Piecing together the history of Shields Road’s old Woolies

Graham Soult

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

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10 Responses

  1. Mike Summersby says:

    I worked at Beavans from 1953 to 1955. During that time the building which later was taken over by Woolworths was used by Beavans as a storage area. It was known to us as ‘The North British’ building, after the name of the company that had previously traded there. It may well have been a company run by Beavan’s.

    As a 16-year-old who had recently left school I was given training on various departments of the Beavan’s store, and whilst working on household linens department I was frequently sent over the road to ‘The North British’ with a merchandise trolley to either put goods into storage there or collect goods from storage. Quite often we would use part of the building for ‘marking up’ and ticketing items in preparation for seasonal sales.

    Immediately behind the Shields Road frontage of the building we used to store display stands and mannequins. That area was later cleared and used by Beavan’s as a free creche to encourage families with small children to patronize the store. Needless to say, this facility was subject to considerable abuse as a free child-care facility by people who had no intention of shopping at Beavan’s. The initiative was soon closed down.

    Hope this helps in your research.
    Mike Summersby

  2. Christine Waterson says:

    Just been on heatonhistorygroup.org/tag/shields-road website and found a good photograph of Bevans – as I said in my comment earlier, my mum used to go over to Woolworths site for her lunch – well the photograph on the heaton history group site proves that Woolworths was once owned by Bevans and that was obviously why they still used the canteen area.

    Scroll nearly to the bottom of their page and you will find the photograph of Bevans situated across the road from the main Bevans department store. Happy hunting everyone!

  3. Christine Waterson says:

    My mum worked at Bevans in the shoe department for years, then moved on to work at Waterloo House in Newcastle (shoe department again).

    When she talked of Bevans she always mentioned popping over to Woolworths – across the road from Bevans, for lunch, as Bevans canteen was over there and not on Bevan own site. So the building at the side, and across the road from Bevans was definately Woolworths.

  4. I was born and lived in Byker from 1948 to ’67. What you show as Woolworths is in fact the “new” Woolworths – my girlfriend had a Saturday job there. My first recollection of Woolies on Shields Road was in smaller premises just on the west (Byker Bridge side) of Bevans Dept store- so about 100 yards or so away from the premises you show. Might well have been the A&S building but I can’t verify just where that is.

    Personally I had a Sat/holiday job in Parrish’s- known colloquially as “the steelworks” since so many of the staff were on the fiddle.

  5. Richard says:

    Fantastic keep up the good work. I wish I had the time to do this with the co-op stores but a quick trip to the reference library (if any these days) is usually the most I can manage.

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