The Woolworths Museum

In the Community in the 1920s


Colleagues from the Torquay store  prepare their entry for the town's carnival in the 1920s.  Most stores entered a float in their local procession, winning many gold awards.


Throughout the 100 year life of the store-based company it was a great source of pride that Woolworths always supported and worked with the local communities in the towns that they served. As the Company expanded in the 1920s, many Managers found themselves taking on the Chairmanship of the local Rotary Club or other fund-raising organisations, and many others accepted roles on town councils, as Justices of the Peace or as School Governors.


But the best fund-raising activities were run by colleagues in the stores.

  • dressing floats for the local carnival or procession
  • running sports matches, often against other retailers like arch-rivals M&S
  • dressing up in-store and for local events
  • delivering Easter Eggs and other goodies to local hospitals (at a time before the National Health service when hospitals depended on contributions to treat the needy)


Most of the charities chosen by the Stores were related to Children - orphanages, rehabilitation centres and the RNIB were particular favourites. Student causes were popular too, with managers supporting rag weeks and sports days with sponsorship and merchandise.

The Company also supported charities, working with suppliers to arrange days out for under-privileged children (with sweet factories the favourite venues) and charabancs to the seaside.

You can find out more about colleagues' more recent charity work, right up to the closure of the stores and beyond, in our 21st Century Gallery