The Woolworths Museum


Introducing the Museum Site


The first ever Woolworth store, in North Queen Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA.  Manager J. D. Rock stands on the doorstep with his team

This website covers the whole history of Woolworths stores from the first openings in America in 1879 to the final closure in the British High Street on 6th January 2009. The site author, Paul Seaton, dreamt up the idea of a Virtual Museum and built the original as a hobby, alongside his day job as a Systems Manager with the store-based chain, persuading the Directors to put it on-line serve it as part of in June 2004.

The Museum proved a hit with the public. It prompted many suggestions and contributions. The author set to work on an improved version intended to mark the brand's centenary in Britain in 2009. Work was progressing well when the Company collapsed unexpectedly in the Credit Crunch.


Today the British brand name is owned by Very Group Ltd, which has made it dormant. So the Museum, as a fansite, is now the main Internet resource about the former High Street and Main Street chain in the English speaking world. The German, Mexican, South African/Zimbabwean and Caribbean companies which continue to trade have websites which include company background and history.


The look and feel of the Woolworths Museum - a website that charts the history of Woolworths' High Street storesThe Museum was launched on 21 June 2004, 125 years to the day after the first Woolworth's opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. 3,000,000 people visited in five years.

Since the closure of the British High Street shops, the site has been reworked and republished. It continues to be refined and extended. The latest version uses HTML5 enhanced with Twitter Bootstrap and Google's innovative page speed technology.

Surfers can visit a 5¢&10¢ or Nothing Over Sixpence store and explore the product range, working conditions and prices. They can celebrate the heroes of two World Wars, and examine the keys to success and ultimate failure as a bricks-and-mortar store.


We've included galleries of high resolution pictures (which are available from the top menu), early sound recordings, and films that were specially made for the Museum.


An early storyboard for the updated museum design

To help visitors to navigate the site and to improve accessibility and indexing on the Internet, each page has a synopsis at the top of the left sidebar, and pulldown menus at the top of each page (accessible via an icon if you are using a small-screen phone or tablet). The exhibits are arranged into galleries. Each of these groups articles on a different theme. The main themes are:

  • A top-line précis of the key facts, under 'Summary'
  • The key events by decade, under 'By Date'
  • The major product departments sold, under 'By Range'
  • The key people and the working conditions in-store, under 'People'
  • Multimedia, including a Virtual Cinema movie theater, image galleries and jukeboxes for music, under 'Media'
  • Quizzes and interactive content, under 'For Fun'
  • Hyperlinks to the websites of the surviving Woolworth chains, and closely associated successors, under 'Shop'
  • A powerful tool to find the content you are looking for, 'Search' is under the magnifying glass icon

There is also a full site map. The goal was to create a site that is easy to navigate and that offers rich multimedia content . Over the years we have adjusted the layout as the technology has advanced. Most recently we made the site "responsive" so that the content is easier to access from a small screen device like a phone or tablet. This change included changing the colour scheme to improve readability on the move.

PLEASE NOTE: this is a fansite. In the UK, Ireland and Continental Europe the Woolworth and Woolworths brands and WorthIt! marque are owned by Deutsche Woolworth GmbH. The Ladybird brand name and bug logo are the property of Very Group Ltd. (formerly called Shop Direct Group Ltd) The Chad Valley brand is the property of Argos/J Sainsbury plc. None of those organisations has supplied or approved any of the content presented here. All trademarks are acknowledged, and as a courtesy we have included links to the German and English sections of the brand owner's website in the top menu. Why not take a look, it's worth a visit!

If you like the Woolworths Museum please bookmark the site and tell your friends.  If you don't, why not drop the author a line with your ideas for improvements? All feedback will be very welcome!.