The Woolworths Museum

Help and Information

Website Overview

The Woolworths Museum is a fansite celebrating the High Street and Main Street F.W. Woolworth store chains of North America and the British Isles, and their sister companies around the world. It is not an official website. Like a 'real' museum, the content is arranged in galleries, each one covering either a span of time, a product range or other subject area. Please choose a gallery by clicking its button in the vertical navigation bar on the left of the screen. Each gallery begins with a contents page, which shows its main articles and features. There are also many hyperlinks in the page text to related content. Virtually all pictures on the site have 'Alt' and 'Title' tags, which should appear if you float your mouse over them. More information

Supported browsers and Multimedia Content

The site content was extensively reworked in Spring 2017 to improve its performance on mobile, with the pages adopting responsive design, and deploying compression and other enhancements available using Google's PageSpeed tools. Each page's media has been optimized with lossless compression. The media content is HTML5 compliant, and includes the variants to support all of the major browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, and all recent versions of Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer. Where possible the media pages include a Flash fallback, but, in keeping with the latest standards, we have eliminated our dependence on Adobe Flash for all content except our Multimedia Quiz (which includes features still too sophisticated for HTML5)

Searching the site

The Museum has its own search engine, called 'Zoom', which we have licenced from Wrensoft and have recently updated to the latest version. This is featured in the top sidebar of all the main pages. All of the content on the site is indexed regularly. Alternatively you can use your favourite web search engine.

Copyright and Author Information

All of the content is protected by Copyright, as explained in the About Gallery. In summary we welcome non-commercial use by students and enthusiasts, and ask only for a mention if you use our content. Commercial use requires a licence. Certain content is licenced from third parties, or appears under the historical interest copyright exemption. We have used technology to prevent our content being embedded on third-party websites, exploiting our bandwidth.

The site author is Paul Seaton. The content and layout are © Copyright 3D and 6D Pictures Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales, No 7007907. The site is published by WWW Group Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales, No. 7018298, Share your feedback.


Site Map


At a glance

History Summary

History PDF

Woolworths Timeline


Price Inflation

Very website, which replaced

Date Galleries, arranged chronologically by decade

1800s Gallery


Woolworth Bros. Childhood

Birthplace in Watertown NY

The first five cent table

False start in Utica NY

The first Woolworth's

Buying syndicate

European Buying

1900s Gallery

Lancaster skyscraper

Large city stores

Flotation in 1905

Biographies of the US Founders

Biographies of the Founders of the British Company


First openings in the British Isles

Choice of store locations

Financing and Structure

Controversy about the venture

First store opening

1910s Gallery


$65m merger creates F.W. Woolworth Co.

The world's tallest building

Retailing in a world war


Working in-store

American recruits in the UK

Replacing Frank Woolworth in 1919

Great War memorial

Britain & Ireland

The first six stores

London openings

The 44 pioneer stores opened before the Great War

Great War Postcards

Effect on British shopping

1920s Gallery

UK/Irish Free State


Celebrating the builders who put up the real estate

Virtual store

Rapid openings


Community projects


The Girl from Woolworths

Woolworth Wedding song

Gramophone records


50th birthday in North America

50th Anniversary Souvenir

Australian namesake

FWW GmbH of Germany

1930s Gallery

UK Trading

High Street dominance

London Listing

Buying ingenuity

First character brands

Ladybird clothes



10¢ and 6d Price Limits

First catalogues


Royalty and Empire

Thirties Jukebox

The Lion and Albert

Pre-war media gallery


"New Bond" staff magazine

Working in a Thirties store

Rumblings of war

War, Austerity and Recovery Gallery (1939-49)

World War II

Xmas 1939: a world apart


Preparing for D-Day

Occupation of the Channel Islands

Home Front

The Woolworth Spitfires

Inflation takes its toll and rationing begins

Defiance of the stores

Multimedia tribute

Lest We Forget

V2 rockets bring the darkest hour

New Cross Memorial

Woolworths Staff War Memorial

Winning the Peace

Reconstruction and austerity

1950s Gallery

Britain and Ireland

War reinstatements

The mobile shop

First self-service stores

Interactive virtual Fifties store


Coronation of Elizabeth II

Coronation Album

UK firm turns 50

Golden Jubilee Advertisement


New stores in the Commonwealth

Caribbean Album

Zimbabwe Album

Warning from the USA


Embassy Records cover story

Fifties Jukebox

What's on TV?

1960s Gallery


Sixties Overview

Out of town: the Woolco story

Winfield own brand


Food, inglorious food



Hits of the Sixties

Embassy Jukebox


Working conditions

USA - race and space

Management Booklet

Staff Handbook

Working in Central Services

1970s Gallery

Decimalisation - counting the cost

Hypermarkets and Supermarkets

The Wonder of Woolworth campaigns

View commercials from the chain's definitive TV ad series

Catalogue Shopping

Carelessness Causes Fire

PR and the world outside

Strategy for the 80s

Brascan's hostile takeover bid in the USA

100 Years in Main Street USA and Canada

Distribution Infrastructure

New product development

Music on a Budget

70's Juke Box

1980s Gallery

Acquisition of B&Q by F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.

'21st Century Shopping', Concept Store

Paternoster Takeover

Parent Company Decline

Asset redistribution

Exit from Ireland

The Cornerstone Business Strategy

Dixons Takeover Bid Fails

Launch of The Video Collection

Video Trailer

Focus Strategy

Launch of exclusive Ladybird licence

Chad Valley toys launch

Turnaround Team Video

The Lighter Side of the Eighties at Woolworths

1990s Gallery

Limited Story Stores with more specialist ranges

A Standalone Ladybird store - picture gallery

Visit a 1990s Woolies

New technology and EPOS

Profits bath in 1994

Spectacular £100m profits in 1997

Talks about talks

American Woolworth "retires" after 118 years

Asda merger fails

Big W

Woolworths Direct

90s People

Keith The Alien brand advertising character

The Lighter Side of the 90s

What Millennium Bug?

2000s Gallery

2000s Overview

Death by Demerger

New values and a new direction

Visit a Big W store

Market Towns and City Centres

The Smaller Stores

Multi-Channel Retail

Wholesale & Media

WorthIt! Value Comeback

Launch of the Virtual Museum

Meet the team

The Lighter Side

Wooly & Worth

Collapse and Rescue

Product Ranges

Sweets and Pic'n'Mix

Yankee Doodle Candy

Tuppence a Quarter

Visit a 1930s Sweet Factory

Rationing in World War II

A new world - the 1950s

Building a legend

Europe's biggest sweet shop

Candy Kings?

The Good Ship Lollipop

Toys and Games Gallery

Wonders from Woolies

Our great grandparents' toys

It's magic

Character brands

Just window dressing

The Lion and Albert

Wartime Toys

1950s Toys

Mum & dad's toys

The race for space

Cool for School

Woolies by Woolies at Woolies

80s and 90s Toys

Wooly and Worth

Kids and Celebrations

Century of Toys Video

Bonus Items - The History of Chad Valley, a brand which is now owned by Argos / J. Sainsbury plc, Chad Valley was revived and developed by Woolworths over a 21 year period

Toys for Toffs, the early ranges

TV changes everything in the 1950s and 1960s

Fashion and Clothing Gallery

Fashion overview (1909-2009)

Make it yourself patterns and thread

Birth of the Ladybird Legend

The first Ladybird items (from the 1930s Gallery)

History of the Ladybird Company

Building fashion sales (1950-80)

Launch of Ladybird at Woolies

Kids and Celebrations In-Store

The Easter Parade

Stationery & Books

On Paper - 100 years overview

Early US and UK stationery items

World War One cards

The cards our grandparents sent

P-p-p-pick up a Penguin (originally at Woolies)

Picture Histories - all time best seller

World War II Mighty Midgets

Launch of the Biro

Project Books

1980s and 1990s

21st Century

One very special book

The Christmas Store

A Century of Decorations

Cards and Wrap

A window on Christmas past

A century of Christmas Music on our Jukebox

Christmas Catalogues


The Last Noel

Home and Garden

The History of China and Glass at Woolworth

Thrift and economy - DIY at FWW

Leading Lights

Blooming good - seeds, bulbs and plants


The lost departments


Music and video overview

A Woolworth Wedding

The Girl from Woolworths

First Records

Little Wonder label

Little Marvel label

Mimosa label

The Victory label

Eclipse label

Crown Records

Making 78 rpm records in the 1930s

Royal Jubilee 1935

Royal Coronation of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II 1953

Embassy Records in the 1950s

1950s Juke Box

1960s Embassy

1960s Embassy Juke Box

1970s music on a budget

1970s Juke Box

Pre-recorded video

Hundred Up


Virtual Cinema

Price Quizes








Entertainment items: 1980-2008

Home, Kitchen & Garden: 1980-2008

Toys & Kids Clothes

Confectionery & Stationery


Pub Quiz Printable Questions

Pub Quiz Answers

Flash Multimedia Quiz

Picture Galleries

Million Dollary Baby: The 5 & 10¢ store

Nix over Six: The British Threepenny and Sixpenny stores

Finest Hour: Spitfire Aeroplanes and Home Front Defiance in World War II

Wonder, Blunder and Plunder: The Wonder of Woolworth in the 1970s and how it lost its way in the 2000s

Woolco Thornaby 1968

Ladybird Stand Alone Store Manchester Arndale 1992

Downham Kent 1999

Get out of town: Big W 2002

Small store: Kingswood, Bristol 2005

Huge store: Imperial Park, Bristol 2005

About the Museum:

Background to the site


The author of the Woolworths Museum

Terms and conditions for Commercial Yse

Home and Student use of site content

Contributors and Credits

Legal Information

Store Lists

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