The Woolworths Museum


The 1910s Woolworth Workforce

Woolworth employed more than a million people during the course of the twentieth century in an operation that spanned North America, the British Isles and Commonwealth, Germany and, for a short time, Spain and France. Some employees stayed for their whole lives, joining at age fourteen and staying until the day before their sixtieth birthdays. A few worked even longer, returning from retirement to help the Company through the dark days of World War II. Many popped in for a while as Saturday boys and girls before taking up other roles elsewhere. Most retained a strong affection for the brand for the rest of their lives.

On this page we have chosen four stores which are typical of the operation in the 1910s.

  • two from the UK - Ramsgate, Kent and Southend-on-Sea, Essex
  • two from the USA - Marshalltown, Iowa and Glen Falls, New York

 

The staff of the F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. store in High Street, Ramsgate, Kent - pictured in 1917

 

1917 was the first year when all British and Irish staff were issued with uniforms, rather than being told to wear their own clothes with white blouses or shirts and black skirts or trousers and black shoes. The picture was taken to mark the store's first birthday - it had opened on 5 August 1916.

 

Colleagues at the Southend, Essex UK (left) and Marshalltown Iowa branches of Woolworths in 1918-19

Above left: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK, 1918; right: a new store in Marshalltown, Iowa, USA, 1919

 

The team of Charles Sumner Woolworth's store in Glen Falls, USA - pictured in 1911 (Image with thanks to his great grandson, Mr Scott Oakford)

Above: the team at C. S. Woolworth's store in Glen Falls, shortly before the name was lost in the $65m merger

 

 


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