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Woolworths a store of the 60s

14:58 28 November 2008

Television and radio celebrity Simon Dee at Woolworths store in Carr Street, Ipswich in April 1970. (Picture by Dave Kindred).

Television and radio celebrity Simon Dee at Woolworths store in Carr Street, Ipswich in April 1970. (Picture by Dave Kindred).

IPSWICH has had a Woolworths in Carr Street since the 1920s, but to my mind it is a store of the 1960s.

Woolworth's, Ipswich, in November 1968

NEG 11008

IPSWICH has had a Woolworths in Carr Street since the 1920s, but to my mind it is a store of the 1960s.

That was when the current store was built - and that was when Woolies first entered my consciousness.

The new look store opened just before Christmas in 1968. I was still a primary school child, living outside Ipswich - and a visit to the county town always meant a trip to Woolies.

The shop seemed bright, modern . . . and massive! It was, after all, twice as big as it is now - the lower floor that is now JJB Sports contained Woolies' household goods and toys. For a nine-year-old that was a magnet!

Woolworths in Carr Street, Ipswich in around 1930

Upstairs was the food hall - with the exciting fresh fish display capped by the leaping salmon - together with clothes for men, women and children.

Also on the ground floor was the Harvest Café - and lunch there was a real treat during a shopping trip to Ipswich. Their fish and chips seemed wonderful to a youngster. And it served Corona cherryade (I've never liked cola).

The store has changed many times since then - departments have been closed and moved. Food contracted in the 1970s and went completely in the early 1980s.

The lower floor shut, then opened, then shut again. A garden centre was built at the back and then dismantled a few years later.

Carr Street Ipswich in May 1962 as the open top bus carrying the Ipswich Town Football team passed Woolworth's store as the team made its way to the Town Hall to celebrate winning the Division One Championship.

Now it's a shadow of its former self - when our children were younger we used to buy stocking-fillers for them there, but now it doesn't really sell anything you can't get on your weekly grocery trip to the superstores!

Woolworths - a potted history.

1878 - the first Woolworths store opened in Uttica, New York.

1909 - the first Woolworths store in the UK opened in Liverpool.

1920s - Woolworths opened in Carr Street, Ipswich.

1968 - Ipswich Woolworths store was totally rebuilt.

1982 - the British Woolworth company became independent of the American company.

1997 - the last American Woolworths store closed.

2008 - Woolworths plc in Britain goes into administration.

Did you know.

Woolworths stores operate throughout the world as companies independent of each other. In Australia and New Zealand it is one of the largest chains of superstores - their answer to Tesco or Sainsbury's.

In South Africa it is an upmarket chain of department stores with links to Marks and Spencer in the UK.


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