Woolworths in Ross
Number 9 Broad Street was originally a shop that belonged to Mr. J. Price. Mr Price was a picture framer, glazier and decorator and he lived, with his family, in the house next door to the shop1.
Woolworths opened its first store in Liverpool in 1909 and its system of individual counters for various goods proved popular and the store was
well-established by the end of the First World War. The format proved a complete hit with shoppers, and it quickly became known as 'Woolies', a nickname that stuck. Woolies started out as a threepence and sixpence (3d and 6d) store and all their sales products fitted into one of these price bands. Due to the store being an immediate
hit, the company started to expand and the stores then started to spring up across the country.
Mr Price's shop was demolished when F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. purchased the site in order to build their store, which was store no 570, in the early 1930s and the
store opened in May 1931. The manager of Woolworth in May 1938 was Mr J P McCoy.
As a result Mr Price then moved his business to 46 Broad Street (where Oxfam is now) where it remained until the mid-1960s when Sutherland Printers took over the premises.
Many of the early Woolworths stores replaced the existing shops and this means that the frontage of a store is quite distinctive and easy to recognise as the upper
parts of the frontages often have a similar style. In the time since then the stores have moved into shopping centres or utilised pre-built retail outlets so later stores do not share this feature.
One lady I spoke to stated that she remembered when the Woolies store opened and she always loved going into the shop in the 1940s as a child with 6d as she could afford
any item within the shop. She also stated that it was like going into a museum as there were so many different glass counters and cases holding the formidable number of items for sale.
By the 1960s, Woolworths was a formidable high street presence and it was at its popularity peak but since te 1980s sales dropped off due to increasing levels of competition. Woolies went through several rebrandings and many became "Woolworths Local's" such as the one in Ross.
Many remained as the "Local" shops but for the Ross store, on 8th October 2007, planning permission was given to change the frontage to the current
Woolworths style and the work was carried out soon after.
Interestingly, the large doors (or very similar ones) immediately up the street from the store can be seen in photos dating back prior to Woolworths being built.
On the 23rd December 2008 the 7 day countdown started towards the closure of the store with the discounts increasing daily until on the final day started
with 70% discounts rising to 90% by the time to the store closed. The Ross-on-Wye store closed its doors to the public for the last time on the 30th
1st January 2009
Inside the shop it can be seen that the clearance of the fixtures and fittings is well underway. The shelving has been dismantled and put on pallets and awaiting
removal from the shop.
Inside the shop, now that the shelving on the walls has been removed, the brickwork and wooden battening down the left side can be clearly seen.
On the right-hand side, the till area is still intact (with the tills still active) and this appears to be one of the last areas to be cleared.
2nd January 2009
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The inside of Woolworths has now been cleared out. All the shelving and racking has now been removed.
The only remaining items in the store are a few cages and some stands as used to hold items like keyrings etc for sale.
[Page updated: Nov 19 2017 19:02:57]