town called Merthyr Tydfil.
Source: Francis Frith
In the 1970s the store had a makeover, with this recognisable style. The makeover probably coincided with the conversion to self-service.
Source: Alan George
The store closed in December 2008.
It became a B&M Bargains, but they then moved to a retail park – so this building is sadly empty again.
Park Buildings, Taff Street, Pontypridd, Glam
Woolworths opened in Pontypridd, Wales, in 1921. The site was called ‘Park Buildings’ on Taff Street, and they traded here all the way to the end in December 2008. Here are some photos over the years.
Source: Beilby D
Source: Cornfoot R
Today B&M Bargains traded from this site, the building looking the same. You can still see the Woolworths tiles.
153-157 High Street, Erdington, Birmingham, West Midlands B23 6TP
Woolworths opened in the Birmingham suburb of Erdington on the 8th November 1930. The store was on a corner plot on the High Street and on Barnabas Road. It was extended 5 years later in 1935. Below is a photo from 1950. The ground level was the sales floor with wooden flooring, and upstairs was the cafe.
In 1956 the store was extended again, with further expansion in 1968. Below is a view from 1960, looking across the High Street to the corner of Barnabas Road.
In 1982 the store was fully refurbished with a large food department, but then 4 years later food was withdrawn. There was another refurbishment in 1993, and in the 2000s it became a 10/10 store.
I asked local girl Christine Kapak what her favourite memories were from Erdington Woolies, and she said “CDs man, CDs…” – I’m sure we all remember buying our teenage music from Woolworths. Here is a photo a month before it sadly closed in January 2009.
Source: Hughes R
Today the building is occupied by a rather brash B&M Bargains, but you can still recognise the architecture above as a Woolies store. In fact it looks as though they have kept the Woolies doors and windows too, just putting a new B&M fascia on the front.
190 High Street, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1JS
This store was one of the early ones, opened in the 20s. Below is a picture I found in Slough library from the 1930s (Source: The Changing Face of Slough) – Woolworths is on the far left, and the Eagle pub is now River Island. Boots is on the far right, still there today.
Here is the store 20 years later, you can see in the background with the canopies. This was when the first EVER zebra crossing in the UK was opened in 1951 – on Slough High Street! It’s now just the pavement in between Boots and the Queensmere Shopping Centre. They should put a commemorative plaque here or something.
Source: The 1951 Club
Here is a postcard I found on Ebay – Woolworths is on the left. It appears they did a store makeover in the 1960s and changed the front facade.
Below is the High Street store in 1982 “with notice in the window announcing that the store would be closing in February for two weeks for alterations”
Now my mum and I were in Slough in July 1983 the day before she gave birth to my brother. I said to her, ‘Wow so do you remember Woolworths when it was in the High Street then?’ – She says to me ‘Yes it was outside’
8, The Observatory, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1LE
Woolworths left the High Street site in 1984, and then opened in the Observatory on 14th June 1991 (where Primark is now). Below is a photo of the store being opened by retail director Martin Toogood and store manager Ken Webstar. According to the Woolworths Museum website, “…several Shopping Centres, like Slough’s Observatory Centre, offered ‘anchor’ sites in new developments at heavily discounted, capped rents. These stores opened long before the neighbouring properties were occupied, and helped to persuade others to take on tenancies.”
Source: Woolworths Museum
106/109 Queensmere, Slough, Berkshire SL1 1DQ
In 2000, the store moved to the Queensmere Shopping Centre, taking over the C&A site when they closed down. It was quite a large store with an upstairs floor too. Here is a photo I took when it was closing down in December 2008, with it’s last day of trading being 2nd January 2009.
Today it is B&M Bargains, downstairs floor only, a cluttered store selling a mis-match of home goods, furniture, food and toys – remind you of anywhere? 😉