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What's in a Photo?


Philip Yaxley Published: 02 March 2024

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Staff in front of Wymondham’s first Woolworth’s store in Market Street in 1953.
Staff in front of Wymondham’s first Woolworth’s store in Market Street in 1953.

Recently there was a news story that Woolworths, once a popular high street store in this country, could be returning to the UK some time in the future.

Woolworths store with closure notice in window 1981
F.W.Woolworth & Co Ltd’s Market Street shop with a closure notice in the window in early 1981. Hemstock's now occupy the site of Stratford’s Army and Navy store.

Back in March 1953 in Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation year there was a buzz in Wymondham as shoppers flocked to the opening of F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd's shop in Market Street, which was housed in the building formerly occupied by Peacocks and now by Specsavers. Woolworths sold a huge variety of stock, ranging from clothes and household goods to sweets and toys. It catered for everyone.

Advert from 1953 opening of Woolworth's
Advertisement for the opening of the first Woolworth’s store in Wymondham on Friday 13th March 1953.

Eventually Woolworths found the Market Street premises too small and in November 1981 it relocated to the Market Place where it took on a new store built on the site of the demolished King's Head Inn, which had once played a prominent role in the life of the town.

Woolworths shopfront in 2009
F.W.Woolworth & Co Ltd in the Market Place just before it closed at the beginning of 2009.

Woolworths remained in this prime Market Place store until the beginning of 2009 when it closed, like all other of its shops in the country, and the building was taken over by the Co-op.

Whether Wymondham folk will once again enjoy “The Wonder of Woolies” remains to be seen, but today the retail scene is very different from what it was in 1953.

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