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Article by Robert Clark

1966 - Baxters, Woolworths, Maypole Woolworths and the Maypole
1966 - Baxters butchers, Woolworths, Maypole
Woolworths and the Maypole

The last few days of Woolworth's
Outside the shop entrance in 2009 when it closed

Contact details were:
95 High Street

Telephone: 01933 312428


But it closed down in March 2009.

Card enclosed with the Christmas Bonus for staff, as given in 1938 - 1941.

Courtesy of Rushden Museum

Extract from The Toy Trader, Vol 35, No 229, p26, May 1926

Items of Interest
Another Bazaar
W H Woolworth & Co Ltd., toy dealers, are having premises at Rushden, Northants, converted into one of their bazaars.

Article by Alan and Sandra Iliffe

In 1879 Frank Winfield Woolworth opened the first Woolworths store in America. It was a revolutionary concept as everything sold for 10 cents or less. Frank offered his customers real choice with fabulous ranges at unbelievable prices. Frank created a long line of firsts as he developed his business including introducing weight out sweets in 1886 - we now call them pick and mix. Buying direct from manufacturers enabling him to reduce prices.

Making Christmas decorations available to the general public by the first to buy products direct from suppliers in Germany.

Frank regularly visited suppliers all over Europe. This led him to Britain where he translated his five and dime format into his famous 3d and 6d stores.

The first store opened in Liverpool on 5 November 1909. The opening day was a huge success and virtually everything sold out. By 1914 there were 44 stores.

Frank Winfield Woolworth

The Founder of Woolworths

Memories of a local Woolworths staff member c1979 - 2009.

I found my job at Woolworth's in the Jobcentre after being turned down to train as an SEN and I stayed 30 years.  In my mind it was a temporary measure until I found another nursing course - products were very limited in the early days.

I loved weighing “Pick n Mix” for the old dears.  You’d get a few frowns if you ran out of Devon Toffees or Rum Butters!!

Mrs Allen was in charge of the Gardening Counter and I helped weigh the spuds up on Saturday afternoons – they were seed potatoes.  In my last few years at the store I got the gardening counter and we used to sell all sorts of products

The music they had was quite good.  There were a few records and tapes, and then the singles and single tapes and albums plus 12 inch singles.  I went to EUK Entertainment in Hayes in Middlesex to see how they picked all the orders.  Entertainment and confectionary were the most profitable.


Pick 'n Mix

Cards & Gifts



When I first went to work at Woolworth's, there used to be glass shelves with metal brackets, which progressed to metal shelves on brackets with a back of peg board for putting hooks in to display goods.  We had to fill in for all departments –laying up hardware I had to do the second section it made the job more interesting.  On the last refurbishment the shelves were much better.

The first tills were like the ones on “Open All Hours” with keys like a typewriter. Checkouts had a change giving machine which had to be filled with half pennies, 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, etc.  The till would give all the change into a little cup and the customer took their change from the cup.  This progressed to a more electronic system.

When Woolworths in Rushden closed for the last time, original safe was still in the store. I remember one time when I hadn’t been there long – it a morning, I had just started in the office working with the cash.  My boss had shown me once how to undo the safe but myself and the relief boss couldn’t do it!!  We couldn’t get the floats out or remember the combination and how many times to twiddle the knob.  The store was late opening that day because we had to ring up and ask the boss what to do!

Originally we had a Stock Room man who did all the lifting and helped us with the shelves.  There was a lot of lifting in the stock room.  The lift had so much stock in it, it regularly broke down – a regular thing.  So the stock had to be run up and down the stairs by the staff.

The shop opened from 9am until 5.30 pm. The sales floor staff had to be there at 8.50am without fail and at 5.30 pm when the shop closed we had to tidy up and would often be there until 5.40pm or until the boss said we could go!!

We would close the door at 5.30pm and often the last customer would be hanging around.  The boss would say “We’re closing” and if they didn’t take the hint he’d turn the lights off!!  We had no extra pay for staying later to clear up.  At one time when the company was doing well we had a couple of Christmas bonuses.

We had various uniforms over the years:  blue with two little pleats and poppers down the front – they used to pop open when we bent down!  Also a navy pinafore with striped blouse and tabard for dirty jobs.  When Kingfisher took over, everything had to be changed to “Kingfisher”.  The Kingfisher uniform was blue with trousers or skirt and red blouse, shirt or polo neck and the bosses had to dress the same – they hated it!  We had to wear name badges too.  When they realised there was no profit they pulled out and it cost the company a lot of money

We often had themes on the counters – Halloween, Xmas , Easter, Valentines, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – all those.

5 years ago I was the stock room manager and we had a gimmick uniform –  red pinafores with “Santas Little Helper on it and I wore mine every Christmas.

The locks got stuck on the front doors regularly and when you turned up for work  no-one could let you in.  Once when locking up  - we had the alarm set, locked the doors, and started for home.  Within a few seconds by the time we reached West End Stores, the alarm went off and we had to go back again and sort it out.  They used Rushden as a training store for new managers as good all round experience for them – they certainly got some that day!!!

Rushden - Store Number 231 - Refurbishment 1997 - Manager S Hubbard

The store to close on Saturday 18th October 1997 at 4.30pm for refurbishment.

Store Manager to arrange for store to be demerchandised between 4.30-7 00pm on Saturday 18th October.

I Langmead to arrange for existing fixtures to be cleared between 6.30-9.00pm on Saturday 18th October. Existing Tego wall to remain in situ. To arrange for all base shelves and legs to be removed and left on site for flooring contractors to lay new floor.

Retail Products to deliver new fixtures between 7.00-9.00am on Monday 20th October. To include new gondola fixtures (all existing wall to remain) and entertainment display/storage fixtures.

Retail Products to install new fixtures between 8.00am-8.00pm, Monday 20th - Wednesday 22nd October, to be complete by 6pm on Wednesday 22nd October.

Jarose to deliver laminate at 8.00am on onday 20th October and to install between 8am-8pm, Monday 20th - Wednesday 22nd October, to be complete by 6pm on Wednesday 22nd October. Wall height existing instore.

Cardinal to deliver and install new local style cash desks and podium at 8.00am on Tuesday 21st October, to be complete by 6.00pm the same day.

Sloane to deliver and install 2no. 1250 bay canopy, new entertainment service desks, refurbished adult pick'n'mix, new kidpik and chart lozengers/graphic holders on Tuesday 21st October. To be complete by 10.00pm the same day.

ASV to deliver and install new monitors between 9.00am—12 noon on Wednesday 22nd October.

Showcard to deliver and install lightboxes and payhere signs between 9.00am—12 noon on Wednesday 22nd October.

V Thorpe to arrange for 1no. drinks chiller to be delivered to store on Wed 22nd October.

A Dyer to arrange for new Alba stand to be delivered to store on Wednesday 22nd October.

Snagging meeting to be held in store at 12 noon on Wednesday 22nd October.

Store Manager to arrange for store to be cleaned after 6.00pm on Wednesday 22nd October.

Store Manager to arrange for store to be remerchandised between Thursday 23rd - Tuesday 28th October.

To re-open at 10.00a.m. on Wednesday 29th October 1997

Extracted from the Store's in-house magazine 'Store Stuff No. 17' 2009, by kind permission of Rushden Museum
Northants charity boost

STAFF and customers at Woolworths in High Street, Rushden, helped raise nearly £100 for local children's charity Spurgeon's Childcare. The money was raised from an in-store collection and raffle.
The organisation carries out youth justice work, organises after school clubs and holiday clubs. It also runs overseas child sponsorship schemes.
Andy Jaeger, the charity's head of fundraising said:"lt's fantastic to receive this donation. It's great to have local people supporting our work."
Woolies' Margaret Peacock said: "We have a great team who work hard for all good causes."
Receiving the cheque
Local support store manager Peter Jones, left, and colleague Margaret Peacock present the cheque to Andy Jaeger, head of fundraising for Spurgeon's Childcare

Woolworths in 2009 2012 as Costa Coffee
After closing in March 2009, and a brief spell as a recycling centre selling goods rescued at the local tip, it now houses Costa Coffee

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