148/150 High Street, Sutton, Surrey
Sutton Woolworths was one of the very early stores of the chain. It opened in the High Street in 1916. In the below 1923 postcard, the Woolworths store can be seen on the right. It was next to the Surrey County Theatre which opened in 1921.
Below you can see the store to the far right. I’m estimating this to be in the 1930s from the cars.
Below is a 1935 postcard, where it can be seen that the store has had a refurbishment with an art deco cinema-style facade, quite suitable considering what the neighbouring building was.
This photo was taken shortly before Sutton High Street was pedestrianised in the early 1980s. Woolworths is on the left, where you can see the store’s 60s makeover – with the upper floors covered in what looks like concrete.
Source: Flickr, Simpson E.
Looking at the building today, yes it does seem to be some sort of grey concrete cladding, or maybe it’s metal. The store has been split into 2 units, a Burton/Dorothy Perkins and a Superdrug (I’ve merged two photos here from 192.com)
I don’t know the exact date Woolworths left this building, but I do know that the chain acquired Superdrug in 1988 and Woolworths opened in a new building at 71 High Street, Sutton in 1994.
I will cover the 71 High Street store (Store No. 1192) in a separate post.
56 Hope Street, Wrexham, Denbighshire LL11 1BE
Woolworths opened at 56 Hope Street in Wrexham on 25th July 1931, and extended 5 years later into neighbouring 58. They traded from this location for nearly 40 years. Below is a photo from 1965, and I have circled the Woolworths store on the right.
Source: Francis Frith
8- 10 Regent Street, Wrexham, Denbighshire LL11 1SF
On 12th November 1970, they relocated to the new larger premises on Regent Street, where it was 2 floors up, and had an escalator down to a basement floor.
It seems as though it was destined to be a trial store for the Woolworths group. In 1984, Wrexham was one of 20 stores that trialled the ‘Daily Provisions’ cornerstone strategy. They reopened with a grocery section, an up-scale offer of bread, cakes and take-away food, and a new delicatessen counter in the basement selling fresh fish and meat. Apparently there was an amazing giant model of a fish on the wall over the fish counter!
In 1988 it tried the comparison store format. Then in 1992 the store was refurbished. And finally in the 2000s, the store was one of the new style 10/10 stores until it closed on 5th January 2009.
Source: Ballysundriven, Flickr
It lay empty from a long 2 and a half years, until August 2011 when Discount UK opened. Today Bargain Buys trades from this location, and The Chinese Buffet is in the basement with it’s entrance on Lord Street.
And as for the original Woolworths on Hope Street, this is now WHSmith. It’s a new building, as there was a huge fire in 2001 and the building had to be demolished. Here is how it looks today.
If you liked reading this, you may enjoy reading about Rhyl – Store 308.
61/64 Broad Street, Reading RG1 2AJ
Woolworths originally opened at 51 Broad Street, Reading in the Spring of 1922, which is where H&M is today. Some pretty fantastic vintage photos of the Reading store have been put up on www.reading-forum.co.uk by markjuk. (http://www.reading-forum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5709&p=51409)
The store was expanded to have entrances in Broad Street, Friar Street, Union Street and West Street, often used as a shortcut by shoppers to get from Friar Street to Broad Street. It sounds like it was MASSIVE, I can’t even imagine!
According to the Wargrave Local History Society, “Woolworths had moved to their present position in 1939, having earlier been nearer Union Street, although for a period in the late 80’s it was a shopping mall, then becoming Woolworths again.” Source: http://www.wargravehistory.org.uk/nov98.html
Now this shopping mall concept sounds interesting. According to 100thbirthday.co.uk, it was originally a prototype for a new large store format called ‘Jupiter’, but they decided on ‘The Woolworth Mall’, piloting Ladybird clothing, the ‘Le Cafe’ restaurant, as well as opticians, show repair and estate agent concessions and selling large kitchen appliances! The mall used yellow and grey colours rather than the traditional red and white, although not for long as the concept was dropped quickly in favour of getting rid of huge city centre stores.
“The site was closed for redevelopment in 1989, closing on 17th June. When the development was complete Woolworths moved into a small store in part of its original footprint, which opened on the company’s 85th birthday, 5th November 1992 (Store 1180).” Extract from 100thbirthday.co.uk (Source: http://www.100thbirthday.co.uk/images/StoreGallery/pages/0111Reading-1950.htm)
When I took these photos, I did notice how new the building looked – definitely not an original. The Reading Forum clarified this – Markjuk recalls “that a fire in the early 90s caused by squatters who in habited the derelict building, set fire to it causing extensive damage to the old Broad Street entrance prompting it to be demolished a few months later. Rather than save this art deco architecture, it was demolished and replaced with a bog standard brick building of no significance.” (Source: http://www.reading-forum.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5709&p=51409)
And today it is a shiny new Clas Ohlson, selling pretty much what Woolies used to sell. I do like their pastel coloured straws 🙂