106-110 High Street, New Malden, Surrey KT3 4EY
Woolworths opened in a small store on New Malden High Street in 1936, then extending in 1939. You can see it below on the right, 3 stores down from Timothy Whites (which is now Boots).
Source: Francis Frith
In 1964, the store extended into the neighbouring building and was refurbished, modernised and converted to self-service.
Source: Pinterest, O’Malley N
Source: Francis Frith
There was further modernisation in 1978.
In 2000 the store was converted to a Woolworths General Store format, with a new store number 2019. Two years later it went back to being a normal Woolworths, and was then upgraded to a 10/10 store. It closed down in December 2008.
Source: Flickr, Dawson F
The building was then taken over by a discount store who didn’t take the Woolworths fascia down! This photo was taken in 2010:
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven
And now it is a Poundland.
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven
6 Grand Parade, High Street, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1BU
Woolworths opened on the High Street in Crawley on 26th July 1940. It was the last store in the chain to open for another 6 years, due to World War 2. Below you can see it’s the building with the awning and a car parked in front of it. The Woolworth architects had designed an upper balcony and a small turret on the roof.
Source: Grandma P’s Ramblings
This store closed in 1957 when they moved to the ‘new town’. The building was subsequently occupied by a Halifax branch, and today it is a Wetherspoons pub – The Jubilee Oak. The building has not changed at all.
17-19 Queens Square, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1EA
In the 1950s, Crawley was designated as a ‘new town’ by the government due to it’s rapidly expanding population. Woolworths moved from it’s small High St store to Queens Square where it opened as the largest self-service store of the 1950s.
Here is an extract from the Woolworths Museum:
“In 1957 Woolworth bosses went a step further, opening a much larger self-service store in Crawley New Town. A small store in the High Street was replaced by a much larger branch in nearby Queen’s Square. Executives hoped that a halo effect from the marketing of the new town, which portrayed it as ultra-modern, would help to break down customer resistance to the new format. The store layout included a number of new display ideas, with fully redesigned fixtures and fittings. For the first time gondola islands were used, with shelving from top to bottom, without understocks cupboards at the base. This style of shelving remains the standard for most retailers in the twenty-first century. At the time it was a first and proved quite controversial. Some customers complained that they had to stoop to pick up items on the bottom two shelves, while company bosses worried that the stock cost to fill the Crawley store was almost double the level of a comparable personal-service store. Despite the reservations of some older customers, the overall feedback from the Crawley shoppers was positive. Most liked the layout and thought the store was very up-to-date.”
Now here’s something random. You can buy a 252 piece jigsaw puzzle of the Crawley Woolworths 1950s store front from Amazon here. Shipped from America. Weird!
Here you can see it in 1971, looking a bit shabby after 14 years.
Source: Flickr, JR James Archive
Another random fact, Chico did an instore signing of his single D.I.S.C.O in Crawley Woolworths in August 2006.
Here is the store in 2008, before it closed later that year.
Today the building is occupied by Poundland. It was planned to demolish the building in 2013 as part of the Queens Square regeneration, but it is staying put and the actual square is being renovated now.
Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven
64 High Street, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset BS23 1HX
Woolworths opened in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare very early on, in 1919. You can see the building before it was a Woolworths in the below photo – in the centre with the roof windows.
Source: Past and Present Publications
Here is a photo of the Woolworths store when it was trading. You can see they did not change the building at all, apart from removing the roof windows. Quite interesting, perhaps they were not allowed to demolish and build in their own style, as they had in other towns. It is a beautiful building, so I’d say this was a good thing. Bhs next door had demolished their building, replacing it with a rather 50s looking building.
(Photo from my Facebook group)
The store closed for good on 30th December 2008.
Source: White R., Flickr
The following year, Poundland opened, and here it is from when I visited the busy high street this week.
97-101 Terminus Road, Eastbourne, Sussex
In the 1920s, Woolworth’s headquarters in London would receive nomination letters every day, suggesting a town where the chain should open. One of those towns was Eastbourne, for which the architects created a rather grand design. The store opened in 1924 on Terminus Road.
This photo was taken in the 1950s – we can tell by the number plate on the bus. In 1955, a second Woolworths store opened in Eastbourne in the old Regal Cinema building at 143 Seaside (Store 849) – I’ll cover that store in a separate blog post.
Source: Godfrey G., Flickr
According to locals on The History of Eastbourne Facebook page, the back doors opened up on to Tideswell Road. There used to be an alley that ran along the left side of the store to this road. In 1980, the Arndale Shopping centre was built behind the shops on Terminus Road, and the back of the Woolworths store was knocked through to the new shopping centre.
Eastbourne Woolworths is not on the 2008 store list, so it closed before the company went into administration.
Today the building is occupied by Poundland at 97-99, and Thomas Cook is at 101.
Source: Fawcett Mead
24-25 High Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3ET
Woolworths opened on Chippenham High Street in April 1933.
The store was modernised in 1957/58.
Then in 1974, the store was converted to self-service, with further modernisation the following year. In 1977 a Garden Centre was added as an annex. This was when the recognisable single floor frontage was replaced with a smooth 2-floor frontage which you can see below.
Chippenham Woolworths was an Early Operation Focus comparison store, having a full refurbishment in 1986. In 1990, the Garden Centre annex was closed and put up for sale. During the 1990s the store was used for concept development, pioneering the Heartland store format (which included reopening the Garden Centre as a salesfloor extension, giving space to reintroduce petcare, a limited range of toiletries and video rental). The store appeared in Analysts video in 1995 to illustrate how the business had changed and managed to generate £100m profit in a single year. Heartland elements were progressively dropped and the store narrowly escaped selection as a Woolworths General Store – instead it was upgraded to the latest 10/10 specification after demerger. (Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk)
Source: Wright J.
2008 photo from my Facebook group:
The store closed in January 2009. I took this photo when I visited Chippenham in April 2009:
Today the unit has been split into two stores – Poundland and Costa Coffee.
Source: ballysundriven, Flickr
106-108 Market Jew Street, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 2LA
Woolworths came to Penzance in April 1936, opening on Market Jew Street. The store was extended in 1938. Below is a 1955 photo – Woolworths in the centre on the right hand side, with the triangle feature on the roof.
Source: Francis Frith
In 1972, the store was modernised, refurbished and converted to self-service, and then in 1986 there was an upgrade to the Comparison Store format.
Source: Hearson M, Flickr
There was a further refurb in 1993. Below is a photo in 2007, a year before they closed down.
Source: Burford R, Flickr
They closed for good on 27th December 2008. Here is when the letters were took off just before the annual Mazey Day celebrations.
Source: Hughs, R
In July 2009, a Poundland (surprise, surprise!) opened in this building. Here it is:
Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr
Dates source: 100thbirthday.co.uk
5 – 7 London Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 7AB
Woolworths originally opened at 5 London Street in Basingstoke Old Town on 19th November 1921, taking over the premises of William Cannon, the butchers. They extended in 1935 into part of the drapery shop of J Boyer next door, making a larger store.
In Febraury 1959 the store was extended and modernised further. Below is how the new store looked.
Source: R L Brown, Sense of Place South East
1/13 Chiswick House, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7LD
On 23rd October 1970 they relocated to Basingstoke’s new shopping centre, opening a HUGE new self-service store, with a restaurant, in a 3-storey building called Chiswick House. The Post Office moved into the empty London Street store. From this photo it looks as though it was all an indoor shopping centre, but today that ceiling has been opened up.
The move to self-service was a big deal in the 70s. On February 1971 they celebrated “D” Day – when half of all Woolworths stores had moved to self-service and decimalisation. Here is the cash wrap desk upstairs in the Clothing department at Basingstoke.
Source: Woolworths Museum
1993 the store was cut to half its size, and other stores opened up in Chiswick House. Today Poundland, Vision Express and Specsavers trade from that side.
In the 2000s it was one of the stores chosen to be a 10/10 store, still trading with a cafe, until it’s closure in December 2008.
Source: Talbot, C
The Post Office is still trading from the London Street location.
And the Chiswick House Woolies has been split into 2 units. Greggs and a clothes store called Internacionale (I think) trade from there. Apologies for the grainy image, I actually took a photo of the wrong store (Poundland!), so have had to screenshot this off my vlog.
Other sources: Basingstoke Gazette
13-15 Princes Street, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2RF
One of the later stores, Woolworths opened during the 1950s in the only city of Cornwall (and place of my birth) – Truro. It was located in quite a prominent area, next to the City Hall, and opposite the Trustee Savings Bank (ie TSB) and a rather important looking statue.
Source: Francis Frith
I couldn’t find much information about the store, apart from the fact it was massive! With its front entrance on Prince’s Street, it stretched the length of a road leading to a back entrance on Back Quay, off Lemon Quay. I would guess from these photos that the Prince’s Street building is something original from before Woolies’ time, and the back entrance on Lemon Quay was built by Woolworths as you can recognise the building style. Here is the front entrance shortly before it closed down.
The store closed down on 5th January 2009. Here’s a pic of me at the back entrance from when I visited a few months later.
On 25th June 2009 it reopened as a Poundland. They temporarily took the whole site, but then found it was too large for their needs, so split it into 2 units – Poundland taking the front and Cotswold Outdoors taking the back. You can also see the TSB bank is now Pizza Express.
Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr
Source: Soult’s Retail View
Other Cornish stores you may be interested in:
St Ives – Store 863
1- 2 East Mews, The Pallasades, Birmingham B2 4XA
This store opened in the Pallasades Shopping Centre on 31st October 1991. It was the first time Woolworths had returned to Birmingham City Centre after the closure of the Bull Ring and New Street branches back in the 1980s. This photo is from my Facebook group, showing a great window display.
Here is the store just before it closed in December 2008.
Source: John M
Poundland traded from this spot for a few years, but it has now closed down as the whole shopping centre is being redeveloped into the shiny new ‘Grand Central Birmingham’.
Source: Soult, Graham
I wasn’t joking about it being shiny. Here is an artist’s impression of the development, which is due to open in September 2015:
Source: New Street : New Start
Source: The Midlands in Business
All pretty exciting, I may have to pay Birmingham a visit in September!
22 – 26 and 34 – 38 Listergate, Nottingham NG1 7DG
Over 100 years ago in August 1914, Woolworths opened their first Nottingham store in historic Listergate. It possibly started off small, as between 1936-1937 F.W.Woolworth architects designed the most large-scale Art Deco front, extending the store to 22-26 Listergate. You can see how large it was in the below 1950s postcard.
In the 1960s, Woolworths extended into 34-38 Listergate, so there was a link from 22-26 on the ground floor through to 34-38. It was one giant store split in two. There was an enormous cafeteria that would seat approximately 500 people – some say the cafe was larger than some shops on the high street! Here is what the new half looked like.
Source: Roberts, George L – Picture the Past
1972 was when the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre was being built. Below is a photo showing this, and you can see the two halves of the Woolworths in the background.
Source: Nottinghamshire County Council
In the mid-70s, the fascias were updated to the new red ‘Woolworth’ and logo.
Source: Baker, Reg – Picture the Past
In 1984 Kingfisher sold the store, as they were getting rid of large stores to get more capital. The Listergate stores were sold to Boots. By this time there were many other Woolworths branches scattered across Nottingham, and they reopened in the town centre in 1991 in the new Victoria Centre.
Today, 22-26 Listergate is occupied by M&S, and 34-38 Listergate is occupied by Poundland, Optical Express and WHSmith. Here they are, both buildings looking remarkably as they did in their heyday, with the Art Deco front still looking as elegant and grand on the M&S store.
Source: Soult, Graham
72/76 High Street North, East Ham London E6 2JL
Originally Woolworths opened in East Ham in the 1920s at 193 High Street. It can be seen in this photo opposite the Palace Theatre.
Source: The Newham Story Forums
East Ham was bombed severely in WW2, and the Woolworths was flattened on September 7th 1940 (Source: The First Day of the Blitz: September 7, 1940, by Peter Stansky)
The store was rebuilt at 72-26 High Street North on the corner of Skeffington Road, and this is what it looked like.
Source: bowroaduk, Flickr
This was my friend Ruksana’s local store from her childhood. She remembers it being a long store and her mum always buying her kitchenware from here, in particular Tefal. The store closed on 30th December 2008.
Shortly after it closed, Poundland took over the premises. This was one of 4 Poundlands that cut their prices to 97p in 2013 to undercut the many poundshops on the High Street! Today it is back to £1, as I popped in there to buy some chocolates. It definitely still has a Woolworths feel to it.
The original Woolworths which was at 193 High Street opposite East Ham station and the Palace (which became C&A, today a Lidl) is now Sports Direct.
95/103 High Street, Staines, Middlesex
Woolworths opened at 101-103 Staines High Street in the 1920s, next to the old White Lion pub, as you can see in the below 1950s photo. The pub was demolished in 1956 when the one-way road system was built.
This photo is from the 1960s, you can see Woolworths on the left next to the M&S clock.
Between the 1960s and the noughties I could find no photos. Somewhere between these decades, Woolworths expanded into the neighbouring building (no 95-99). The Elmsleigh Shopping Centre opened in 1980, so I can guess a back extension took place around then, as there was another entrance to the store inside the shopping centre. This made it a VERY big Woolworths. Here it is shortly before closing for good on 3rd January 2009.
Poundland opened soon after at 95-99 High Street, but the main building remained empty until the end of 2010, with it’s fascia still bright and shiny throughout this time.
Source: Sharville, Ruth
In 2010, H&M announced they would be moving into the Elmsleigh Shopping Centre on a 10 year lease. Below are photos I took on 31st December 2014, the buildings still looking remarkably the same as they did in the 1950s, just with new retailers inside.
211/213 Portobello Road, London W11 1LX
Woolworths opened in Portobello Road, Notting Hill in 1928. The below photo from ‘The Library Time Machine’ shows the store in 1958.
In 1961, another Woolworths opened around the corner at Notting Hill Gate – store 1047. I will investigate this in a separate post, but I do wonder whether the two stores did compete with one another.
If you look above the Woolworths sign, the second window on the left is checked, which I assumed to be new. But if you look at the 1958 picture, it appears there also.
The freeholders wanted to demolish this building when the lease ran out in June 2008, but locals fiercely demonstrated against this (Source: http://www.standard.co.uk). Shame just 6 months later, it had to close anyway with the rest of them. This one closed on Saturday 27th December 2008.
I can happily report that the freeholders have kept the Victorian building, and it is now Poundland.
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? 😉
157/158 High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1JY
My local Woolies in Uxbridge opened in 1929 – here is an original opening postcard from the Woolworths Museum website. “Each store opening was spectacular. The celebrations featured an orchestra or a marching band, fireworks and even circus performers. Most storefronts were draped with flags and bunting to add to the razzamatazz. Bosses knew that a big launch would draw a huge crowd, and that many of the day’s visitors would later add a trip to the new FWW to their regular shopping habits.”
THEN – 1940s (it’s the building in the middle, next to Suters – you can see the WOOLWORTH letters along the top of the building) The 2 below photos are from the Philip Suter website, which is quite fascinating to read.
Above photo – Source: Ken Pearce, Uxbridge From Old Photographs
Below are photos I took when Woolies Uxbridge was closing in December 2008.
It soon became Poundland – quite a massive one too. They kept the Woolies door and window frames and painted them green.
NOW – 2014
My boy clearly upset that Woolworths is no more…