46 – 48 High Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire DE11 8HR
Woolworths opened in Swadlincote in 1934. It didn’t have an upper floor which looks rather odd in this photo. The upper floor was built in a Georgian style at some point afterwards.
Source: Siddalls, I.
The store was extended into the little shop on the left side, as you can see in this photo. The fascia has the 1970s style logo. Former employee Liz Bishop says, “I had a Saturday job at Swadlincote from 1986 to 1988 when I moved to London. It paid for my driving lessons! Think I was on £2.52 per hour!”
Source: Derby Telegraph
Margaret Gosling tells us that Swadlincote was the store in the original TKM training in 1991 (ie Takings Management – the first Cash Office PC system). Tracy Clifford was Assistant Manager at 567 in the mid ’90s. She remembers, “Joy Hadley was the Store Manager. I had a wee flat nearby at Church Gresley. Lottery started during that time 🙂”
Woolworths traded from here right until the end, closing in December 2008.
Source: Getty Images
It became a Poundstretcher, but today it is occupied by Peacocks.
5 Market Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 3HH
This Woolworths store opened in part of the Crown Hotel on Market Square, Marlow around 1935. The building was formerly the town hall dating back from 1807. Here is a postcard of the whole building when it was the Crown Hotel in 1913.
Source: Postcards Then and Now
And here you can see the side that became Woolworths – this was in the 1950s.
Relatively unchanged in the 1970s.
I think the store closed in the 1980s when the company closed a lot of stores to cut costs, and since then it has been a Boots store. Here it is today.
This post was originally written in May 2017
87 High Street, West Wickham, Kent BR4 0NZ
Woolworths opened in West Wickham High Street in 1934. You can see it in the centre of this 1950s photo. It was purpose built in a style to fit with the new parade of shops. West Wickham grew from a village to a town in the 1930s.
Source: Beckenham History Website
Former employee Lynne Driver has fond memories of the store. She tells us that she started her 28 year service at West Wickham, staying there for just over a year before moving to Croydon Store 12 as District Secretary.
Woolworths traded from 87 High Street for 74 years. There must have been a refurb at some point that moved the doors to one side rather than in the centre. It closed on 30th December 2008.
Source: Flickr, Danny
Shortly after it’s closure, a Carpetright opened here, where it still trades today.
Source: Flickr, Mark
53-55 Station Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 4BE
Woolworths opened in Hayes Town in 1934. The purpose-built store was in the town centre on Station Road, near Hayes and Harlington train station. It had the classic Woolworths architecture of 5 bays, red brick and a central pediment.
This was one of my local stores that I visited with my parents in the 1990s. It looked small from the outside and was also at a funny angle, but it was actually a large L-shaped store. We didn’t visit this branch that often, as my mother preferred to visit the nearby Hayes End branch on Uxbridge Road, because you could park in front of the store for free.
Here are some memories from former employees of the Hayes Town Woolworths. Linda Hughes worked there on Saturdays. She says, “I was put behind the tea bar and it was so busy with curled up sandwiches and stewed tea!”
Lynn Goodall says her mum worked in the Hayes Town Woolworths when she left school. “It must be about 1942-ish, she worked on the counter selling hankies etc. Her dog used to follow her to work, so she used to hide it under the counter. But on one occasion mum forgot to bring her hankie to work with her, so the lady working on the counter with her lent her hers. When my mum went to lunch, she dropped the hankie from her sleeve, the manager saw it and asked where she got it. She said her friend let her borrow it. The friend denied it, so he said she stole it, so he took her home and told her mum, and she got the sack!! She also earn’t £1 2/6.”
Mary Brooks also worked on Saturdays there, between 1966 – 1968. She remembers being “interviewed at Hayes Town store for 22s 6d a day but offered, and took, a position at Southall store for 25s 0d as they wanted white people there. Quite rightly this wouldn’t be allowed today. Worked on DIY counter selling tools, nails and screws etc and my supervisor was Mrs Best, a lovely lady.”
Sue Stradling worked there in the late 1960s, after school and on Saturdays. “I started on the Paint & Polish counter, progressing to a Service aid, then a Saturday Supervisor. I always remember the annual stock take, which finished on 31st December, usually in time to celebrate the New Year. I always seemed to end up counting hair nets or nails!! Happy memories.”
This is a newspaper cutting from around the 1970s of the Hayes Town Woolworth Wonders, posted online by Carol Dorman, who worked at the store with her mum.
Source: Dorman, C
Stephen Deller was Assistant Manager in the mid-90s, he tells us “under the tutoridge of Roger Best and Dave Lemming. Great times😉”
Mark Ward also worked at the store when Dave Lemming was manager. He says “I got signed off as an Assistant Manager at the store in 2001. Always a great team there, Dave was a great trainer for many future managers!”
Mark worked there with my husband Ganesh Jillah when they were both training to be assistant managers. Ganesh remembers when a man came into the store and stole 5 tubs of Quality Street, back when they were the big tubs that sold for about £10 each. Someone shouted out ‘thief!” and the man ran out the store with the tubs. Mark and Ganesh chased him down Station Road when the thief dropped the tubs outside Argos and legged it. Ganesh says “We were always told to chase a thief if we could, but if they go into the estate, don’t go in there. It’s too dangerous.” He also remembers Ferrero Rochers sold really well at this store, as well as PAYG mobile phones – so much so that they had to put a limit of maximum 3 per customer. And they used to get lunch from The Bakers Oven.
Hayes Town Woolworths closed in January 2009. It became a 99p store, which later became a Poundland when they took over the chain.
Source: Flickr – southalboard
43 The Broadway, Mill Hill, London NW7 3DE
Woolworths opened in Mill Hill on the 23rd March 1934. Although the building looks like it may have been a cinema, it was probably a purpose-built store according to @InsideMillHill. Perhaps the Woolworths architects were experimenting with facade designs.
Source: Twitter @Barneteye
Woolworths traded from here until the end in December 2008. It became an Iceland, and then what appears to be flats were built behind the facade. So it looks like this now.
And recently lots of Woolworths trolleys were found in Mill Hill – see this tweet from November 2019. “Woolworths – lets have some fun”
246 – 250 High Street, Dovercourt, Essex CO12 3PA
Woolworths opened in the small Essex seaside town of Dovercourt in 1934. It was a small purpose-built store with an art deco style facade.
Known as the ‘3d & 6d store’, the frontage doubled in size in 1937.
This photo shows a makeover in progress with the new logo having just been put on.
Source: Historic England
Former employee Margaret Gosling says Dovercourt was one of the Epos stores and later part of her district as DSA. Dean Worley used to work there and he still lives in the town too.
13 – 15 Market Place, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 2LZ
Woolworths opened in Hyde in 1933. It was on the High Street in a corner site on the junction with Hammet Street. It’s an interesting looking building with a dome, formerly a store called Brownson’s Clothiers.
Source: Hydonian Blog
The traded here for 75 years, closing in December 2008. The unit was taken over by Poundstretcher. You can still see the Woolies tiling and doors on the shopfront.
50 Mill Street, Alloa, Clackmannanshire FK10 1DZ
Woolworths opened in Alloa, Scotland, in 1933. It was on Mill Street in an existing building. Six years later a cinema opened next door – you can see it in this photo with the art deco facade.
Source: Tour Scotland
The store was updated in the 1950s, we can tell from the architecture and the curtain walling in this photo.
Source: Cinema Treasures
In this close-up of the store, it is interesting to see a ‘Welcome to Woolworths Alloa’ above the doors.
Source: Old Alloa Photos
This Woolworths lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
It became a Poundland.
163 High Street, Arbroath, Angus DD11 1DU
Woolworths opened in Arbroath, Scotland, in 1933. It opened on the site of the former White Hart Hotel on the corner of the High Street and Kirk Square. The store was L-shaped with an entrance on both roads.
Source: Cook, G.
Former employee John McKillop did six months of his store manager training in Arbroath between 1987-88, under manager Mike Whelton’s eagle eyes. He says the store was on a hill, so one entrance had 7 or 8 steps up to street level – unfortunately one customer slipped down them and was taken to hospital. He tells us the Assistant Manager was Jean Tasker, who sadly passed away a few years ago. Sandra ran the office, Ethel was on confectionary/clothing with Diane. Fiona was on entertainment with Irene, and Elizabeth on household.
High Street Side
Kirk Square side
CA Buchan tells us more about the more recent days, “Laura Ogilvie was Store Manager of Arbroath from 2004-2006. She started there as a Saturday staff member and then joined the Woolworths graduate scheme after leaving university. Her gran worked in 519 Arbroath from 1965 onwards and she is pictured behind the counters in the below photographs.”
“519 Arbroath was part of district 102 with district manager Terry Kelly until 2003.”
Source: CA Buchan
There are some great photos on Flickr from Gordon Cook that really tell a story about the store. The faces to the names mentioned in John’s account – Ethel, Diane and Jean – are revealed in this photograph.
“The Arbroath winner of the Woolworth Sport Aid 88 was Lewis Chapman (7) who won 60 seconds to go round the store and help himself to items from the shelves. He ended up with goods priced at £101.48. In the picture were, from left, back – Ethel Reid, Diane Wight, Vince Jewitt, manager; and Jean Tasker: front – Lewis and his dad, Brian.”
Source: Cook, G
In July 1993 the store had a refurbishment and staff gathered for a photo to celebrate it.
Source: Cook, G.
Arbroath Woolworths closed in December 2008. Today it is a Nickel & Dime store.
Source: Robson, G.
47 – 49 Hertford Road, Lower Edmonton, London N9 7ED
Woolworths opened in Lower Edmonton in 1933. There was another store in Edmonton (Store 367) – that was Upper Edmonton, which opened on Fore Street 4 years earlier in 1929. This one was on Hertford Road. Looking at the upper floor architecture in this photo, we can guess it was originally a small store which got doubled in size. The upper floor architecture had been replicated like a mirror.
Source: Hambleton, R.
This 1960s photo gives a better view of how large the store was. Sadly this area was demolished soon after this photo was taken, with redevelopments taking place and shops moving into a new shopping centre.
24 – 32 North Mall, Lower Edmonton, London N9 0EZ
In the 1970s Woolworths reopened in the North Mall of the Edmonton Green Shopping Centre. Former employee Brenda Over, who worked here for 39 years, kindly sent in this photo.
Lower Edmonton Woolworths 2000s
Source: Over, B
This is where Woolworths traded right until the end in December 2008, and you can just about see the 1970s doors were still in use (you can tell by the silver metal block in the middle of the doors and the little white square that would have had a W logo in it)
Source: FR Pix
Today it is a Home Bargains, and yeah, the doors have gone.
48- 50 The Broadway, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9PT
Woolworths opened in Greenford in September 1933. It does look purpose-built but a different look to other branches. Perhaps the design was to fit in with the parade of neighbouring shops. You can see it in the below photo, the single storey building behind the bus. It had a central pediment but a curved design.
The store is in the distance on the left side of this 1965 photo.
Source: Francis Frith
If you type in ‘Greenford Broadway’ into Flickr, you will find a load of bus photos – it seems bus enthusiasts love Greenford. But amongst these photos is this one where you can see Woolworths behind the bus (again!).
Mr. Woolies Detective happens to be former employee Ganesh Jillah. He worked at Greenford Woolworths from 1995 to 2001, and took the below photo when it closed for good in December 2008. He reminisces “I remember when we moved the entertainment counter from the left side to the right and then back to the left in all the store refits”
I said “What? How did you move a whole entertainment counter?” He said “We was Woolworths. We could have done anything. And we did.”
He also mentioned the presence of ghosts at Greenford.
“One evening, me and Stewart were cashing up when we heard all the sound books go off, you know the kids books where you press a button and it makes a sound. And there was no one else in store, just me and Stewart.”
I said “What, all of them?”
“Yes ALL of them. We thought we must be hearing things and carried on. Went upstairs, came back down to lock up, suddenly the books start going off again, and one flew off the shelf. We legged it.”
In 2000 this branch became a General Store and was renumbered to Store 2023. The concept did not last long, and it went back to being a normal Woolworths, but the fascia still said ‘Woolworths general store’ right until it closed in December 2008.
Today an Iceland store is in its place.
This post was originally written in July 2014.
24-25 High Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3ET
Woolworths opened on Chippenham High Street in April 1933. It was a purpose-built store with 5 bays and a central pediment.
Source: Historic England
This is a staff photo from the 1950s, it looks like it was a cold day from all the Woolworths girls wearing their coats.
The store was modernised in 1957/58. Then in 1974, the store was converted to self-service, with further modernisation the following year. In 1977 a Garden Centre was added as an annex. This was when the recognisable single floor frontage was replaced with a smooth two-floor frontage which you can see below.
Chippenham Woolworths was an Early Operation Focus comparison store, having a full refurbishment in 1986. In 1990, the Garden Centre annex was closed and put up for sale. During the 1990s the store was used for concept development, pioneering the Heartland store format (which included reopening the Garden Centre as a salesfloor extension, giving space to reintroduce petcare, a limited range of toiletries and video rental). The store appeared in Analysts video in 1995 to illustrate how the business had changed and managed to generate £100m profit in a single year. Heartland elements were progressively dropped and the store narrowly escaped selection as a Woolworths General Store – instead it was upgraded to the latest 10/10 specification after demerger. [Extract from 100thbirthday.co.uk]
Former Head Office employee Elizabeth Seabrook has fond memories of the store. She says that in 1993 Chippenham was a trial store for Central Replenishment, she thinks the store was chosen because it was near the project manager’s house! When they visited the store from HO she remembers staying at the Angel Inn across the road.
Source: Wright J.
2008 photo from my Facebook group:
The store closed in January 2009. I took this photo when I visited Chippenham in April 2009:
Today the unit has been split into two stores – Poundland and Costa Coffee. If you are ever in Chippenham, you can sit and have a coffee in what used to be a Woolworths.
Source: ballysundriven, Flickr
63 Victoria Street, Paignton, Devon TQ4 5ED
On 22nd July 1932, Woolworths opened in Paignton, ‘the family resort of picturesque Torbay’ as the town is described on vintage railway posters. This was 12 years after the neighbouring Torquay branch opened. Paignton Woolies opened on the former Dellers Hotel site next to the level crossing at Paignton Station, with the Gerston Hotel on its right. The store was extended in April 1937, with a further extension in August 1953.
After 30 years, the store had a major makeover in April 1966 to make it a huge superstore, featuring a cafe and deli upstairs complete with barstools and a big drinks machine. There was exterior curtain walling to make the store appear more modern.
Source: Woolworths Museum
Below is the store in 1977 (in the background), looking the same as the 1966 photo but in colour.
Here is the store in 1998, with the more familiar Woolworths frontage.
Here is the store just before it closed on 30th December 2008. It left a big hole in Paignton, with the building laying empty for nearly a year.
Then on Saturday 12th December 2009, the 99p store had a grand opening – the Paignton 99p Store was the 123rd UK 99p Store and the 52nd ex-Woolworths store to be re-opened by the company. That’s a lot of 99p stores.(Source: Exeter Express and Echo) The upstairs became a Sports Direct. I read on a forum how some locals were disappointed that they got a 99p store whereas neighbouring Torquay got an H&M in their ex-Woolies building.
When my family went to Paignton in 2014, the building was under scaffolding.Still I took the above photo to replicate the one from 1977 so you can see the before and after. Below is what it looks like under the scaffolding.
Today it is Poundland and Sports Direct.
This post was originally written in September 2014 and was updated in February 2020.
36 – 38 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4TD
Woolworths opened in Kendal in 1931, and this store had an Art Deco facade. The earliest photo I could find is this 1970s one.
Source: Blackstone, M.
Former employee Rachel Murphy has fond memories of working at the Kendal store. She has shared a staff photo from the 1998 Christmas party. And apparently Malcolm Conway was a complete legend – he worked there for 40+ years!
Kendal Woolworths lasted until the end, closing in December 2008.
Source: Taylor, S.
Today it is Home Bargains. If you are ever shopping in Kendal, look up and admire the Woolworths Art Deco facade.
Source: Deighton, J.
89 – 91 Lozells Road, Birmingham B19 2TR
Woolworths opened in Lozells Road in Birmingham in 1931. It closed in the 1970s/80s.
It wasn’t a purpose-build Woolworths store. From the address we can work out the it was where Bismillah Bakery and Dixy Chicken are today.
9/11 Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon RG9 2BA
Woolworths opened in Henley-on-Thames on Bell Street in 1931. It was a small purpose-built store with the classic architecture. This is a photo from Historic England that shows the store ready the day before opening day. There are posters in the window advertising for sales assistants.
There was a alleyway to the left of the store under the fascia, you can see it closer in this 1968 photo. There had been a makeover so all the doors were in the centre and the letters on the fascia look quite large.
In the 1990s it became a Woolworths Local.
Source: Baldock, J.
Above is the store just before it closed (picture from my facebook group).
It is now a small convenience format Sainsbury’s, a really busy one too. That’s me in front of it in 2014. I always look up at the Woolies architecture whenever I am in Henley-on-Thames.
54-55 Fitzgerald Way, Salford, Manchester M6 5LJ
Woolworths opened somewhere in Salford in 1931. Although I have no photos of the original store, former store manager Tony Coghlan paints a pretty good picture of it from his days there in the late 1960s. “Gosh, 435 Salford, my first store as manager! Even then it was old fashioned. Emergency lights were gas lights and the wooden floor had to be oiled weekly and then valspar spread on it. The gasometer was at the rear and we always had a smell of gas. Then one day we found we had a gas leak in the store and had had it for years! Nevertheless I just loved that store and the wonderful staff.”
From the sound of it, Woolworths needed to move to a new building. And when the new Salford Shopping Centre opened in 1972, they moved in with a much larger new store, complete with oversized letters on the fascia.
Source: Kersal Flats
Source: Kersal Flats
Source: Kepcove, D.
The new store came with new problems… shoplifters. Kevin Alexander says he was “Pro tem in Salford in 1976. What a store. A bit like “High Noon”. Shoplifters every day, relationship with police brilliant. Gerry was the ideal manager for that store.”
Simon Sharp remembers “Gerry McEvoy was the manager of Salford for many years – what a character. He knew how much was being nicked by how high the toddlers were in their strollers.”
Oh dear! The store lasted to the end though, and closed in December 2008.
Source: Old Salford
Today Home Bargains is in the unit.
Ormonde Street, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear
Woolworths opened in Jarrow in 1931 on Ormonde Street. It was a purpose-built store with the classic Woolworths architecture, next to Burtons (see below photo).
Source: Perry, P.
In the 1960s a new shopping centre called the Arndale Shopping Centre was built (later renamed The Viking Centre) and all the shops on Ormonde Street, except for Burton, were demolished to make way for council housing. Today there is a house and front garden where the Woolworths store used to be.
41-43 Grange Road (Bede Precinct), Jarrow, Tyne and Wear NE32 3JZ
In the 1961 Woolworths moved to Grange Road as part of the new shopping centre.
Source: The Shields Gazette
Source: The Shields Gazette
The store closed in January 2009, and it became a Store Twenty One. It is now an Iceland store.
20 – 22 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC13 4QJ
Woolworths opened in Clerkenwell in 1931. They took over the premises to two shops – a hosier and a greengrocer. It was right next to the church on Exmouth Market.
Source: O’Brien, C.
Source: O’Brien, C.
The store traded here for 58 years, closing in January 1989. It became a William Hill betting shop.
7 High Street, Banbury, Oxfordshire
Woolworths opened on Banbury High Street in 1931, according to the Banbury Guardian. It was built on the site of the Red Lion Hotel, below on the left, which was demolished to make way for the new store.
Source: Francis Frith
Here you can see the Woolworths store on the right of the photo in the 1960s.
Source: Francis Frith
Here are some wonderful photos of the interior from a lady who spent 30 years of her life working for “The old Woolworths”, courtesy of Edd Frost & Daughters Ltd.
In the 1970s store list, the address is listed as 7a, so the store must have been halved, and the Woolworths store was kept open on the right side (that’s the Abbey National side in the below photo). Mothercare may well have been there since the 1970s, as their first stores opened in the 1960s. Woolworths closed on the High Street in the 1980s. So there was a period of time when Banbury had no Woolworths. Abbey National moved into 7a.
7a High Street today is Santander, and you can clearly see from the windows above that this was the Woolworths building.
Unit 51, Castle Quay Shopping Centre, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 8UP
The Castle Quay shopping centre was first built in 1977. In 1999, it underwent an £85 million redevelopment and this was when Woolworths moved in. It had a new store number 1203. It was the second store you saw as you walked inside, so a good position, and it backed on to the canal.
Source: Flickr, BRG2
The store closed in December 2008, and when I visited the town in September 2009, the Woolworths fascias were still up, but it was being converted into an H&M, so it must have opened soon after. I visited Banbury again last week, and this is how the former Woolworths looks today from the inside of the shopping centre.
This post was originally written in September 2015.