Shut-down shops from your childhood

Assistants from the Bank Hey Street branch of Woolworths, collected 500 signatures in three hours for a petition protecting against the sale of the store, in 1982

From Lewis’s to BHS, take a trip down memory lane.

The internet is a magical place, and online shopping is a godsend for many who can’t be bothered to move from the sofa or find it hard to leave the house.

Woolworths, Blackpool promenade

However, one place that certainly hasn’t enjoyed the advent of e-commerce is the British high street.

Most of us will have – at some point – gone into the town centre after not visiting for some town and found all your old favourite shops have shut down and you don’t recognise many of the new shops that have replaced them.

So, to honour the shopping casualties of the past few decades, we’re revisiting the shops that dominated people’s lives in the latter half of the 20th century, but have sadly now vanished from the high street.

One of Blackpool’s most-loved lost shops was Lewis’s, on the Golden Mile, which opened in 1964.

The Royal Hotel , Blackpool, on the corner of the Promenade and Adelaide Street, stood on this site for over 100 years. Adjoining it is F W Woolworth and Co Ltd - the sign reads "Nothing over 6d". The new art deco Woolworth building was built on this site in the 1930s.

It replaced the Palace Theatre on the site, which was demolished in 1961.

The department store included a popular, annual Christmas grotto – in which countless resort youngsters had their photograph taken with Santa.

It also featured an extensive record department in an annex, where browsers could listen to their potential purchase in special booths.

On the ground floor, there was regular live cookery and make-up demonstrations.

RHO Hills , Bank Hey Street, in 1958

Lewis’s closed in 1991, later housing Woolworths and Mecca Bingo, before becoming home to Poundland and Viva Cabaret.

When the department store closed, the building was stripped of the top two floors and was re-clad with a brick exterior.

Eighties’ children may well remember visiting Woolworths for pic’n’mix, as well as school uniform, tapes and CDs.

Woolworths shops have been at several locations in Blackpool over the years – including Bank Hey Street and Talbot Road, as well as Waterloo Road.

Binns, Blackpool, 1987

The Bank Hey Street store traded for 44 years, but closed in 1984.

Ten years later, Woolies opened its new flagship store, just a block away from that site, in the former Lewis’s building – bringing the Woolworths wheel full circle, with the new store replacing the company’s older outlet.

The photograph on this page shows The Royal Hotel, Blackpool, in the 1930s, on the corner of the Promenade and Adelaide Street, with the original FW Woolworth and Co Ltd next to it.

A new art deco Woolworths building was built on the site later in the 30s.

The firm collapsed and went into administration in 2008, seeing the closure of all its stores.

Also much-loved by shoppers during the 1980s was the clothing store C&A.

Lewis's in Blackpool

The store, on Bank Hey Street, was located on the site once occupied by the Queens Theatre, formerly Feldman’s.

TK Maxx now stands on the site. C&A closed in 2001, alongside 74 stores up and down the country as the company pulled the plug, blaming falling profits.

RHO Hills first moved into its premises on Bank Hey Street – on the spot now occupied by Primark – in 1884.

It stood as a novelty bazaar for many years, until 1924, when it was demolished and transformed into the current four-storey structure.

The department store was twice ravaged and left badly damaged by fires – in 1932 and in 1967. The 1967 blaze was so severe, it took until the following year for the store to reopen.

When it reopened, thousands flocked through the doors of what was now the most modern department store in England.

RHO Hills later became Binns, when it was taken over by House of Fraser in 1978.

It also hosted an annual Santa’s grotto.

It closed in 1987, ending more than a century is Blackpool history.

More recent victims of closure have been JJB Sports and BHS.

British Homes Stores (BHS) was built on the corner of Corporation Street and Market Street – at the site of the old Blackpool market. The market was demolished in 1939.

BHS opened in 1957.

BHS went into administration last year and the store in Blackpool closed in June 2016.

JJB Sports first opened in Blackpool, on Birley Street, in July 1988. At that time the largest independent sports retailers, JJB was owned by Dave Whelan, former professional footballer.

It later moved into a three-storey store on Church Street.

Administrators were appointed in September 2012 and the store in Blackpool closed in October 2012.

Also fallen by the wayside in more recent history have been stores such as Clinton Cards, Past Times, MFI, Virgin Megastore, Comet, Dixons, Blockbusters, Littlewoods, Do It All and Jessops.

The Blackpool BHS store

Christmas shopping in British home Stores Blackpool in 1975. Jigsaws 50p and 75p, Tiny Tears �3.75, Bath towels �1.99

C&A Blackpool

Virgin Megastore and JJB Sports (Church Street, Blackpool).

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