190 – 192 High Street, Beckenham, Kent BR3 1EN
Woolworths opened in Beckenham in 1930 on the High Street. It was a purpose-built store but not in the typical style of Woolworths. Possibly the style was to blend in with the neighbouring parade of shops.
Source: Bromley Gloss
Woolworths traded from here for 58 years. Below is a 1980s photo showing the updated fascia.
The store closed January 1988, probably as part of the Kingfisher cuts. Superdrug (who were a sister company) moved in and have traded here ever since.
29 High Street, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 1AP
Woolworths opened in Runcorn in 1930, originally on the High Street. They traded from this building for 40 years before big changes came to Runcorn.
This present day photo shows the Woolworths store replaced by a road called Leiria Way – the building that was next to Woolworths is still there.
Unit 44 Runcorn Shopping City, Cheshire WA7 2DB
(later renamed 43-44 Forest Walk, Halton Lea Shopping Centre)
About a mile away, Runcorn New Town was being built, along with a brand new shopping centre called Runcorn Shopping City. It opened in 1972 and at the time was the biggest covered shopping centre in Europe. Woolworths moved their store to the shopping centre at Unit 44.
They traded here to the end, closing in December 2008. It became a Poundworld, but they went into administration last year. So the unit is vacant again.
23 Bank Street, Braintree, Essex CM7 7UH
Woolworths opened in Braintree in 1930 on Bank Street. It was a small purpose-built store with the standard Woolworths architecture – see below photo.
The store had a makeover in the 1960s, including a new fascia and one central entrance.
The store was extended into the building to the left at some point – the decade this happened in would be a guess. Then in December 2008 the store closed for good. This is a photo of Pat Taylor locking the doors for the last ever time.
Source: Essex Live
It became an Iceland store shortly afterwards.
203 – 205 Brompton Road, London SW3 1LW
Woolworths opened on Brompton Road in London in 1930. This is the road with Harrods on it, so presumably this was an upmarket branch of Woolworths. Unfortunately I can’t find any photos of the store when it was open, and it closed down in the 1970s. From the numbers 203 to 205, we can work out that it was where Boots and the small neighbouring unit is today (see below photo).
Source: Soult, G.
93 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7JN
Woolworths opened in Bexleyheath in 1930. It was a purpose-built single storey store at 93 The Broadway. It was hit by an air raid in World War II. The building was saved by firefighters.
Woolworths traded from this building for just over 50 years before changes came to Bexleyheath.
Source: Kennett, D.
In 1984 the Broadway Shopping Centre was built. The whole parade of shops on the Broadway was demolished. This photo shows the original Woolworths store closed down ready for demolition.
Source: Kennett, D.
77 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7JN
Woolworths moved into the new shopping centre, and opened on 26th November 1981 with a very large store. The entrance faced the Broadway at Number 77 (which is Argos today) and there was another entrance facing the inside of the shopping centre. This is a photo from the opening day.
Source: Kennett, D.
Former employee David Kennett has kindly shared his memories, as well as the photos in this post:
“I started working in Woolworth Bexleyheath as a Saturday job in the restaurant. It was June 1988, the restaurant manager was Ester. We used to take home on a Saturday night the leftover cream cakes which was quite a treat. There was amazing team spirit with the weekend boys and girls. Mr C (Markham Chesterfield) as we all called him was the store manager. He had a lovely home in the Kent country and he used to give us Christmas cards with a picture of his home and a bottle of wine. I also got to drive his Mercedes once or twice.
For Christmas 1988 the store party was held in the restaurant, all the tables were moved out and it became the dance floor with a disco and Yazz – ‘The only way is up’ playing I remember. The slow dance I don’t remember what it was, but I do remember being invited to the dance floor by Stacey who also worked in the restaurant – she gave me a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night. Those were the days. It must have been shortly after that in the New Year that the store prepared to be cut in half and we lost the restaurant and half the store.
I worked in the stockroom during that time, before being promoted to run the Record Bar, as Kathy was stepping down to have a baby. I stayed as Entertainment Specialist, then Entertainment Manager through to December 1994, when I did a few weeks at the new HMV store and then came back to Woolworth in January right up until going to EUK as an RSR in April 2002. My final move was to Head Office and working in retail ops writing The Entertainment Guide and setting up the final Entertainment Roadshow for all the entertainment managers.
I will forever have very fond memories of the old Woolworths store before it moved down the road and become 1226 (I have a few more thoughts having worked there too). Store 390 and the people made it a real pleasure to work for. With lots of memories, and nights out in the town. Steve Gould replaced Mr C as store manager who loved his gardening section. Sharon Webb and Dawn Lowin assistant managers, Mary Perfect in the office. Then so many weekend staff helping me run the entertainment dept and me obsessed with keeping it tidy; Amber Jones, Sam Younis, Rodeana, Lisa Applegate and so many others. It was also here I met my wife Fay Bodiam, who started as a Christmas temp and then we kept her on after and dated and the rest is history.
My second biggest highlight was chasing after the thieves who would run out of the store with a TV in each hand. I did give chase to a till snatcher and got my first and only ride in a police car with the sirens going.”
Source: Kennett, D.
Source: Kennett, D.
As mentioned in David’s account, the store was cut in half in 1991. The half they gave up was split into 3 units – one became Miss Selfridge, then HMV and then Select, the second unit became Superdrug, and the third became Argos. Woolworths traded as a smaller store from the other half.
93 – 105 Broadway, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7JN
On 11th May 2000 Woolworths relocated across the shopping centre into the old Safeway unit, which was funnily enough back at 93 The Broadway. It had a new store number – 1226.
Source: Kennett, D.
Source: Chase, J., Museum of London
The store traded from here until it closed for good in 2008.
Now the building is occupied by New Look inside the shopping centre and H&M from the Broadway side.
As for the previous Woolworths unit at number 77 Broadway, that is now Argos.
153-157 High Street, Erdington, Birmingham, West Midlands B23 6TP
Woolworths opened in the Birmingham suburb of Erdington on the 8th November 1930. The store was on a corner plot on the High Street and on Barnabas Road.
It was extended 5 years later in 1935. Below is a photo from 1950. The ground level was the sales floor with wooden flooring, and upstairs was the cafe.
In 1956 the store was extended again, with further expansion in 1968. Below is a view from 1960, looking across the High Street to the corner of Barnabas Road.
Peter Taylor was deputy manager at Erdington Woolworths in 1979. He tells us that Gordon Street was the manager and it was a great team. In 1982 the store was fully refurbished with a large food department, but then 4 years later food was withdrawn. There was another refurbishment in 1993, and in the 2000s it became a 10/10 store.
I asked local girl Christine Kapak what her favourite memories were from Erdington Woolies, and she said “CDs man, CDs…” – I’m sure we all remember buying our teenage music from Woolworths. Here is a photo a month before it sadly closed in January 2009.
Source: Hughes R
Today the building is occupied by B&M Bargains, but you can still recognise the architecture above as a Woolies store. In fact it looks as though they have kept the Woolies doors and windows too, just putting a new B&M fascia on the front.
This post was originally written in 2015
Stanley Road, Bootle, Merseyside
Woolworths opened in Bootle in 1930. It was on Stanley Road, in an existing building. See it in the photo below – it had Burton on one side, Weaver & Wearer on the other.
Bootle Woolworths 1961
Source: Bootle Times
35 years later, the shops on one side of Stanley Road were to be demolished to make way for a new shopping centre. This photo shows the old Woolworths store empty.
Source: Bootle Times
55-58 New Strand Shopping Precinct, Medway, Bootle, Merseyside L20 4TH
In October 1968 the New Strand Shopping Precinct was officially opened, and Woolworths had a new larger store inside with a front and back entrance.
Source: Liverpool Echo
Former manager Kevin Alexander worked there for 4 years from 1986 to 1990. He remembers, “Fantastic team that I still hold fond memories of. Never known a store like it for selling Easter eggs – our sales went from £23000 up to £140000. Got awarded Golden Egg for our sales.”
The store closed in December 2008 and became a B&M Bargains store.
51-52 Flowergate, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 3AT
Woolworths opened in the Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby in 1930. It was in a interesting location, on a bend on a street called Flowergate. It backed on to St. Ann’s Straith which faced the harbour, and the land was on a hill going down on to the harbour. The architects designed the store in a way so that you couldn’t see the building’s steep incline from street level. The result was a recognisable Woolies frontage that looked a bit stretched.
This is the earliest photo I could find, from the 1980s. This is the Flowergate entrance, looking down the hill.
Source: Newble A.
And this is the other side of the building, facing the harbour, where you can see the frontage is taller than usual.
Source: McCulloch, S.
Here is the harbourside entrance from another angle.
Source: Godley, S.
After it closed down in December 2008, it became a Pine Valley store.
Source: Soult, G.
With the other side on Flowergate becoming The Wilderness Factory Outlet Store.
Source: Soult, G.
But today the whole building is occupied by Mountain Warehouse, which opened in 2013.
Source: Le Monde1
10 Swine Market, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 5LW
Woolworths opened in Nantwich in 1930 – you can see it in the below photo on the right side.
In the 1960s the area was redeveloped and a larger Woolworths opened. Note the oversized letters.
The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
It soon became a B&M, which it still is today.
And look closer, and you’ll see the original 1960s Woolworths doors still in use.
66-70 Pow Street, Workington, Cumbria CA14 3AD
Woolworths opened in Workington in 1930 in a small purpose-built store, with the recognisable architecture. It was next to Boots the Chemist.
Source: Workington Through Time by Derek Woodruff
At some point after the 1955 photo there was a major makeover, I am guessing in the 1960s. You can see it on the right side below, a much larger store than it was before.
Source: Barnes R.
Former employee Dianne Jamieson worked at Workington for fourteen and a half years. She says she “enjoyed every minute, great store, great staff and the best customers ever. Been a big miss in our town. Store Manager when the store closed was Tony Downey.”
Tanya Robinson says, “I worked at 382 Workington for 25 years until I closed the doors for the last time. Sad day handing over them keys.”
Ann Bromley worked 382 for 18 years. “It was the largest store in our little town until Debenhams was built. It just missed its 100th birthday before we closed. It had a great team and managers. Taken over by the untidy Sports Direct.”
This is a photo of the store just before it closed.
And today as Sports Direct.
286 – 288 Liscard Road, Wallasey, Cheshire L44 5TU
Woolworths opened in Wallasey in 1930 on the site of Harrop’s Coal Yard. Originally at number 288, it was a small store, purpose-built with the recognisable Woolworths architecture, central pediment at the top. It was later extended into number 286 (if you look at the photo of Poundland at the end of this post, you can clearly see where it was extended). This photo below shows a bit of Woolworths on the left in 1960, with the canopies open.
The road was pedestrianised in the 1970s and renamed Liscard Way. Woolworths did not move but their address changed to this:
42 Liscard Way, Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside CH44 5TU
Former employee Natalie Kay worked at Wallasey Woolworths towards the end, and she has kindly shared her memories, “I worked on 381 Wallasey for ten years starting in 1997. My aunties worked there and my cousins too. I have many memories of ‘family and friends evenings’ before I worked there, where the kids were entertained upstairs with videos and sweets! During my ten years there I met the love of my life and we were together for seven years. While there I was also diagnosed with cancer and happily beat it. All my colleagues clubbed together to give me and my boyfriend spends as we were going to Florida. We really were a family and you don’t find that these days. My best memories are always of hanging the Christmas garlands and decorating the Christmas trees.”
Such a heartwarming story, it sounds like Wallasey Woolworths was a lovely place to work at. The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008, complete with their original 1970s doors.
Today it is Poundland, but look up and you’ll see the classic Woolworths architecture.
22 – 30 Main Street, Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland BT20 5AR
Woolworths opened in Bangor, Northern Ireland in 1930 on Main Street. Unfortunately I can’t find any early photos of the store. It was next to a supermarket chain with a very similar name of F.A.Wellworth & Co.Ltd. In 1974 the store was hit by terrorism and had to be rebuilt.
“Woolworths’ store at 18/22 Main Street, Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland (Store No. 380) was targeted by terrorists on 30 March 1974 as part of co-ordinated incendiary bomb attack on the town centre.
At 5pm, a telephone warning was received that fifteen incendiary devices had been placed in the town centre and were due to explode in 30 minutes. Immediate and successful efforts were made by the Police to evacuate the commercial centre of the town, however there was inadequate time to prevent the devices from exploding. The Woolworths store was badly damaged after a device exploded on the sales-floor. A policeman suffered concussion after he was blown off his feet by the resultant blast from the device and a female civilian was cut by flying debris.
Other stores targeted in the attack included the town’s Co-operative Department Store and FA Wellworth Department Store. The town’s Woolworths’ store was demolished after the attack. A new 8,000 square feet (740 m2) store was built on the same site, which reopened in the mid 1970s.
The rebuilt store suffered minor damage after a 200lb car bomb exploded a short distance away, near the town’s FA Wellworth’s store on the evening of 21 October 1992. Nobody was injured in the explosion, which occurred after most stores in the town centre had closed for the day. However, significant damage was caused to the entrance area of the Woolworths’ store, with windows being blown out, the porch roof being destroyed and a small quantity of stock toward the front of the store being damaged. Additionally, minor structural damage was caused to the store’s stockroom with two internal portioning walls adjacent to the Generator Room and Fixtures’ Store having to be rebuilt. The store recommenced trading on 23 October 1992.”
This is the rebuilt store:
The store closed in December 2008 and today it is B&M Bargains.
103 Commercial Street, Tredegar
Woolworths opened in Tredegar in February 1930. It was on Commercial Street next to Midland Bank. It is pictured below on the right, the shop with the canopies.
Source: Tredegar Community Archive
The building today houses a charity shop.
Gwent Shopping Centre, Tredegar, Gwent NP2 3XH
In the 1960s the Gwent Shopping Centre opened, and Woolworths moved there. It was an enormous store. These photos were taken in 1988, prior to the store being halved in size. Look at those 80s window posters – all singles down to £2.79! Sweet Sensation! Top Toiletries! Soft Toy Price Cut! Great Toy Value! Paint Prices Pulverised! Ladybird Autumn Collection Just Arrived! It looks like a shell suit in the Ladybird poster – did you own one of those shell suits?
Richard Northover remembers the store being “cut in half to fund space for Superdrug, prior to which the store had a big food offer – including a delicatessen which served this Valley town for many years until Kingfisher destroyed bit by bit the business.”
The store become one of the Woolworths Local stores and closed in December 2008.
Today it is an indoor market.
Source: Wales Online
1 Bridge Street, Walton on Thames, Surrey KT12 1BP
Woolworths opened in Walton-on Thames in 1929 on Bridge Street. It was a small store to start off with.
A movie was filmed here is 1950 – there wasn’t really a motorbike riding through the store. But you can see how the Woolworths looked inside.
In the 1970s there was a major makeover, and you can see the new store below.
Source: David, D.
I’m going to share some memories from former Walton-on-Thames Woolworths staff:
Deborah Leach-Walton: “Some fab times. I remember learning the “soldier boy” dance in the store room!!”
Lesley Ann Perrin: “I did 10/10 in Walton, can’t remember who the manager was…. seems an age ago!”
Dawn De Maio: “I was the last manager at Walton on Thames. Sad day when we closed the door for the last time.”
Michael Golden: “I was the Assistant Manager under Tim Leigh in about 2003. Great times, great manager. I liked the store and the fact that there were offices all around the upper perimeter. It was full of characters who all worked 20+ years – Sheila whose cousin is Peter Jackson (film director). Pete with his disabilities who would single handedly fill the shop quicker than anyone I know, and Dave the most enthusiastic stock room guy I have ever met (RIP). Others like Wendy and Lyn who you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of…. One of the best Woolies teams I had the pleasure working with.”
Wendy Tyler: “What do you mean! Lol (In response to the comment above!) 378 was a true family – we laughed, danced and cried together many times. Some great managers in my time – Tim Leigh and Stafford Sparshot as well as Andy and Mike. Loved my ten years and it will always leave a big hole in my heart. What fab days.”
Stafford Sparshott: “I most definitely had a few “interesting” times at 378.”
Wendi Gwyther: “My mum started there in the cash office back in early 60s.”
It sounds like such a lovely team that worked there. We can gather the store had a 10/10 makeover, but then closed for good in December 2008.
It became a Carpetright store, which it still is today
69 High Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1AW
Woolworths opened in Godalming in 1929, on the High Street in an existing building.
It looked relatively unchanged 40 years later in 1961, and it looks like there were some weighing scales in front of the doors.
Source: Goldalming Museum
In the 1970s the store was modernised and it looked like this until the end, closing on 30th December 2008.
Source: Lear, B.
M&Co moved in, and they changed to front – almost to how Woolworths looked when it first opened in 1929.
25 Market Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6LD
In the 1970s, thie building was gone and replaced with this more modern, larger store. In those days it was a mix of a supermarket as there would have been a food aisle, usually along the right wall. Note the oversized Woolworths letters.
Source: Woolworths Museum
In more recent days, this is how the store looked. It closed in December 2008.
Source: My Lichfield
Today B&M Bargains is in the building, but you’ll be happy to see that the original 1970s Woolworths doors are still being used.
65-67 The Broadway, Uxbridge Road, Southall, Middlesex UB1 1LB
Woolworths opened in Southall in 1929. It was a small two-storey purpose-built store on the Broadway (Uxbridge Road) with the classic architecture that you will probably recognise by now.
In the late 1960s, Janet Brown worked at this store. She remembers wages being done in store, paid weekly in cash, with the payslip put in little brown envelopes. She has happy memories of working there.
I actually remember Southall Woolworths from my childhood, it saved me from the boredom of being dragged around Asian shops by my parents – spice shops, clothes shops, jewellery shops, fabric shops – all too boring for a 7-year-old. But in Woolworths my brother and I would want to stay in there forever, going up and down the toy aisle. It was a larger store in the 1980s – you can see in the photo below from the upper floor architecture that it was extended to the left, I would guess this was done in the 1930s-40s. Any later then they would have changed the look of the upper floor. My ‘My Little Pony’ stable was from this branch – I still have it today. When they halved the store, I think in the early ’90s, I was so upset!
The store closed in December 2008 and became a 99p store. When Poundland bought them out, they closed this branch down as there was already another Poundland in Southall. Now it is the ‘Himalaya Shopping Mall’, but look up and you’ll still see the original Woolworths architecture.
28 High Street Superior, Brecon, Powys LD3 7LG
Woolworths opened in Brecon in 1929. It took over the premises of J E Nott and Co on the High Street.
This photo is from the opening day – the first day was for viewing only. You can see the sign saying “No Goods Sold To-Day” above the “6d Palmolive Shaving Cream” sign
Source: The Brecon & Radnor Express
This is a quote from the Brecon Museum about the photo: “The famous FW Woolworth & Co Ltd pricing policy is also in evidence, with products priced at 3d and 6d, and large signs emphasising Nothing in these stores over 6D. Woolworths held on to their Threepenny and Sixpenny price limits for many years. When raw material prices rose, their suppliers had to absorb the cost, or item sizes were reduced. For example, in the late 1930s their 10-inch saucepans were replaced with 6-inch ones. Another tactic was to sell items such as pans and pan lids separately. They even sold a camera in kit form, with each of the three pieces meeting the price promise.”
The store manager from 1934 was Mr Chasemore – this photo was kindly sent in by former manager Richard Northover.
From 1967 to 1987 the manager was Fred Clift – photo also sent in by Richard Northover. He tells us more about Mr Clift: “My predecessor as Brecon store manager was Fred Clift, who retired February 1987. I took over from Fred after leaving Maesteg in June ’86 to do a 9 month secondment with Mervyn Robertson’s special projects team. Fred had stayed in Brecon for 20 years until he retired. I already knew him because we had been in the same area and saw each other at managers meetings over the previous four years. He was well known and loved in the local community and even knew the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea, whose diocese centred in Brecon. So much so that Fred’s nickname in the area was ‘the bishop of Brecon’. He was big man with a very dry sense of humour. In the days before email we passed messages by phone store to store. I used to ring Fred and halfway through taking down the message the receiver would be dropped and I would hear ‘Good morning Bishop’.”
Source: PLAN Brecon
“I felt sorry for the team as after having Fred for 20 years, I was like a bucket of cold water, a 26-year young manager in a hurry so much. So I regretfully only stayed 18 months before moving on to 922 Bicester – a store almost three times the size. Food had been removed 4 months previously so I had the task of rebuilding sales which we did after a major store relay. I had a very experienced team. Brenda Powell was my office Manager, Margaret Evans my staff supervisor – both Woolies stalwarts. Sue Pritchard and Mrs Parry were my salesfloor supervisors, jolly Dawn Thomas on Entertainment, and Eric in the stockroom. Brenda took over as store manager from me and had several good years before she retired. A great team in a great store in a lovely location to live. I wished I had stayed longer but the next opportunity beckoned to a young man in a hurry….but happy memories.”
Thank you for sharing your memories of working at Brecon Woolworths with us Richard.
In the 1990s the store was had a rebrand to “Woolworths Local” and they traded here right until the end, closing in December 2008.
It became a branch of The Original Factory Shop, but the store frontage is pretty much unchanged from its Woolworths days.
584-586 Bearwood Road, Smethwick, Warley, West Midlands B66 4BW
Woolworths opened their second store in Smethwick in 1929, just a mile away from Store 170 on Cape Hill. It was a small store on Bearwood Road, that opened in an existing parade of shops. The upper floor architecture of all the shops along the left side of the road is identical. Woolworths is in the centre left of this photograph.
Note the peppermint blue door frames. The window poster in the summer of 2008 advertises a price drop of an inflatable pool to £39.99.
The store lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
It became a Tesco Express, which closed down in 2015.
Then it became The Original Factory Shop, but they also closed down and today the unit is vacant.
2-3 The Borough, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7NA
Woolworths opened in Farnham in 1929, in an existing building on The Borough (see below on the left, with the pedestrian crossing directly in front).
They traded from here right until the end, closing in December 2008.
It became the poshest ex-Woolworths when interior design company Evitavossi took over the premises.
Source: Soult’s Retail View
But Evitavossi moved a couple of years later, and today the building is occupied by what looks like Britain’s poshest Poundland.