Sheffield retro: 14 nostalgic photos to mark 15 years since the sad demise of Woolworths

Archive photos show Sheffield city centre and Hillsborough stores and their staff from 1960s until their final days

It was a fixture on Britain's high streets for years, beloved for its pick and mix as much as its toys, records and other goods.

But the Woolworths empire came crashing down in 2008 when trading in its shares was suspended. All 807 stores were subsequently closed between December 27 that year and January 6, 2009, with the loss of 27,000 jobs.

It's now 15 years since the chain's sad demise. To mark the anniversary, we've pulled together these nostalgic photos from The Star's archives showing the Woolworths stores on The Moor and in Hillsborough, Sheffield, over the years, from the early 1960s right up to the final days of trading.

The retro pictures show how the shops changed over the years, many of the staff who worked there and the emotional response to the end of an era as Woolworths workers said farewell to loyal customers.

Following the closures, many people shared their memories and described how sad they were to see Woolworths close.

One reader of The Star wrote in to describe how back in 1962 they had popped into the Woolworths on The Moor for some shoelaces and 'came out with a wife'. They added: "The best bargain by far and I wouldn't swap her. Anyway, it's too late now. I lost the receipt and the shop is closed."

Staff, many of whom were left devastated by the collapse of Woolworths, organised a reunion party in Sheffield in 2009, where they shared pictures and videos of notable occasions from down the decades, including the 1978 visit by Blue Peter presenter John Noakes.

Kath Bailey, who organised the get-together, said it had been such a special place to work because there was such a strong family feeling among staff. "Nobody looked down on anyone and everyone treated each other fairly," she added.

Woolworths began life in the US, with the first UK store opening in Liverpool on November 5, 1909.

It expanded rapidly on these shores and by the early 1920s there were more than 100 branches nationally, with the 600th opening in 1934 and the 1,000th in 1958.

The number of stores reportedly peaked at 1,141 in the late 1960s.

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