Woolies photo updates from South Shields, Wallsend, Jarrow and North Shields

Former Woolworths, South Shields (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths, South Shields (10 Nov 2010)

While out and about on my recent travels, I’ve revisited – often just in passing – some of the former Tyneside Woolies sites that I’ve blogged about in the past. Though the number of empty sites is now dwindling, there are still a few interesting updates to report upon.

There’s no apparent movement on the empty half of South Shields’ former Woolworths (#104), while the Wallsend store (#351) – previously blogged about here – is now empty again. The premises reopened, to much fanfare, as Well Worth It back in October 2009, but the business has closed down after less than a year.

Former Woolworths and Well Worth It, Wallsend (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths and Well Worth It, Wallsend (10 Nov 2010)

Station Road frontage of former Wallsend Woolworths (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Station Road frontage of former Wallsend Woolworths (10 Nov 2010)

I can’t help thinking that Wallsend’s supermarket travails may have impacted upon Well Worth It’s viability, given that the town centre is still without a major supermarket after the Co-op in the nearby Forum Shopping Centre closed and Morrisons failed (as yet) to open in its place.

Unfortunately, the Wallsend store is one that the Co-operative Group disposed of to Morrisons voluntarily, rather than being one of the 133 shops that it was required to divest following its takeover of Somerfield. Had the latter been the case, one imagines that the OFT would have had something to say about a two-year hiatus between one store closing and its approved replacement opening. Meanwhile, campaigners are rightly putting pressure on both Morrisons and North Tyneside Council to bring the supermarket back into use.

Vacated Co-op site, Wallsend (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Vacated Co-op site, Wallsend (10 Nov 2010)

Wallsend’s Woolworths lives on, incidentally, in the vaguely amusing artwork at Wallsend Metro station, where panels – predating Woolies’ demise – feature photographs of apparently familiar local scenes. The twist is that all the wording in the photographs – including the Woolies fascia – has been translated into Latin, as a play on Wallsend’s Roman heritage.

Woolworths panel at Wallsend Metro station (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Woolworths panel at Wallsend Metro station (10 Nov 2010)

One location with a bit more success Woolies-wise – and with an already thriving Morrisons – is Jarrow, where Store Twenty One moved into part of the town’s former Woolworths store (#434), facing Bede Precinct, back in July. Just as in Stanley, Store Twenty One has installed a modern and attractive shopfront that greatly improves the shop’s external appearance, as well as undertaking a comprehensive revamp of the interior.

Before - the former Woolworths, Jarrow (16 Dec 2009). Photograph by Graham Soult

Before - the former Woolworths, Jarrow (16 Dec 2009)

After - Store Twenty One, Jarrow (24 Jul 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

After - Store Twenty One, Jarrow (24 Jul 2010)

With Store Twenty One taking only 4,112 sq ft of the old Woolies site (the full Bede Precinct frontage and about half the store’s depth), the remaining 3,175 sq ft portion of the store, facing Grange Road, remains to let.

Grange Road frontage of former Woolworths, Jarrow (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Grange Road frontage of former Woolworths, Jarrow (10 Nov 2010)

A 1962 shot in Paul Perry’s fascinating Jarrow Through Time book shows the Woolworths frontage to Grange Road, with the building that housed it looking only slightly different to how it does today. A couple of doors away, Perry’s photo shows that the premises which until recently housed the Discount Store 24 supermarket were formerly Fine Fare – like Woolworths, another once familiar but now defunct high street name.

Discount Store 24 (now closed), previously Fine Fare, Jarrow (24 Jul 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Discount Store 24 (now closed), previously Fine Fare, Jarrow (24 Jul 2010)

Final stop for now is North Shields, where Cramlington Textiles Superstore was already open on the former Woolies site (#426) when I visited nearly a year ago.

Saville Street with MIS store, North Shields (10 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Saville Street with MIS store, North Shields (10 Nov 2010)

It’s still there, but has had a minor change of name to MIS Wallcoverings & Textiles Superstore. Perhaps shoppers were perplexed by a shop in North Shields having Cramlington in its name? Still, the change makes some sense given the wide range of paint and wallpaper, as well as textiles, that I remarked upon after my last visit.

Old postcard showing the same view in about 1930

Old postcard showing the same view in about 1930

Perhaps more interesting, however, is this old c.1930 postcard that I discovered, showing an almost identical view to the one above. The tall building in the middle with the arched window is instantly recognisable in both shots, but look closely at the Woolworths building… between 1930 and now, what on earth has happened to the property’s second floor? It’s there in the earlier shot, but missing today.

Perhaps someone out there can tell us what us happened to it? Whatever the reason, it does begin to explain the building’s slightly curious flat roof, which has always seemed rather at odds with its quite elegant (if truncated) façade.

11 Responses to “Woolies photo updates from South Shields, Wallsend, Jarrow and North Shields”

  1. Beth said:

    Nov 17, 10 at 22:43

    weird! i thought morrisons had said they weren’t bothering with wallsend any more because of the asda opening in byker? does this mean there is still hope?

  2. Graham Soult said:

    Nov 17, 10 at 23:00

    Hi Beth, you’re right that Morrisons had “threatened to pull the plug on one of its planned new stores in Wallsend, North Tyneside, if Asda get the green light” (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6783/is_2010_Sept_16/ai_n55245016/ and http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2010/09/20/asda-brings-new-life-to-byker-woolworths-72703-27303550/#ixzz104WGMkBg). However, now that the green light has been given to Asda, I haven’t seen anything saying officially that Morrisons is pulling out of Wallsend… though comments at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Our-Shops-Campaign-to-Save-Wallsend-High-Street/138898702808745?v=wall suggest that it is.

  3. beth said:

    Nov 18, 10 at 21:54

    i’d heard that it was definite. the signage is still up saying ‘Morrisons is coming soon’ but who knows.

    i’ve been trying to remember where i heard it was definitely off and i *think* it was a Lib Dem Focus newsletter that came through my door. so possibly not the most reliable source of info!

  4. Graham Soult said:

    Nov 18, 10 at 22:13

    Perhaps not! ;) Let me know if you do find a more definitive source – I’ll keep my eyes open too. Whatever happens, I don’t think Morrisons is emerging from the episode showered in glory, unfortunately.

  5. Soult's Retail View » Blog Archive » Asda’s sale of surplus Netto stores: who gets what in the North East said:

    Jan 13, 11 at 17:10

    [...] like in Wallsend – where another store acquired by Morrisons has never opened - Birtley has undoubtedly [...]

  6. Soult's Retail View » Blog Archive » Jarrow’s Burton building – a retail history treasure with a Woolies twist said:

    Jan 15, 11 at 22:07

    [...] the recently closed Woolworths store within the town’s Viking (formerly Arndale) Centre, now partly occupied by Store Twenty One. However, just as Woolworths had relocated from its original sites to more modern premises in [...]

  7. Soult's Retail View » Over to you – your ex-Woolies pics from Warrington, Batley and Beverley said:

    Feb 07, 11 at 16:48

    [...] unlike many of Poundland’s other ex-Woolies sites – such as those in Scarborough, South Shields or Cannock – the rather beautiful and ornate property was not purpose-built for Woolies, [...]

  8. 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 01:23

    [...] revisited Wallsend’s ex-Woolies back in November, closely followed by Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. This left just Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee and [...]

  9. Soult's Retail View » Upmarket Pinner trades ex-Woolies pound shop for WHSmith – but not everyone’s happy said:

    May 01, 11 at 16:36

    [...] greengrocer. Here in the North East, however, the example of Wallsend – a town that has been without its main supermarket for the last two years – reminds us that shoppers are just as capable of taking their business to the nearest [...]

  10. Soult's Retail View » Store Twenty One adds another North East Woolies site to its portfolio said:

    Aug 12, 11 at 15:49

    [...] will be Store Twenty One’s second ex-Woolies site in South Tyneside, following on from the opening of its Jarrow shop in July last year. There are also Store Twenty One branches in place of the former Woolworths stores in Stanley and [...]

  11. Soult's Retail View » A tale of three Tyneside ex-Woolies – Jarrow, North Shields and Wallsend said:

    Aug 12, 11 at 18:16

    [...] I reported back in November, Jarrow’s old Woolworths has been divided in two, with Store Twenty One taking the largest [...]


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