Nix Over Six Gallery The first British and Irish stores: 1909-1914 Nix over Six Gallery The British F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. stores opened between 1909 and 1914 British Woolworth Pioneers A snapshot of some of the 44 stores opened between 1909 and 1914. (C) Copyright 3D and 6D Pictures Ltd, 2016. Commercial use requires a licence. Church Street, Liverpool 1909 Church Street in the north-western port city of Liverpool was chosen as Woolworth UK's ground zero 25 Church Street, Liverpool The well-appointed store had frontages in two roads, Church Street and Williamson Street The original Liverpool shopfront The main entrance in Church Street was directly opposite Liverpool's pro cathedral. The picture was taken on 4 November 1909. The vista from the main entrance Customers were greeted with displays of Fancy Goods when they entered the store, along with a second fascia in case they forgot where they were shopping! Glass personal service counter A close up of the display cabinets at the front of the store, with the confectionery and drinks department on the wall behind Tempting treats Fancy umbrellas were among the sixpenny treats on sale at the first British Woolworth's on its opening day Liverpool Woolworth's Grand Staircase (1909) The luxurious interior of the first British Woolies owed much to the hat shop which had previously occupied the premises. Here we see the grand staircase to the upper salesfloor. Threepenny items at Woolworth's Threepenny goods were displayed towards the back of the Church Street, Liverpool store, behind the sixpenny counters. Meanwhile the part of the store opening into Williamson Street was entirely stocked with penny items China and Glass Showroom at Woolworth's China and Glass was displayed upstairs in this grand gallery at the first British Woolworth store in Liverpool Staffordshire china and pottery at Woolworth's (1909) Display principles first employed in Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA were used to give the million dollar look to the locally-made threepenny and sixpenny crockery and glassware The Penny Counters at Woolworth's The part of the first British Woolworth store opening onto Williamson Street was entirely stocked with items costing just one penny Everything One Penny The penny prices were much lower than any in the US Five and Ten Cent formula, and were designed to fight fierce competition from the Marks and Spencer penny bazaar as well as local market traders Woolworth's wonders - luxuries for a penny Frank Woolworth insisted that good quality items were to be included in the penny displays, even if this meant accepting lower margins in the early days The Tea Room The Founder included tea bars or restaurants in all of the early British and Irish Woolworth stores. These were intended to overcome local shoppers' perceived reticence to enter a shop without having already chosen something to buy from the window displays. 9 Fishergate, Preston The second British Woolworth's opened on 5 February 1910 in a prominent position at the top of Preston's Fishergate, facing the cotton town's elegant Victorian town hall and its spectacular Miller Arcade. The long queues at Woolworth's soon started to annoy local councillors trying to get to work! After a number of court battles, larger premises were opened at the opposite end of the street in 1923, and continued to prosper right through until 2009. A new Woolworth's in the former Owen Owen premises in London Road, Liverpool (1910) Woolworth UK's store no. 3 was in London Road, Liverpool 8. By pulling out all of the stops they managed to open their doors one day before store 2 in Preston, launching on 4 February 1910. The crowd was so large that counters in the store were knocked over, and the local constabulary (aka 'the bizzies') had to be called! 10-12 Oldham Street, Manchester (1910) The original Woolworth store in Manchester opened in Oldham Street in 1910. The large two floor store became the training ground for future managers. In 1927 business was transferred along the street to an iconic purpose-built store on the corner of Piccadilly. 131 Briggate, Leeds (1910) Woolworth took on well-appointed premises on the ground floor of Exchange Buildings at 131 Briggate, Leeds. The upper floors were used as offices and bedrooms for the Grand Central Hotel next door. The store opened on Friday 8th March, 1910 and relocated to purpose built premises next door on 1 December 1928. 4-5 Whitefriargate, Hull The retailer adapted existing premises at 4 and 5 Whitefriargate, Hull to create a double-fronted threepenny and sixpenny store. It opened on Friday 11th November 1910, remaining in-situ for almost 75 years before business was transferred to the larger and more modern store in nearby King Edward Street on 7th April 1984. 415-7 Brixton Road, corner of Atlantic Road, Brixton, London (1910) Woolworth's first London store opened on 10th December 1910 at the corner of Atlantic Road and Brixton Road. Brixton was a fashionable suburb famed for its large Edwardian villas. It is just three miles from the centre of the City. The branch relocated along the parade to iconic purpose-built premises diagonally opposote the town hall on 3rd September 1936, where it traded until the demise of the retail chain in 2008 91-3 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough (1911) The first branch to open in brand new premises, bought off-plan in 1911 and finished to the Company's specification. It resited to numbers 51-67 in 1926, and was later rebuilt there in the 1950s.The freehold building was sacrificed in the 1980s, only re-opening in the Hillstreet Centre some years later. 26-28 Hare Street, Woolwich (1911) Workers from the munitions industry made the Woolwich store one of the biggest early successes. The premises were expanded and upgraded several times before World War II, making Woolworth's one of the largest stores locally. The beautiful freehold building was unceremoniously sold in 1984, shortly after the business changed hands. 63 Castle Street, Bristol (1911) Bristol was the first purpose-built store. It opened in 1911. It had a restaurant and cafe on the upper floor. The picture shows the store after it was extended in the Twenties, The frontage was broken by an access lobby for office premises on the top floor. The building was destroyed by enemy action in World War II. 37-9 High Street, Harlesden (1911) The premises were adapted to the company's design in 1911, and were extended and remodelled further before this picture was taken. In 1988 the site was split to accommodate sister company Superdrug. Woolworth pulled out on 12th January 1991, after failing to agree terms for a new lease. 60 North End, Croydon (1912) A locally-made Darracq Motor Car outside the store in North End, Croydon, Surrey, which opened on 4th May 1912 The Cinematograph Theatre and F.W. Woolworth's, 60-68 North End Croydon (1912) This second view shows customers in Edwardian attire. The store doubled in size on 29 January 1930 when by absorbing the Cinematograph Theatre on the left. It is said the Mr Pyke, the owner, who had earned acclaim as the first in the area to show talking pictures in 1928, had received made an offer he couldn't refuse from his neighbour. Service with a smile at Woolworth's of Croydon (1912) The interior of the Croydon store in 1912. Note the handwritten signs, and the pyramid displays above the cornice line which were to become a hallmark of the brand. At its closure in 2008, Croydon was the nation's longest serving Woolies in its original location. 58-9 Victoria Street, Wolverhampton (1912) The first Woolworth store in the Midlands opened at 58-59 Victoria Street, Wolverhampton in June 1912. By this time the huge Venetian-style glazing on the upper floor had become a company favourite, flooding the upper salesfloor with light, and offering shoppers commanding views of the displays from out in the street. 243-4 High Street, Swansea (1912) The first Welsh store, which joined the chain in 1912. Such was its success that Woolworth's bought out the the neighbouring Cameron Hotel, adapted it and moved next door in 1928. The original premises vanished in a junction improvement scheme, while Nazi warplanes reaked havoc on the new premises. Fortunately the salesfloors were saved, trading without the upper floor offices (which had proved hard to sublet during the Great Depression). 87-95 Rye Lane, Peckham (1912) Opened on 13th July 1912 in a location adjacent to Peckham Rye railway stations. The Company always favoured premises near to public transport hubs. Over the next 96 years the store was rebuilt twice and extended six times, absorbing neighbouring premises right from from Kennedy's Sausages beyond the left of the picture to Moncrieff Street on the right. The side-road was later blocked off and a cinema opened, set back from Rye Lane, next door to Woolworths. 17-19 Oxford Street, Bolton, Lancashire (1912) An artist's impression of Bolton's original Woolworth in Oxford Street, which opened on 9th November 1912. Company bosses decided that the store was off location and resolved to move to Deansgate when an appropriate site came up. 26 Deansgate, Bolton (1926) Woolworth acquired the Britannia Building on the corner of Deansgate and Bridge Street, and converted the former furniture shop into an iconic Woolies. Sales rocketed over the level achieved in neighbouring Oxford St. The store was fully rebuilt and extended in-situ in 1959 as part of the retailer's 50th Anniversary celebrations, and continued to prosper right through to 2009, thanks to its superb and loyal staff. Side entrance in Bridge Street, Bolton, Lancashire This second picture shows the side entrance to the Bolton store, perched on the hillside of Bridge Street. 112 High Street, Chatham, Kent (1912) The ornate facade of the original, purpose-built store, which opened on 16 November 1912, next to the Theatre Royal. As the pattern of trade in the town changed, new premises were commissioned at 184-190 High Street, Business was transferred on 16th October 1936. The Woolworth heritage of the original premises had been forgotten when the 'delapidated former furniture shop' was unceremoniously demolished in 2008, with the space left empty. 58-59 Freeman Street, Grimsby (1913) The Grimbsy branch opened in 1913, completing a line of stores from the north-west to north-east coasts of England. It was a hit with the town's fishermen and dockworkers, selling more hunting knives and budget breakfasts than any other branch! A larger store in Victoria Street, Grimsby opened on 27th September 1957 and business from Freeman Street was transferred there on 29th July 1982. Give me a ring sometime! Ilford High Road. A large glass island counter of jewellery and rings at the store in Ilford High Road, in the Metropolitan Borough of Redbridge, pictured in 1924. The branch had opened in well-appointed premises next to the Town Hall. 120-2 High Road Ilford (1912) The purpose-built Ilford Woolies is just visible, set forward to the right of the Town Hall. The freehold building was closed and sold on 29th January 1983, shortly after the business changed hands. Ironically, former sister company Superdrug now occupies half of the premises, alongside Curry's, part of Dixons which was Woolworths' nemesis in the 1980s. The chain returned to Ilford with a branch at 4 Balfour Road in 2001. 142-4 High Street, Lewisham (1912) The Company was particularly proud of its galleried frontage in Lewisham, South East London, particularly after it was upgraded with a cinema front (as shown) in 1936. The neon lettering at the top of the building cost a remarkable £50,000 when installed. No wonder Pearce Signs could afford to place their van in the photo! Store staff outside Queen Street, Cardiff (opened 1913, pictured 1924) Following success at Swansea, Woolworth were keen to open in the Welsh capital, Cardiff. Such was the success of the branch that by 1914 it had a grand re-opening after a major extension. 50-4 Queen Street, Cardiff The Queen Street store proved a smash hit with customers in Cardiff when it opened in 1913. The freehold premises were sacrificed shortly after the business changed hands, closing in 1984. They also have a cafe there if you should want a snack (..and if you find a bit of meat, you get your money back!) - Cardiff 1913. This postcard, issued in 1913, gives a rare glimpse of the scale and style of the catering facilities in an Edwardian Woolworth store. Unlike the cafe shown at Liverpool, taken on from a previous occupier, this one was laid out to the Company's standard specification at the time. 17 Northumberland Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1913) Squeezed between a large and thriving tailors and gentlemen's outfitters and the first Fenwick department store, the branch in Northumberland Street was a smash hit when it opened on 6th September. Every picture of the store in the early years shows a Carter Paterson's lorry or container in the street outside, which brought up goods from the Railway Station to replenish the counters. The extended store at 15-21 Northumberland Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne The Newcastle store trebled in size without every closing in a redevelopment scheme which completed in 1936. The elegant, enlarged building was put up around the existing store as shopping continued as usual. The freehold premises were sacrificed as part of the asset-stripping of 1985. 78-9 Northgate, Darlington (1913) Woolworth opened in Northgatre, Darlington on 27th September 1913. The store was extended in October 1927 and relocated to purpose-built premises along the road at nos. 12-18 on 20th September 1940, where it continued to serve with distinction right to the bitter end. 178-180 Edgware Road, London W2 Opened on 21 March 1914 near Marble Arch and Oxford Street, extended and rebuilt in November 1936. In later years it was repeadtedly refurbished as the flagship, becoming a Weekend, General Store and 10/10 over time before being sold to Waitrose, shortly before they could have got it much cheaply! 65 Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland (1914) The first Irish store opened on 23rd April 1914, when Dublin considered itself 'the second City of the Empire'. Just two years later the Easter Rising, and the destruction of Bewley's Department Store brought a second, rather larger Dublin store in (King) Henry Street. 65-68 Grafton Street, Dublin (1939) A 25th birthday view of the enlarged store in the premier shopping street.. After World War II its unique look was replaced by the standard house style. New owners controversially decided to withdraw from Ireland, forcing its closure on 3rd March 1984. 38A High Street (aka Market Place), Dudley, Worcestershire (1914) The Company bought a 25 year lease on narrow-fronted premises at 38A Market Place, Dudley, opening on 21st March 1914. The store was a hit and became for its queues, but had no scope for extension. 43 High Street (aka Market Place), Dudley, Worcestershire (1935) The new premises were completed a fortnight before the old lease expired, prompting a grand re-opening on 12th April 1935. A basement floor was added in 1960, opening in King Street, which became a Shoppers World Store from 1975 to 1983. The Dudley Woolies prospered until 2008. 29 High Street, Southend-on-Sea, Essex (1914) This picture shows the tiny original frontage in Southend (which opened on 25th April 1914), and was taken at the end of the Great War. The store proved a hit with locals and tourists alike, and was rebuilt and extended in 1934. 29-35 High Street, Southend-on-Sea (1934) Quadrupled in size during the Thirties, without any period of closure, completing on 29th March 1934. The upper floor housed a huge restaurant. A cinema front was added in 1957, when the store was extended again. Despite the upper floor closing in 1988, the store prospered until the bitter end in 2008. Southend Restaurant and Cafeteria The restaurant at Southend had its own entrance after the rebuilding of 1934, allowing it to open seven days a week. The styling took on the latest ideas from the USA, and was considered remarkably modern at the time of opening. The cafe closed in June 1988, because tourist visitor numbers to the Essex resort had fallen dramatically from the mid-1970s onwards. Commercial Road, Landport (1914) The first Woolies at the home of the fleet in Landport area of Portsmouth opened on 22nd August 1914. The location has been pinpointed from a competitor's advertising; from 1914 until 1926 the rival from No. 121 always stated 'opposite Woolworth's' when going to print. The store relocated on the opposite side, closer to the town hall in a purpose-built, larger store on 20th August 1926. Commercial Road, Portsmouth Quick Lunch Counter As well as a conventional restaurant, after relocating across the road to Nos. 164-6 on 20th August 1926, the Portsmouth store incorporated this ultra-modern quick lunch counter, which proved so popular with locals that tourists had to wait their turn. Sadly the entire building was lost to enemy action on 11th January 1941. 22-4 Lister Gate, Nottingham (1914) Nottingham's first Woolworth store opened its doors on 28th August 1914 in the shadow of the City's famous fountain. The opening was advertised in the Nottingham Evening Post, mentioning its Cafe's sixpenny three course lunches and its very long trading hours from 9am to 9pm (1pm on Thursdays) Lister Gate, Nottingham (1914) The original Nottingham premises were extended and rebuilt as a spectacular superstore, with the work completing in 1937, and doubled in size again in the 1970s before being closed and sold in the early 1980s. 12-14 Darley Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire (1914) Woolworth opened in the Wool City in August 1914 in a prime spit half way up the steeply sloping Darley Street. At the time its coal and wool industries made the City the boom town of the North. 12-14 Darley Street, Bradford (1937) M&S soon opened next door to Woolworth's, making expansion difficult. Instead of growing sideways, the premises grew upwards and backwards, while retaining the same frontage. A huge monolithic concrete superstore was built on the site in the mid 1960s. Its valuable freehold made it one of the first to go as to new owners started to asset-strip the business in 1983/ 92 Regent Street, Swindon, Wiltshire (1914) Woolworth chose the 'tram centre' as the home its Swindon store, which opened on 12 September 1914. A few days later a customer very kindly scribbled on this card (which was bought in the store and published by FWW) to highlight the location! 92 Regent Street, Swindon (1914) This card, published by Valentines, is identical to the FWW issue, save for the pseudo colour. Regent Street took shape as local people rebelled against the steep slope of the High Street in the old town. Private houses were converted to shops by adding arcades on the front. 23-25 Regent Street, Swindon, Wiltshire (1936) In a brave move, Woolworth designed a purpose-built store at the top of the street, past McIlroy's, which had only very small shops. It opened on 19th November 1936, and proved itself to be one of the most popular branches right through until 2009. 64-70 Union Street, Glasgow (1914) The first Scottish Woolworth opened on 2nd October 1914, next door to a popular cinema. Sadly, in the rush to open, the Manager neglected to proof-read his advertisement, and was ribbed for years about the missing 'L' in Gasgow. ('What the L were you thinking of, man?!) 62-70 Union Street, Glasgow (1921) In 1921 the Union Street store absorbed the cinema entrance next door, widening its frontage. Shortly after work was completed a disastrous fire broke out in the stockroom at midnight, causing alarm to the City because of its proximity to the station. 62-70 Union Street, Glasgow (1955) A wide view, showing the Union Street store beyond the station and the Egyptian Halls. By this time the store was considered to be off-location. Its sales were eclipsed by the much larger branch around the corner in Argyle Street. The freehold store was closed and sold in 1971. 48 High Street, Colchester (1914) The company partnered with Montague Burton, the Tailor of Taste on a shared building in Colchester. Burton's insisted on their name appearing at the roofline above the Woolies store when in opened in September 1914. 48-50 High Street, Colchester (1935) In 1935, Woolworth bought out the freehold from Burton's, and took on the whole building. Note how Burton's name was obliterated! The branch was modernised in the 1960s and burnt down in the 1970s, with its modern successor sold off in the 80s asset-stripping. A new precinct location opened in 1999 and traded until 2008. 84 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 (1914) Like many of the early stores, Hammersmith was pitched next door to the most popular local cinema when it opened in October 1914. A popular haunt among company executives, an enterprising entrepreneur opened an American Soda Bar opposite to lure them away from their own cafe! 84-90 King Street, Hammersmith, London W7 (1940) Photographed to show the new look windows and signage without the sixpenny limit and defended against the blitz, the elegant purpose-built store had opened in 1937. It was sold during the asset-stripping of the 1980s. Today you can sleep in the store, as its upper floor is a posh hotel, with a casino and a fast-food shop below. 154-156 The Broadway, Cricklewood, London NW2 Iconic premises were chosen at the end of Cricklewood Broadway. The forecourt of the public house next door was the local transport hub, where buses to and from the centre of the city terminated. Despite owning the freehold, the Company maintained the distinctive look of the store for the next seventy years, before the asset was stripped in 1984. It is highly recognizeable as an Iceland store today. 6 Clarence Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (1914) A prime location opposite Bentall's was chosen for the Royal Borough, and a purpose-built store, similar to the 1912 branch in Chatham, was put up. Despite extensions to the roads behind, and conversion of its cafe to selling space, it struggled to cope with the sheer volume of trade. It opened on 14 November 1914 and relocated to Market Place on 5th August 1931. 10-13 Market Place, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (1931) Despite its olde-worlde appearance, the hotel on this site was demolished to make way for this new build, which opened on 5th August 1931.. The look was considered vulgar by locals and was remodelled in 1959. To hasten the opening, the store was built in stages, with portions added in 1933 and 1935. It remained a much-loved and profitable location right through to 2009. 21-25 Rampant Horse Street, Norwich (1929) A purpose-built store opened in Rampant Horse Street, Norwich in 1929, replacing the branch visible at the far left which had opened in November 1914. Local people took Woolworth's to their hearts despite general resistance to chain stores and national brands. 21-25 Rampant Horse Street, Norwich (1937) F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. were proud winners of the award for best-dressed store in Norwich for the Coronation of H.M. King George VI in 1937. Such hard work helped to ensure that millions of coronation-related items were sold across the UK! Loyal Greetings, Your Majesty The spectacular displays of royal merchandise in-store - fit for a King, but with prices from a penny to sixpence!