Tag Archives: primark

Chatham – Store 17

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:

Chatham Woolworths 1948

Chatham Woolworths 1948

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)

Chatham Woolworths 2008

Chatham Woolworths 2008

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.

Chatham Primark 2015

Chatham Primark 2015

Source: Cradick.co.uk

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Woolwich – Store 9

18/28 Hare Street, Woolwich, London SE18 6ND

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

In 1911, the second London Woolworths store to open was in the South East – Woolwich. It opened on Hare Street, the area chosen for being very industrial. (Photo source: WoolworthsMuseum.co.uk

Below are a series of photos of the Woolwich store through the decades.

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Woolwich Woolworths 1911

Source: Michael L, WoolworthsMuseum.co.uk

Woolwich Woolworths 1930s

Woolwich Woolworths 1930s

Source: Chris Mansfield Photos

Woolwich Woolworths 1950s

Woolwich Woolworths 1950s

Source: Chris Mansfield Photos

Woolwich Woolworths 1970s

Woolwich Woolworths 1970s

Source: King, J A, Chris Mansfield Photos

In the 1980s, the new Woolworths management decided on a drastic disposal of stores to cut costs, and sadly Woolwich was one of the ones to go. It closed down in 1984.

Today the building is occupied by Primark. Boots is still next door, and that BHS is now a Peacocks store.

Primark, Woolowich 2013

Primark, Woolwich 2013

Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr

Yeovil – Store 206

19 Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1LF

Woolworths opened on Middle Street in Yeovil, opposite the George Inn, in November 1925. Middle Street was the main road from London to the West Country then, so it was a very busy area.

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Yeovil Woolworths 1920s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

The store was extended in 1931, and then it looks as though it had a 1950s makeover from the look of the frontage in the below photo. Here’s an extract from ‘Yeovil in the 1960s‘, with Middle Street described by Roger Froude who was a teenager then, “of course FW Woolworth’s – still stuck in the 1950s with its wooden floorboards and the aroma of hot fresh roasted peanuts.” – so funny how Woolworths was never up-to-date!

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Yeovil Woolworths 1965

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

The photo is from around 1965. You have to read the caption that accompanied it,

“I think we all mourn the passing of Woolies – but the interesting thing about this photo is the ‘footprint’ of the George Inn on the pavement.

So, the George was demolished to widen the road but some twat at the Council forgot to realise that they didn’t own the land (not much of a surprise there then) so the road couldn’t be widened after all. In any event within ten years the road was pedestrianised, so this wonderful 14th century building was, pretty much, wantonly destroyed for nothing.”

Here is a photo of the George, shame it was demolished. The 60s really was a decade of architectural crimes! This is where the 99p store stands today. It was Primark for many years, but you’ll see where they moved to if you read on.

The George, Yeovil - c1962

The George, Yeovil – c1962

Source: Osborn B, Flickr

Back to Woolworths, and the store was modernised in 1973. Then in 1985, it was chosen to be one of the first prototype Woolworths Weekend comparison stores, including a Tea Bar restaurant. Moving on two decades and In the 2000s, it became one of the 10/10 trial stores. You can see it on the right of this 2007 photo, it looks as though there was a really strange red and yellow fascia. Opposite the Woolworths, you can see Primark on the left of the photo, on the site of the old George Inn – it too having a strange logo.

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Yeovil Woolworths 2007

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History

This photo was taken shortly before the store closed for good in December 2008.

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Yeovil Woolworths 2008

Source: Smith S

The building lay empty for over 18 month, when it was announced that Primark would be moving from across the road to open a bigger contemporary store. The new Primark opened in 2011, with the 99p Store occupying the old Primark building opposite. It is still quite recognisable as a Woolies building.

Yeovil Primark 2015

Yeovil Primark 2015

Source: The A-Z of Yeovil’s History

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

Slough – Store 263 / 1173 / 1243

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.

THEN:

Slough Woolworths 1930s

Slough Woolworths 1930s

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.

Woolworths Slough 1951

Woolworths Slough 1951

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.

Slough Woolworths 60s

Slough Woolworths 1960s

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’

THEN:

Woolworths Slough 1982

Woolworths Slough 1982

Source: http://www.sloughhistoryonline.org.uk

NOW:

Poundland / JD Slough 2014

Poundland / JD Slough 2014

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.”

OBSERVATORY THEN:

Woolworths Observatory Opening, Slough 1991

Woolworths Observatory Opening, Slough 1991

Source: Woolworths Museum

OBSERVATORY NOW:

Primark Slough 2014

Primark Slough 2014

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.

QUEENSMERE THEN:

Slough Woolworths 2008

Slough Woolworths 2008

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? 😉

QUEENSMERE NOW:

B&M Slough 2014

B&M Slough 2014