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
18-20 London Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex PO21 1QA
Woolworths opened in the seaside town of Bognor Regis in 1928. I have found an undated postcard below of London Road and it looks as though the tall building in the centre, left side, is the F.W.Woolworth store.
The store had a 1950s makeover, but then in 1974 the store was set on fire when there was an IRA bomb. Woolworths would not be beaten and just 65 hours later the store reopened.
Source: Bognor Regis Museum
There’s not much info on the store, apart from its closure in December 2008.
Source: Flickr, Mark
Wilkos now occupy the building, and you can clearly recognise it as the upper facade is exactly the same – a bit of Woolies architecture still on the London Road.
Source: Flickr, ballysundriven
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
10/11 Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex TN37 6EA
There once was a Woolworths store at St Leonards-on-Sea, down the road from Hastings. It opened in the 1950s on Kings Road, quite close to St Leonards Warrior Square train station. It is on the right of the below photo – the building with the narrow arched windows.
Source: deslan, Flickr
I don’t know when it closed, but it wasn’t on the 2008 store list. Today the building is occupied by Kings Road Bazaar – quite appropriate as you could say Woolworths was sort of a bazaar of its own.
Source: Local Data Search
1-7 Wellington Place, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 1NY
In July 1926, Woolworths bought the block of 2-6 Wellington Place and 15-20 Pelham. The buildings were demolished, and in their place a large ‘3 penny and 6 penny’ store was built (Source: Hastings Chronicle). This is how the store looked in the 1950s:
Source: Hastings & St Leonards Forum
Below is a photo of the store in 1982, where you can see there has been a major makeover – I am guessing this took place in the 1960s.
Source: Popkin, A
This photo was taken when the underground walkway was being built.
Source: gandalfthegrey, Flickr
This is a 1990s photo where you can see the Woolworths fascia has been updated.
Source: Goldsteinleigh Investments
Source: JJ justin, Flickr
A more recent photo here, just before the store closed for good on 2nd January 2009.
Source: Snapper Jude, Flickr
It soon became a Sports Direct – here’s a photo we took last week whilst on holiday in Hastings. It’s a large, prominent store – you can’t miss it. They have painted the blue tiles grey, but apart from that is looks exactly as it did as a Woolworths. And even the 4 little roof windows are recognisable from the earlier 1950s photo – a real piece of history.
49/51 Church Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex RH15 9BH
Woolworths arrived in Burgess Hill in September 1955 on Church Road (now Church Walk).
Source: Francis Frith
It was one of the later branches to be opened, as you can tell from the store number, and it looks as though it was medium sized from the photo above. I spoke to Burgess Hill local Robert who remembers the store from his childhood, in particular the pic n mix!
The store didn’t last long though, closing just under 30 years later on 15th September 1984. Perhap it was one of the low performing stores, or it was one of the casualties of the Kingfisher takeover when they closed several stores down to gain capital.
The building was later split into two and occupied by Sussex Stationers and Currys. In 2012 they had both closed down.
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered
In April 2012, a Wetherspoon pub opened here, after a £1.4 million makeover. During the makeover, the ghost of Woolworths past was revealed!
Source: Burgess Hill Uncovered
The pub is called The Six Gold Martlets – here it is, alongside the shiny new Subway, from when I visited Burgess Hill last weekend. I knew it was a Woolworths 😛