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photos from The Woolworths Virtual Museum

that's the wonder of good old woollies ...

I don't know about you, but I want Woolworths to stay as it is, a shop which sells good quality products at reasonable prices, and offers great value for money. Don't get me wrong I love to mooch around the top end shops, but I rarely buy anything, my pleasure when it comes to spending is to grab a bargain or two?

Who else remembers the sweet counters in Woolworths? One memory of mine as a kid back in the late sixties, early seventies, was standing marvelling at the vast expanse of sweets (pic 'n mix) in the Worthing branch. On occasion, my grandparents would take me and my brother into town, and if my memory serves me right, after deliberating for ages we were allowed a bag each!

Steve, this is for you -

The immaculately polished white Hillman Hunter!

Parking outside the Berkeley (such a long trek into town) - revs of the engine and several maneouvres!

The flask of milky coffee in the glovebox, to drink before coming home!

Who else remembers the display of vinyl 45s and 12 inch singles on the shelves of Woolworths? Back in 1981 when I was studying a secretarial course at college, my friends and I would pop into the Broadwater branch most lunchtimes, and on most days I would come out with a single or two, many of which now have a home in the loft!

Click on The Woolworths Virtual Museum for lots more memories, remember Winfield their own brand?

Let's hear of any memories you may have of good old Woolies!


méri said...

I remember very well the vynil 45s (not on the shelves of Woolworths, of course)and we still have some :)

funkymonkey said...

My favourite was the biscuit counter where all the biscuits were loose and not in packs, you bought them by weight. It was usually my treat to get some custard creams or malted milk! I hope Woolies stays.


Flighty said...

I always bought my Airfix plastic model aircraft kits there.
A friend of mine always bought all her garden stuff there as her budget was very limited. xx

periwinkle said...

The pick and mix definately and my dad also bought me a little gardening kit, a tin watering can with a rake and a hoe, oh and Ladybird clothes too. I asked Hub and he remembers the 7" singles, he thinks he bught his first ever "NOW" LP from there -- We don't have a woolies here anymore , they closed down and in it's place we have a Primark!!

Big Bro said...

OMG now S will go on about how posh we were :) I suppose Airfix kits and some primary PE type kit and footballs etc is what I remember Woolies for. Unfortunately Woolies became a scruffy overstocked place with a mountain of debt - like many on the high street they were an accident waiting to happen. I think the 60's and 70's were their heyday. Being their own worst enemy, they have been supplying wholesale CD's and books to Supermarket chains who sell at lower prices. Also Tescos and Sainsburys now set out large parts of their stores with all the goods Woolies sold, in larger, clearer environments. I recently saw a report from Caffyns Garage group, who are in a way as quaint as Woolies. What they intended to do to improve their results was laughable, it was everything they should have been doing for years - I bet Woolies have been run in the same way. While they haven't changed with the times, anyone who has bought something from Tescos that they used to buy in Woolies can share some of the blame really.

Blog still going well :)

the flour loft said...

Hi Louise,
I was a woolies girl from 1982 to 1986. It was my part time school job which i continued until i went to college.I really enjoyed my time there. I loved working on the records desk but not so much on the deli counter... cutting the meat and the 'brawn'... no wonder i turned veggie! I was very sad to hear the news this week and would miss it if it goes as i know would many folk in small towns where it is often the only place to buy many types of essential products. Not everyone drives and can go out of town to these big superstores or are confident to shop online. I hope some solution is found to not loose it completely.
Happy Sunday.
Ginny xx

Anonymous said...

I used to love the wooden floorboard feel (if I remember rightly?) and the lovely counters in Woolies.... if only they could have kept them that way! Retro Woolies would be wonderful.

Great post.

Nicola said...

I remember Woolies in Jersey. It's still there (at least, it was back in June)! My memories of it include ... ahem ... being in there with a schoolfriend when I was about 10 and shoplifting a few things (clears throat and hangs head). My parents DID find me out and I've never done it since - honest!

Rosezilla said...

My Mom worked in the Woolworths' candy section, and was allowed to eat all the candy she wanted to! After working there about 2 days she didn't want ANY more candy, from eating so much! My mom-in-law worked there in the sewing notions, she remembers how awful inventory was, counting buttons and spools of thread and needles! We all shopped and lunched there a lot - remember the diet plate, with cottage cheese and a pear? I bought my first cologne there, it was called Love's Baby Soft.

Carol said...

Hi Louise, I always wanted to work in Woolies. I remember the big wooden counters and wood floors. I remember the wonder of the Pick 'n Mix too and the make-up counter facinated me. I was never allowed to buy make-up, so would paint my lips with the red Smartie!
Sad we are losing another great old store. We recently lost our local Kennedy's - who made the best pies ever!
Carol xx

Kris said...

Hey! We had a white Hillman Hunter when I was a kid!

Ragged Roses said...

I feel exactly the same about Woollies too! I remember the sweets and records vividly. It was also the place where my best friend met her future husband. She had a Saturday job there and he would come and pretend to buy things just to chat to her!

LizzieJane said...

Woolies, yes I remember it well, I loved the biscuit counter as well, it was fun picking out what biscuits that you wanted, don't you wish things wouldn't change so much? Maybe it is a sign of getting older, who knows.

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

My grandpa and grandma had a a white Hillman Hunter when I was a child..!
I'm going to miss Woollies - I didn't grow up in England but when my girls were little, we loved to shop in Woollies when on holiday in England...we got so much more for our money + they could choose (pick'n'mix) their favourite sweets...etc.
Thanks for the nostalgic post + link..:)

carolyn said...

I remember the biscuit counter and I adored it when they had Christmas decorations. Of course many of my memories are now centred around looking at toys with my own children. I want Woolies to survive too, fed up with losing everything to the supermarkets.

Stella said...

I don't think Laura has such great memories as being a Saturday girl in Rustington meant spending the whole of Saturday morning, on her own, on the front till and it was a pretty stressy place to be:(
Love pic'n'mix though:) Sx

Cowboys and Custard said...

Hi Louise
It is a sad sad day when one of these great institutions closes down.
I remember Woollies with great affection.. and only recently I found a vintage shop game that originated in Woolworth's in the 1940's..I think you can see it in the museum..

P.s Hope all is well with you.. sorry I have been remiss in my emails..

Niesz Vintage Home said...

I loved Woolworth's! We also called it the 10 cent store.

The perfect afternoon as a kid was seeing the latest Disney movie at the theater and then heading over to Woolworth's for a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and a vanilla coke at the diner counter.

Kimberly :)

Tom and Cindy said...

My Aunt Mary used to work at the Wollworth's in our town. They sponsored a float in our Canal Day Parade and my sister got to ride on the float. Woolworths is where my sister and I bought our Mother her Christmas present every year..hankies !
Today is Blog Comment Day.
I have been reading your blog for sometime.
I hope you have a perfect day

twiggypeasticks said...

I'm very sad about poor old Woolies. My big sister worked there for years when I was still little. I always remember waiting for her little Hillman Imp to come round the corner one very snowy night as we all waited fo her to return home. First thing I said was - Did you fetch some pick and mix !!! what a charmer! I also bought my very first record from Woolies in Whitby, Angel Eyes by Roxy Music. I've bought some lovely clothes for Twiglet from woolies over the years too - sigh :(
Twiggy x

kari and kijsa said...

What great memories!!
Happy Saturday!
kari & kijsa

acornmoon said...

Did they ever have a broken biscuit counter?

Jennie said...

I am devestated that Woolies is shutting. They have their sale on at the minute here and I think it's just so sad. I have spent many years visiting that shop, from the sweet counter when I was young, to always being able to pick up a bargain birthday present or two for when mine were going to parties. I think it is a real shame it is having to close :(

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
We mooched around woolies on sunday in Whitby, it was a very sad experience for me as i remember visting father christmas at Woolworths as a child..mum would always take us there and watch to see what caught our eye for her christmas presents ideas.
Talking of Hillman cars i remember when a neighbor offered my brother one for £50,it was dark green and very cute i thought.
Pick'n'mix just won't be the same when its not from Woolworths.
Thank you so much for your kind comment on my last post love Kristina XxX

Anonymous said...

I remember that store well. I enjoyed reading your post. You always bring back so many memories for me. I hope you and your family have a very blessed and joyful holiday. Merry christmas!

the homely year said...

My mother would leave us in the local Woolies to buy Christmas presents with our pocket money while she did her shopping...I loved the freedom of choosing what we wanted to get.
Margaret and Noreen

lou said...

I hope you have a lovely Chritmas!
love Lou xxx

Alison Boon said...

I remember buying the "then" most gorgeous Lemon dress for my 12th Birthday. I loved it. Shame someone doesn't buy Woolies. And we used to always get a big breakfast to share in the cafe.

Anonymous said...

Good ole Woolies, it was the only place to buy your cassette tape singles and Pick n Mix! Sad to see it go!

Rosezilla said...

Louise? Are you still in there? I miss you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise, I hope the New Year is going well. We miss you here in blog land.