The ghost of Woolworth's

Woolworth's in Carr Street once had a store in keeping with their 1950s livery and appearance. It is visible at the far right in this photograph of crowds awaiting the Queen's motorcade during a royal visit to open Civic College in July 1961.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 19611961 photo courtesy The Ipswich Society
One can just make out the art deco upper storey, so it would have looked a little like this:
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 2NOT the Ipswich store
The deep red background with shaped gold lettering in serif'd large-and-small caps looks back to Victorian shop-fronts and forward to the more 'commercial' sans-serif caps of the sixties and seventies.
We assume that this version of the store had a basement; when it was torn down, a larger brutalist block store was built on the site: 26-32 Carr Street. Many will recall visiting Woolworth's basement and ground floor spaces, but in the way of mis-management and being bought and sold by companies who didn't know what to do with the chain, eventually the basement space was blocked up and then the whole national chain went bust just after Christmas in 2007 with the loss of 27,000 jobs.

The rear of the building is on the car parking area of tarmac stretching from the Tacket Street entrance up to Cox Lane. This is the area which was once the site of the Steam Brewery built by Charles Cullingham; the Steam Brewery Inn on Upper Brook Street – with the alleyway by the Can-Can bag shop – was so-named after the takeover by Tollemache (after 1887).
The shadow of the screwed-on "WOOLWORTH'S"lettering can be seen above the original rear entrance to the store (a few steps up to the ground floor, a few steps down to the basement floor). What a bleak elevation, leveaned only by a glance to the east to see the rear of the disused Co-op. Blimey.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 3   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 42015 images
The true glory of the cheap and cheerful emporium that was Woolworth's of the 50s and 60s (see also Nanci Griffith's brilliant song Love at the five-and-dime) is now a pound shop with, at one time, a 99p store in the basement. Bliss.
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 6   Ipswich Historic Lettering: Woolworths 5  
A pound??? American, Frank Woolworth's, original British store in Liverpool and its successors were known not only for their scrubbed wooden floors and gas lighting but also for their 3d and 6d (threepenny and sixpenny) items. So: the original Poundland, then. In their homeland, they were five and ten cents stores, hence 'the five-and-dime'.
Woolworth's trivia: Frank Woolworth's middle name was Winfield, so the brand name for all 'own brand' products sold in the shops was Winfield.

On the other side of the car park is the rear of the Christ Church Congregational Church.



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2004 Copyright throughout the Ipswich Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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