Category: Market Towns

Me (left) and local retail expert Sam Stockley in The Square, Shrewsbury (10 Jun 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult 4

Shrewsbury: the town where independents are keeping the high street buzzing


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Regular readers will know that I visit a lot of British high streets – including more than 400 different ones in the last four years...

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Detail of late 1950s Valentine's postcard of Bondgate Within, Alnwick 0

Fifties postcard confirms location of original Alnwick Woolworths


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Back in April I blogged about the apparent location of Alnwick’s original Woolworths, where the chain traded for the first fifteen years of its 55-year...

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Closed-down Peters Bakery - and Greggs - in Hexham (25 Aug 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult 2

Hexham store closures create space opportunities for new retailers


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While Hexham’s soon-to-close Millets looks to have a new tenant waiting in the wings, a couple of other closures since my previous visit in June provide...

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Millets, Hexham (25 Aug 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult 1

Coffee shop lined up as Hexham Millets confirms 21 September closing date?


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Hexham’s Millets store in Fore Street is to close on 21 September, after trading in the town for seven years. Though the Hexham Courant broke...

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Former Woolworths (now Peacocks), Stowmarket (2 Aug 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult 6

The discount retailers dominating Suffolk’s ex-Woolworths sites


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Alongside its new-look Clintons, the Suffolk town of Stowmarket seems to have come off fairly well from recent retail administrations. Earlier this year, its ex-Woolworths managed...

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Woolaballoo.com, Hexham (30 Jun 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult 10

Woolaballoo.com and Deli at Number 4: Hexham’s new breed of web-savvy independents


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I’ve often commented on Hexham’s very low retail vacancy rate, and the fact that the town’s empty units rarely stay empty for long. Arrivals in...

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Former Woolworths (now Poundland and Mountain Warehouse), Cirencester (13 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 6

Cirencester’s ex-Woolworths: a window on the rise of discounters


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I often talk about how the fate of ex-Woolworths stores provides a fascinating ‘window’ on the changing high street, and the ex-Woolies in Cirencester (store #394) –...

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c1915 postcard of the Electric Theatre (later Woolworths), Burnham-on-Sea 2

Woolies spotting in Somerset: a cinema, a bank, a hardware store and a fashion discounter


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With a visit to Taunton on the schedule for later this month, it seems an appropriate time to write about the Somerset ex-Woolworths stores that I’ve already...

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Original Woolworths location, Alnwick (31 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult 5

Historic Alnwick’s original Woolworths – and a modern-day successor in Wilkinson


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In the same way as Houghton-le-Spring’s Woolworths was originally in a different location to where it ended up, I recently discovered that Alnwick, too, has...

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Atkinsons of Sheffield (18 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 7

Celebrating Britain’s indie department stores: Atkinsons, Banburys and Barkers


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Among all the retail gloom that the newspapers seem to like writing about, it was refreshing to read last week that Browns of York is to...

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Woolworths, Hawick, in 1931. Photograph courtesy of Ettrick Graphics 3

On the hunt for ex-Woolies – and thriving high streets – in the Scottish Borders


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With a visit to Edinburgh imminent – which will no doubt involve at least one or two Woolies-spotting detours – I figured it was time...

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Poundland, Hexham (19 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 1

Hexham Poundland opens; Ashington to follow


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Poundland opened the doors of its new Hexham store last Thursday (17 November) – and I understand that another Northumberland Poundland will be opening in Ashington...

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Poundland fascia. Photograph by Graham Soult 7

Poundland to take over Heron Foods site in Hexham


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One of the few empty shops in Hexham will soon be occupied again, with Poundland set to move into the former Heron Foods site in Priestpopple....

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Well Worth It! in Ledbury (8 Oct 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 2

Ledbury’s ‘son of Woolies’ – and a visual identity inspired by the past


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Dorchester’s famous Wellworths may have had to change its name to Wellchester at Shop Direct’s behest, but a store in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury...

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Former Woolworths, Hitchin (22 Sep 2011). Photograph by Steve Hack 1

Peacocks and Poundland get ready to open in Hitchin’s former Woolworths


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Earlier in the week I mentioned how the former Woolworths in Newquay had been divided up between Poundland and Peacocks. Now the same process is...

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Former Woolworths (now Superdrug), Redruth (19 Feb 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 7

Redruth: the Cornish town that lost its Woolies twice


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In my last post I mentioned my February visit to Cornwall, writing about one of the county’s former Woolworths – in Launceston (store #812) –...

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Former Woolworths, Launceston (21 Feb 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 3

5-7 Southgate Street, Launceston – historic birthplace and former Woolworths [updated]


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The hazard of doing so much travelling around interesting towns is that I end up with more retail-related photographs – and topics to blog about...

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Mountain Warehouse, Hexham (1 Jan 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult 4

New Mountain Warehouse reaffirms Hexham’s status as a retail hotspot


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Visiting Hexham on New Year’s Day, I was interested to see that a new branch of Mountain Warehouse had sprung up since I was previously...

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Ashbourne town centre. Photograph by Roger Cornfoot 0

Can anyone remember Ashbourne’s long-closed Woolworths?


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While the 807 stores that closed down following Woolworths’ 2008 collapse are well documented and relatively easy to find on the ground, tracking down stores that...

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Sports Direct, Stafford (30 Sep 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult 6

Familiar discount names in Staffordshire’s former Woolies stores


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The more former Woolworths stores I blog about, the more predictable it gets that I’ll be mentioning now-familiar discount names such as B&M Bargains, Home...

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