Stockton’s original Woolies – and the current state of the town’s High Street

Graham Soult

Retail consultant, writer, blogger; helping retailers via and Say hello on Twitter at @soult!

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12 Responses

  1. J.Chalk says:

    Woolworth’s at Stockton moved over to the Castlegate center in early March 1972 as i worked for National Carriers and moved all the stock over.I had 3 trailers and a Carrier Bantam Unit.On March the 17th the Manager ask me if i could work the Saturday March the 18th as this would empty the stock room but i had to refuse as i was getting married on the Saturday.

  2. jJohn Chalk says:

    Woolworth’s Stockton Moved in march 1972. I worked for National Carriers Limited Stockton and moved the stock to the new shop in 3 weeks up till 17 March.the manager asked me if i could work the Saturday the 18th which would see all the stock moved but i could not as i was getting married that day.

  3. Sarah.L says:

    As awful as this might sound, I feel Stockton high street has gone downhill, ever since 2002. It was much more convenient, when the Post Office was already where it used to be. Why should anyone have to walk through WHSmith, to get to the post office? The post office should be it’s own thing. Just as it was, until Stockton Council decided to move it into WHSmith, which really doesn’t make much sense. I’m not to keen on Wellington Square. Too many crowds. Too narrow. My opinion of Castlegate Shopping Centre, isn’t exactly positive either. Sorry to say, but I’d rather shop elsewhere. Anywhere else in Teeside. Too many takeaways, charity shops, and coffee shops. It might as well be the pits of hell.

    • Mandy (Marilyn) Wood says:

      I agree although it’s a bit strong to say ‘pits of hell’. If you don’t like it, vote with our feet and don’t go! I went yesterday (March 2017) and there was a BIG notice saying thanks for voting the High Street to be the best in England. I DIDN’T vote – and I don’t know anyone who did! It’s terrible. Cosmetically yes, it’s acceptable – but not for convenience. Confusing for buses, dangerous for crossing – some bus stops in the CENTRE of the High Street Oh and yes, what a waste of money for that rectangular thing near New Look which has displays which rise up. I mean seriously what’s the POINT! I’d like to see more supermarkets (now that Lidl has gone) We don’t ALL have cars! Oh and repairs to the Globe actually FINISHED!

  4. Mandy Wood says:

    I like the picture of what is now a bingo venue with a sculpture above, (ex Althams). I remember at school in the 50’s being asked to find out which (the only one) store in the High Street was single story. This was it. I thought I could remember it being a Sparks cafe? On to Woolworths… I really didn’t believe such an iconic and well loved chain would go bust… and was sorry to see it go. As a child, I particularly liked the branch in Whitby Yorkshire (now an outdoor store) which you go in the ground floor, up the stairs and come out onto another road. Mandy

    • declil says:

      Believe its one of three single storey buildings in the High Street
      ALTHAMS– SHAMBLES and WOLSEYS (the fruit merchants) office this might of been demolished

  5. antony little says:

    those are some pretty nice pictures of stockon well done!

  6. john says:

    Further to the above comments about temporary lets, it looks like alworths has that sort of arrangement at their Amersham branch.


  7. John says:

    There is a bit of a similarity between old Woolworths premises and disused railways. In some cases, it is obvious years or decades afetr the closure, in other cases, if you look carefully you can spot it, in other cases you would never know.

    At the time that Woolworths failed, property commentators predicted that 500 shops could stand empty for years. Latest reports are that 300 are empty and that 150 of those might never see retail use again.


    I suspect that if you factor in landlords letting stores on terms that are adverse from their own point of view just to avoid paying the rates, and temporary lets to tenants they would once have turned their noses up at, the 500 figure is possibly not that far off the mark.

    At the time of demerger, it was said that almost all of the roughly 200 freeholds that Woolworths still owned were sold and leased back on excessive rents in order to release capital on property that was posssibly otherwise unsellable.

    Perhaps those 200 mentioned above loosely correspond to sites now considered wothless in retail terms.

    It would be an interesting exercise, if possible, to calculate what Woolworths financial position would have been at the end of 2008, had they been demerged owning those shops and without the debt that they started off with.

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