Hartlepool and Middlesbrough’s still-vacant Woolies sites

British Heart Foundation store, Hartlepool (16 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

British Heart Foundation store, Hartlepool (16 Nov 2010)

While visiting Billingham yesterday, I also managed to fit in stops in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. In Hartlepool, there is no sign of the large empty Woolies site in Middleton Grange’s Central Square (store #322) – previously photographed here – being reoccupied. However, a British Heart Foundation furniture shop has opened up in what was historically – prior to 1990 – part of the shopping centre’s Woolworths store.

When Middleton Grange opened – originally as an open-air shopping centre – Woolworths was one of its anchor tenants, with a prominent frontage to Victory Square. 100thBirthday.co.uk has a shot from 1970 that clearly shows this entrance, taken from almost the same spot as my shot above.

Victory Square, Hartlepool (16 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Victory Square, Hartlepool (16 Nov 2010)

However, just as many of the largest Woolies stores were closed or downsized in the 1980s, I understand that the Hartlepool Woolies was reduced in size in 1990, with the  British Heart Foundation and Peacocks both now occupying parts of the space that Woolworths vacated back then.

Former Woolworths and Waremart, Middlesbrough (28 Jun 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths and Waremart, Middlesbrough (28 Jun 2010)

Like Hartlepool, nothing seems to be happening with Middlesbrough’s old Woolies store (#1200) either. Value retailer Waremart took a temporary lease on the Hillstreet unit in April last year, and was trading from the site when I first visited back in September 2009.

However, Waremart had closed by the time I returned in January this year – presumably linked to its difficulties reported elsewhere – and the site remains empty now.

Woolworths sign at back of Hillstreet mall (16 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Woolworths sign at back of Hillstreet mall (16 Nov 2010)

Meanwhile, Woolworths lives on in Middlesbrough as far as the sign around the back is concerned. Given the message that the sign conveys – “here is a long empty unit we haven’t let yet” – perhaps the Hillstreet management will decide to take it down eventually?

6 Responses to “Hartlepool and Middlesbrough’s still-vacant Woolies sites”

  1. Soult's Retail View » Blog Archive » Why does Stockton have so many empty shops? BBC1 tonight at 7.30 might have some answers… said:

    Dec 06, 10 at 18:24

    [...] high street to an enclosed mall. After all, there must be some reason why Hartlepool’s large Woolworths site remains empty at the same time as many big names (and potential occupants) – such as BHS, H&M, TK Maxx [...]

  2. Soult's Retail View » Houghton has a le-Spring in its step – the changing fortunes of the North East’s ex-Woolies sites said:

    Mar 03, 11 at 01:24

    [...] revisited Wallsend’s ex-Woolies back in November, closely followed by Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. This left just Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee and Newcastle to take a look at over the last couple of [...]

  3. Soult's Retail View » Poundworld’s multi-price format, DiscountUK, lands in Middlesbrough said:

    May 08, 11 at 21:14

    [...] by January 2010 Waremart had gone, with the unit remaining empty throughout last year. Former Woolworths and Waremart, Middlesbrough (28 Jun [...]

  4. Soult's Retail View » 24,000 sq ft BHS to fill Hartlepool’s ex-Woolies site said:

    May 09, 11 at 20:12

    [...] a large food hall, which was removed in 1986, and the store itself was downsized in 1990. As I observed previously, the space that Woolies freed up 21 years ago now houses Peacocks, Quicksilver and the British [...]

  5. Emma Small said:

    Sep 30, 11 at 14:26

    I love woolworths this was the place i got my first bra from im so upset

  6. Soult's Retail View » One town, five stores: tracking down Middlesbrough’s ex-Woolworths (part 3) said:

    Aug 06, 12 at 16:28

    [...] blogged previously, the unit vacated by Woolworths’ closure was fairly quickly taken over by Waremart, which lasted less than a year; after a period of vacancy, the front portion of site (of 10,000 sq [...]


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