Support for Woolworths returning to South Tyneside - and your happy memories


You've been sharing your happy memories of Woolworths after hopes were announced the story could return to high streets.

The retail chain went into administration late in 2008 after racking up almost £400million in debt, with administrators Deloitte closing all the 807 stores between 27 December 2008 and 6 January 2009, which resulted in 27,000 job losses.

Tony Page, the company’s former managing director, said now he has approached shopping giant Shop Direct, which owns the Woolworths brand, to repurchase the name in a bid of launching a series of stores “I am still emotionally attached to it,” he told the Daily Star.

“I still think it has got a role in the future. I have contacted Shop Direct and said ‘you’re not using the brand any more, would you consider giving it to someone who would?’” The news sparked a flurry of comments on our Facebook page, with support for the store coming back - and happy memories of the South Tyneside branches.

Vivienne Pascoe said: "Woolies: what a sad day for me when it closed in Jarrow and Shields. Well. there are plenty shops standing empty so I do hope it 'COMES BACK'."

Jean Sim said: "I would love to see Woolworths on the high street again. I used to work in the original years ago. Happy days."

Lisa Jenkyns said; "I loved Woolworth's. Could do with it back, or a Primark, or something to bring dreary shields town back to life."

Buying hot, salted nuts, Action Man figures and Barbies were among many people's happy memories - as was the Ladybird children's clothing range.

But another memory of the South Shields store which got everyone talking was brought up by Dan Burke.

"Getting an electric shock from the bannisters on the way down stairs," he said, prompting much agreement.

The pic 'n' mix department was another very popular feature, it seems - though one reader had a less happy memory of this department.

Jeff Taylor said: "I remember seeing a little kid helping himself to the pic n mix and not liking one of the sweets, so he put it back in the tub!!! Never touched pic n mix since!!!"

Many of you remembered working there, or in other branches.

Margaret Turner said: "I was a Saturday girl in the Northumberland Street store. Earned 19/6. Worked there till I left school at 17. I remember broken biscuits. They still have Woolworths in Australia, though sell mainly food."

Helen Smith said: "I worked on the sweet counter. Use to pretend we dropped something, and stuffed out mouth with Turkish delight."

However, not everyone is optimistic the store would return to South Shields.

Judith Payne said: "Be great if it happened and if it stayed open. No shops last long now in Shields."

Craig Chapman said: "Is it just me that thinks regardless of our fond memories of Woolworths in both Jarra and Shields, even if they were to pop up in our towns, they wouldn't last because of the whole extortionate rental prices for businesses? Not to mention online shopping etc. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I'm just being a realist."