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The Woolworths Museum logo(click for the home page)


Background to the Woolworths Museum


The first ever Woolworth store, in North Queen Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA.  Manager J. D. Rock stands on the doorstep with his team

This website covers the whole history of Woolworths stores from the first openings in America in 1879 to the final closure in the British High Street on 6th January 2009. The site author, Paul Seaton, dreamt up the idea of a Virtual Museum and built the original as a hobby, alongside his day job as a Systems Manager with the store-based chain, persuading the Directors to put it on-line serve it as part of in June 2004.

The Museum proved a hit with the public. It prompted many suggestions and contributions. The author set to work on an improved version intended to mark the brand's centenary in Britain in 2009. Work was progressing well when the Company collapsed unexpectedly in the Credit Crunch.

Fortunately Shop Direct Group has rescued the brand and are now taking it forward in their own way. So this is now a fansite!


The look and feel of the Woolworths Museum - a website that charts the history of Woolworths' High Street storesThe Museum was launched on 21 June 2004, 125 years to the day after the first Woolworth's opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. It told the story through to the date of publication. 3,000,000 people visited in five years.

Since the demise, encouraged by former colleagues, broadcasters and English Heritage, the work has been completed and published, and continues to be refined and extended. It uses the latest HTML5 standard, and incorporates lots of multimedia, and improved navigation.

Surfers can visit a Five-and-Ten or Nothing Over Sixpence store and explore the product range, working conditions and prices. They can celebrate the heroes of two World Wars, and examine the keys to success and ultimate failure as a bricks-and-mortar store. We've included galleries of high resolution pictures, early sound recordings, and films that were specially made for the Museum.


An early storyboard for the updated museum design

To help visitors to navigate the site and to improve accessibility and indexing on the Internet, every page includes a navigation menu on the left. The exhibits are arranged into galleries, each on a different theme.  Some show a span of time (for example "the 1910s"), while others concentrate on one of the chain's ranges (like "Music and Video"). There is also a search tool, a special multimedia section, and a full site map. The goal was to create a site that is easy to navigate and that offers rich multimedia content with simple, no-nonsense terms and conditions for both commercial and home/academic use.

PLEASE NOTE: this is a fansite.In the UK the Woolworths, WorthIt! and Ladybird brand names are now the property of Shop Direct Group Ltd. The Chad Valley brand is the property of Home Retail Group Ltd. Neither organisation has supplied or approved any of the content presented here. All trademarks are acknowledged, and as a courtesy we have included links to the official Woolworth sites.

An early storyboard for the layout of the product galleries in the updated Woolworths Museum

If you like the Woolworths Museum please bookmark the site and tell your friends.  If you don't, why not drop the author a line with your ideas for improvements? All feedback will be very welcome!.