Tag Archives: River Island

Middlesbrough – Store 8

51/67 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, Teeside TS1 5BT

The eighth Woolworths branch to open in the UK was at Middlesbrough, back in 1911. According to the 1913 Kelly’s Directory of North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, it originally opened at 91-93 Linthorpe Road, but then moved to bigger premises at 51 -67, as pictured below.

Middlesbrough Woolworths 1911

Middlesbrough Woolworths 1920s?

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Middlesbrough was bombed quite severely in WWII and Woolworths was hit. The store was rebuilt throughout the 1950s, reopening with a more modern look in 1959.

Middlesbrough Woolworths 1950s

Middlesbrough Woolworths 1959

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

It traded for another 20 years before closing down in the 1980s when Kingfisher took over.

The building was split into 3 units and occupied by Currys, Champion and Fosters in the 1980s.

Middlesbrough Currys Champion Fosters 1988

Middlesbrough Currys Champion Fosters 1988

Source: alamy

Today the building is now occupied by USC and River Island – the closed down unit was Currys.digital until recently. You can see from the below photo how imposing a building it was. It would have been quite a large Woolworths store.

Middlesbrough USC and River Island 2012

Middlesbrough USC and River Island 2012

Source: ballysundriven

In the 2000s, Woolworths returned to Middlesbrough as store 1200, which I’ll cover in a separate post.

 

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Swindon – Store 38

23-24 Regent Street, Swindon, Wiltshire

Woolworths opened in Swindon the 12th September 1914 on Regent Street where it traded in a small buildling which was then extended to the left (No, 23) in 1936.

Swindon Woolworths 1939

Swindon Woolworths 1939

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

Here it is in the 1950s:

Swindon Woolworths 1950s

Swindon Woolworths 1950s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

And the 1960s:

Swindon Woolworths 1960s

Swindon Woolworths 1960s

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

There was a refurb in 1973, which is when I presume they lost their beautiful Art Deco style facade. There was another refurb in 1980 and one more in 1995. It seems Swindon was the true trial store for the chain.

Swindon Woolworths 1995

Swindon Woolworths 1995

Source: Woolworths Museum

Extract from the Woolworths Museum: “As a prototype, the City store at Regent Street, Swindon, which had been one of Frank Woolworth’s first and favourite locations, was relaid, with new products and a new look. Unlike the work at Hounslow in 1994, the transformation was achieved cheaply and the result was spectacular. New ranges included a large cookshop, displayed on wooden tables as well as regular counters. It offered a more fashionable range, including kitchen appliances and a wider selection of china and glassware. Kids ranges were moved towards the front of the dual entrance store, in a carpeted area to the left hand side of the main gangway. The restaurant was moved down to the ground floor and given a new look. Swindon had the look and feel of a modern department store. The idea was repeated in Doncaster, Yorkshire and was refined further in the branch in the Arndale Centre at Luton, Bedfordshire.”

Here is the store in 2006. This is the image many head office folk will remember as we were sent on training courses in Swindon. It truly was enormous inside.

Swindon Woolworths 2006

Swindon Woolworths 2006

Source: Armin Grewe

The store closed down in January 2009, and a year later it reopened as a temporary BHS, while their site was demolished as part of the £25m ‘The Parade‘ redevelopment project that houses stores including BHS, Topshop and River Island. This is now complete.

Temp BHS Swindon 2010

Temp BHS Swindon 2010

Source: ballysundriven

Today the unit has been spilt and is occupied by the oh-so-glam Poundworld, DiscountUK and Peacocks. Priceless next door seems to have disappeared too.

Swindon 2014

Swindon 2014

Source: Property Link

Newbury – Store 307

13-15 Northbrook Street, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 1DJ

Woolworths opened in the market town of Newbury on 3rd March 1928, next to the prestigious department store Camp Hopson. It started off in small premises – here is a photo I estimate from 1930s:

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Newbury Woolworths c1930s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

In the early 60s, the store was extended to nearly double it’s size, and the front fascia completely remodelled.

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Newbury Woolworths 1960s

Source: Newbury Community Forum

After the makeover, the store front didn’t change much in appearance over the years, although it did have a series of extensions at the rear. Below is the store around 1965, with Burtons on the other side. We can see how traffic is building up here.

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Newbury Woolworths c1965

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Here is the store in the late 1980s, before the street got pedestrianised in 1998.

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Newbury Woolworths 1980s

Source: Newbury Past and Present Facebook Group

Newbury Woolworths closed on 30th December 2008, after 90 years of trading. Here is a photo from when I visited the town in March 2009. From these photos you can see the buildings have not changed since the 60s, and the M&S clock is still standing (needs a new battery though 😉 ) – Northbrook Street has a lot of listed buildings, making it very picturesque.

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Newbury Woolworths 2009

Today it is a Wilko (or Wilkinson’s) – I went inside and it is just like walking into Woolworths. The aisles and pillars are the same as before, and the store seems to go on for miles! There’s a back side entrance that leads on to a car park and the back of Camp Hopson. It is nice to have a replacement that does remind you of Woolworths.

Newbury Wilko 2014

Newbury Wilko 2014