142/146 High Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 7JL
One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened in the North London town of Stoke Newington in 1915. It was part of a parade of shops, not a specifically purpose-built store, and you can see it below through the decades looking relatively unchanged.
Source: Flickr, Hornbeam Arts
Source: Flickr, Hornbeam Arts
Photo from my Facebook group.
After Woolworths closed on 27th December 2008, Iceland bought the store in January 2009, where it is still trading today.
101 High Street, Billericay, Essex CM12 9AW
Woolworths opened in Billericay in 1955/1956. They took over the site of the Telephone Exchange on the High Street, which had been on this spot from 1929 – 1952. The Telephone Exchange was demolished and Woolworths built the store in the below photo. It opened at a time when Self Service was just being introduced to the High Street – you can see the sign above the doorway in the centre.
Here is a lovely memory of Billericay Woolworths in the 1950s:
“And there is Woolworths which when it arrived meant we had become a modern town. I can smell the newness of it still. It was our first experience of a self-service store with bright lights and wooden floors and low counters. Later I got my first Saturday job there earning the princely sum of 12s and 9d for the whole day. Mostly I remember my brother and I selecting a birthday gift there for mother with great love. We chose a pink plaster poodle standing appealingly on its hind legs, its collar studded with diamonds. We did not see its tawdriness just its cuteness and picking up a box paid for it and hurried home only to find the box was empty. It had taken us so long to save that shilling and we rushed back the two miles so distressed we were hardly able to speak, but the supervisor, Miss Lamb, was compassion personified and mother got her birthday present after all.” Aileen Wortley, Billericayhistory.org.uk
The store traded here for over 50 years until it closed for good on 2nd January 2009.
Source: Tim@SW2008, Flickr
An Iceland opened in it’s place quite soon after.
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven
442/446 Holloway Road, London N7 6QE
I had many fond memories of Holloway Road from the 1990s when I started my student life, but I did not recall a Woolworths. So when I saw it listed on the 1970s store list, the idea for this whole blog began…
Woolworths opened on the bustling Holloway Road in the 1920s, opposite the Nags Head public house of which the area is now named after. Here is a photo from the 1950s, when trolleybuses were in use – there was a bus stop directly outside the store. There were upper floors, so I would say this was quite a large Woolworths.
Source: Carter, C
Below are two photos from the 1960s, where we can see the neighbouring buildings were J Lyons tea shop and H Samuel jewellers. It appears the road has also been enlarged since the 1950s.
Source: Pask, Brian
Source: Bannister, Geoff
Somewhere along the line, there was a makeover, I am guessing in the mid-1960s from the look of the building today. Then the store closed, possibly in the 1980s when Kingfisher took over, I can only speculate. What I do know is that it was definitely an Iceland in 1997.
Here is a more recent image of this parade of shops from 2010, where we can clearly see Iceland is where Woolworths was. The J Lyon tea shop is now Mothercare, H Samuel is T-Mobile (although probably an EE store now), and Marks & Spencer is still there looking remarkably unchanged. How was that for a lovely trip back in time 🙂
Source: diamond geezer
246-250 High Street, Dovercourt, Essex CO12 3PA
Woolworths opened in the small Essex seaside town of Dovercourt in 1934.
Known as the ‘3d 7 6d store’, the frontage increased by one half in 1937.
Source: Through the Shop Window – http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/shop-window/
48- 50 The Broadway, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9PT
“Opened as store #512 on 9 September 1933, it was later renumbered as #2023 in about 2000, at the point where it was converted to the new ‘Woolworths General Store’ format. Though that concept turned out to be shortlived, the store continued to trade – still under its General Store fascia – until Woolworths’ collapse.” Source: http://www.soultsretailview.co.uk
I spoke to ex-Greenford employee Ganesh Jillah, who worked there from 1995 – 2001, and took the below photo when it closed for good in 2008. He reminisced “I remember when we moved the entertainment counter from the left side to the right and then back to the left in all the store refits”. I said “What? How did you move a whole entertainment counter” He said “We was Woolworths. We coulda done anything. And we did.”
He also mentioned the presence of ghosts at Greenford. “One evening, me and Stewart were cashing up when we heard all the sound books go off, you know the kids books where you press a button and it makes a sound. And there was no one else in store, just me and Stewart”
I said “What, all of them?”
“Yes ALL of them. We thought we must be hearing things and carried on. Went upstairs, came back down to lock up, suddenly the books start going off again, and one flew off the shelf. We legged it!”