62 – 63 Biggin Street, Dover, Kent CT16 1DD
Woolworths opened their 47th store in Dover in 1915 on Biggin Street. The store was purpose-built, next to a shoe shop called Marchant & Tubb on the junction with Priory Street. Here you can see blackout curtains put in during WWII, and unusually the ‘F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd’ looks painted on.
Source: Getty Images
There is conflicting information on the Woolworths Museum website that says the store got completely destroyed in WWII, but the below photo is supposedly from the 1950s. Unless that date is wrong.
Source: Dover Blog
You can see that the building still exists today but you might not recognise it as it’s been painted grey with all the decorative cornicing removed. The corner building next door has gone so perhaps it was bombed but the Woolworths building survived.
Woolworths had tried to purchase the whole block between Worthington Street, Priory Street, Biggin Street and Priory Place, but several businesses held out. So Woolworth closed their Dover branch (date unknown), not re-opening until they acquired the old Post Office building on numbers 65-66 on the opposite corner of Priory Road in the 1990s (store 1206).
If you are ever shopping in Dover, do have a look up at Savers. It does look rather terrible with the crumbling flaky paint, but look at the windows and you’ll see these are the originals.
87 High Street, West Wickham, Kent BR4 0NZ
Woolworths opened in West Wickham High Street in 1935. You can see it in the centre of this 1950s photo.
Source: Beckenham History Website
They traded from this site without much change to the exterior at all. This was one of the stores that had the doors to one side rather than in the centre. It closed on 30th December 2008.
Source: Flickr, Danny
Shortly after it’s closure, a Carpetright opened here, where it still trades today.
Source: Flickr, Mark
184/190 High Street, Chatham, Kent ME4 4AX
One of the very early stores, Woolworths opened on Chatham High Street in 1913. There aren’t any photos of the original store, and sadly it was one of 26 Woolworths stores that got completely destroyed in World War II.
1n 1948 rebuilding work began, and Chatham got the iconic cinema-style look for their store, as seen below:
Source: Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre
Move forward to 2008, and you can see the building itself had not changed at all. (Photo from my facebook group)
The store closed down in December 2008. Today the building houses one half of the mega-Primark in Chatham (the other half is in the old BHS building. A cafe splits the two, but they are linked at the rear.) If you’re ever shopping in Chatham, look up and you’ll see a bit of Woolies history there.
93/105 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7JN
Woolworths originally opened in Bexleyheath at 93 The Broadway in 1930. This is a photo of the Broadway in 1935, the Woolworth store is possibly one of these buildings.
In 1984 the Broadway Shopping Centre was built. The whole parade of shops on the Broadway was demolished and Woolworths moved into the centre, with a very large store with an entrance facing the Broadway at no. 77 (which is Argos today) and an entrance facing the inside of the shopping centre.
Source: Local Data Company
1n 1990 the store was cut in half. The half they gave up was split into 3 units – one became Miss Selfridge, then HMV and then Select, the second unit became Superdrug, and the third became Argos. Woolworths traded as a smaller store from the other half.
In 2000 Woolworths relocated across the shopping centre into the old Safeway unit, which was funnily enough back at 93 The Broadway. It had a new store number – 1226.
Source: Chase, J., Museum of London
The store traded from here until it closed for good in 2008.
Now the building is occupied by New Look inside the shopping centre and H&M from the Broadway side.