Tag Archives: Commercial Road

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.

Portsmouth – Store 35

121/127 Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hants PO1 1D

100 years ago, on 22nd August 1914, Woolworths opened in the naval city of Portsmouth on Commercial Road, a year before the neighbouring Southsea branch opened. The premises started off small, but had a series of extensions in 1926, 1934 and 1938. Below is a postcard of Commercial Road in the 1920s, so you can imagine somewhere along this street stood the Woolworths.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1920s

Source: Postcards of the Past

With the city being a major naval port, it suffered terribly during WW2, and the Woolworths building was one of the casualties, being totally destroyed on 11th January 1941. The staff were moved to the nearby Fratton store.
A huge superstore was built in its place, reopening in stages from 1950 to 1953. Below is a photo that may possibly be one of the opening days from all the crowds outside.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Flickr – The House of Blue Leaves

The size of the shop may have looked normal from the front, but from this birds eye view, you can see the scale of the store – massive.
Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s - birds eye view

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s – birds eye view

The back of the store had a lovely curved feature with huge long windows. This was where the restaurant stood, on a mezzanine floor, with a spiral staircase by the windows leading up to the seating area. The restaurant had light flooding in from the windows, and there was rarely a seat free with it being so popular with customers.
Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths Back 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Portsmouth Restaurant Seating Area

Source: Woolworths Museum

Here is a photo of the finished store in the late 1950s, with Littlewoods next door in a similar styled building.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1950s

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below is a 1970s photo of Commercial Road from ‘A Tale of One City’, with Woolworths on the far left. This was shortly before the road was pedestrianised.

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Portsmouth Woolworths 1972

Source: A Tale of One City 

After the road was pedestrianised, Woolworths also had a 70s makeover, and below is a photo showing the new fascia.
Portsmouth  Woolworths 1970s

Portsmouth Woolworths 1970s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Between 1986-1989, the Cascades Shopping Centre was being built at the rear of the shops on Commercial Road, and Woolworths had to reduce its size as a result, and lose that lovely restaurant and those curved windows 😦
There wasn’t much change in the 1990s… My cousin worked there one Christmas – she reminisces “Yeah, it was fun”
Here is a photo from 2004, showing Woolworths really standing out with their signage. Littlewoods Extra is next door, but they closed down the year after and Primark took over that space.
Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Portsmouth Woolworths 2004

Source: Woolworths Museum

Below are two photos from 2008 before Woolworths closed down, one from the High Street and the other from the Cascades shopping centre entrance.

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 - front

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – front

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths  2008 - back

Portsmouth Woolworths 2008 – back

Source: Flickr – Jainbow

Portsmouth Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008. The shop lay empty for 2 and a half years, possibly as it was such a large space. Then in 2011, neighbouring Primark announced they were planning to extend into the 30,000 sq ft space, creating one giant super-Primark.

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Portsmouth Primark 2014

Source: 192.com