MEMORY LANE: When Woolworths was the pick of the mix

FLASHBACK: The Mail on February 25, 1970.
FLASHBACK: The Mail on February 25, 1970.

IT was out with the old and in with the new as Hartlepool’s beloved Woolworths shop in Lynn Street was replaced by a brand new store in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre back in February, 1970.

The new store, at 18,000 sq ft, was almost twice the size of the old, which first opened in 1928, and the flagship of the new mall, which would be officially opened by Princess Anne in May 1970, though it had been completed the previous year.

“Throughout there is attractive vinyl floor coverings and plastic wall treatment,” the Mail report noted approvingly.

Most surprising to younger readers would be the large food department, including fresh meat, a deli and fruit and veg.

“Other new features include a tobacco kiosk, a photo-me where you can take your own photograph, and kiddy rides for the toddlers,” said the Mail.

There were also extensive selections of occasional furniture and floor coverings, do it yourself and a range of clothing for all the family.

Woolworths was particularly proud of its heel bar “specially flown in from Brussels, the capital of Belgium”, which besides shoe repairs could also take on key cutting, jewellery engraving and knife and scissor sharpening.

There was no mention on “pick ‘n’ mix” sweets, but a long list of Milady branded goodies included Cherry Nougat, Fruit Splits, Silver Mints and several varieties of toffee.

Manager of the store was P R Westhorp, who had been with Woolworths since 1953.

He told the Mail: “This new look Woolworths represents a new deal for our customers and enables us to bring them a much wider selection of products.”

Opening offers included a free 1lb of puff pastry with every two Ibbitson’s steak pies or mince pies and shoulder of lamb for 3 shillings (15p) a pound.

After the removal of the food hall in 1986 the store was downsized in 1990 before finally closing in December 2008. The large and totally refurbished BHS store now occupies the site.

Have you any memories of the Woolies at Lynn Street of Middleton Grange you would like to share with other readers?

Sarah Stoner will be taking over Memory Lane from next week. Email sarah.stoner@jpress.co.uk or write to her at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.