F.W. Woolworth. Store 69.

F.W. Woolworths, Store 69, was established in Fore Street Devonport in June 1916. It was destroyed in the blitz of WWII, on the night of 22nd/23rd April, 1941. The company continued trading into the late 1950s in temporary premises a few yards away, on the corner of Fore Street and Morice Street. [1]

These two images, courtesy of Steve Johnson's CyberHeritage, show the inside of Woolworth's temporary store. It was stepped all the way through. The top image is looking down the store, with the exit to Fore Street at the bottom. The lower image is looking up through the store. Look at the number of staff! There was one to each counter in those days.

Woolworth Devonport

Woolworth Devonport

In March 1946 F.W. Woolworth’s applied to redevelop the bombed site of the Royal Hotel in Fore Street, but their application was turned down as the Admiralty required the land.

Woolworths opened their new shop at number 9 -11 Marlborough Street in September, 1960. Mr D.C. Davies was appointed as manager to the Marlborough Street store in October, 1969. [1] Woolworth's ceased trading at Marlborough Street and vacated the store in ? (believed early 1970s? Does anyone know exactly when?) The building, shown below, is currently in use by Iceland.

(Do you have any stories to tell about Devonport Woolworth's? We'd love to hear from you).


UPDATE August 2013

A kind reader, Debbie Pearce (formerly Bate), contacted me with some dates and names for the Woolies store. I'm grateful for this information and have sent Debbie a note of thanks privately. She wrote...

My name is Debbie and I worked at Marlborough St - Woolies from 1980 until approx October 1986 as I had my son in March '87, so took voluntary redundancy.

I just thought I'd let you know it was still open for a few years after I left as you seemed to think it possibly closed in the 1970's ??

Best wishes

Names of most of the staff during the time Debbie worked at the Marlborough Street Woolworth's:

Mr Williams - Store Manager
Mrs Jones - Supervisor
Gladys Uren
Betty McCormack
Jean Harris
*Julie Smith
Shirley Dixon
Sue Ball
Cynthia Bowman
Irene ?
Pam ?
Denise Jury
*Kevin Haskell (now married to Julie Smith)

[1] The New Bond. House journal of of F.W. Woolworth’s and Co, Ltd. June/July 1970. Volume 29 number 3

page updated 7 May 2011, then 6 August 2013