The Woolworths Museum

1950s Toiletries Displays

One of the largest departments at Woolworth's until the 1980s

A large island counter of toiletries dominated the entrance to the Woolworth store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth when it re-opened in 1950

Toiletries and cosmetics enjoyed pride of place at the front of the Portsmouth store in 1950. The highest price visible is 5/- (5 shillings or 25p) - twelve times more than the pre-war maximum


New city centre Woolworth stores included glass showcases on the reverse of the enclosed windows at the front. These were used to display perfumes, jewellery and watches.

Showcases like these were a new feature at the Portsmouth store which were later repeated in other new large city centre branches. They were built into the back of the enclose windows and were used to display perfumes, fancy goods, clocks and jewellery. The displays normally included small sign cards indicated the counter number in-store where the item could be purchased.


A staff member tidies the toiletries display on a personal service counter at the front of a Woolworth store in the 1950s

In the terminology of the day, this image was captioned "picture of girl on the toilet". This was slang for being an assistant on the Toiletries Counter at Woolworth's !


Navigation Links

Point and shoot picture

Store front

Sweets and ices


Toiletries and cosmetics

Pictures, artificial flowers and fancy goods

Christmas cards and decorations


Cards, stationery and books

Wool and haberdashery

Children's, Men's and Ladies' Fashions


China and Glassware


Kitchen and Homewares

Paint, DIY and Repair


Building the store

Grand staircase