Tag Archives: self service

Crawley – Store 768

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.

Crawley Woolworths 1940s

Crawley Woolworths 1940s

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.

Crawley Jubilee Oak

The Jubilee Oak – Crawley (former Woolworths)

Source: Tripadvisor

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.

Crawley Woolworths 1957

Crawleys Woolworths 1957

Source: Woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

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.”
Source: woolworthsmuseum.co.uk

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!

Crawley Woolworths 1950s

Crawley Woolworths 1950s

Here you can see it in 1971, looking a bit shabby after 14 years.

Crawley Woolworths 1971

Crawley Woolworths 1971

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.

Crawley Woolworths 2008

Crawley Woolworths 2008

Source: CrawleyTV

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.

Crawley Poundland 2012

Crawley Poundland 2012

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven

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Billericay – Store 911

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.

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Billericay Woolworths 1950s

Source: Essex Record Office / Billericayhistory.org.uk

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.

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Billericay Woolworths 2008

Source: Tim@SW2008, Flickr

An Iceland opened in it’s place quite soon after.

Billericay Iceland

Billericay Iceland

Source: Flickr, Ballysundriven

Basingstoke – Store 107

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.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1950

Basingstoke Woolworths 1950

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

In Febraury 1959 the store was extended and modernised further. Below is how the new store looked.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1966

Basingstoke Woolworths 1966

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.

Basingstoke Woolworths 1970

Basingstoke Woolworths 1970

Source: 100thbirthday.co.uk

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.

Basingstoke Clothing Tills 1971

Basingstoke Clothing Tills 1971

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.

Basingstoke Woolworths 2008

Basingstoke Woolworths 2008

Source: Talbot, C

TODAY:

The Post Office is still trading from the London Street location.

Basingstoke Post Office

Basingstoke Post Office

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.

Chiswick House, Basingstoke 2015

Chiswick House, Basingstoke 2015

Other sources: Basingstoke Gazette

Other Hampshire Woolworths you may be interested in:
Portsmouth – Store 35Southsea – Store 50