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Old 19th May 2019, 1:43 am   #21
G8UWM-MildMartin
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

The only D&S sockets I have ever seen in use were in the early 1980s in a part of Abingdon that was then in Oxfordshire, but was in Berkshire when those pre-fabs were built.
The house I had a room in in 1994 in Stockport had Wylex "Ring Main" sockets (made in Wythenshawe about 8 miles away.)
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Old 19th May 2019, 8:52 am   #22
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

I can remember the gas lighting in the Erith branch which survived the mass re-building of the town, and I used to frequent the Crayford store with its shallow metal edged counter and all the batteries lined up neatly so when you bought them they were partially discharged, so you had to keep buying more.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:05 am   #23
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The gas lights in the Wimbledon store were in large opal shades shaped like a gooseberry.
they were covered in wire mesh to prevent glass shards slashing customers to bits should a blow back occur. They had chains with rings on the end to open and close the gas valves. I seem to remember a pilot light. They were very bright and only saw them lit once during the 70's power cuts.

The light fittings and shades were displayed from bright chromium rails that gave a very bright and welcoming feel to the electrical counters.

The record section was always an attraction. The Woolworth's brand name was EMBASSY and I remember the young lady assistants playing the records on a Garrard single player turntable, I think a 'T' deck fitted with a Decca XMS pick-up. I remember this as I was fascinated by the roller [that protected the stylus should the pick-up be dropped on the record] that I thought back then that it was actually playing the record. I could not work it out! [I was about 8 years old at the time]

Yes the cafeteria at the Wimbledon store. Very busy with a single teaspoon on a length of string! Not exactly Lyons Corner House but a lot cheaper.

Lastly a mention of the Stockton on Tees store where my Gran used to buy 'Veritas' gas mantles for her house in Thornaby. It was a very old store with bare floor boards and a smell of naptha, candles and oil cloth. 'Hi lad you broke the bluudy mantle, no worry we will get another tomorrow'. Dear old Gran, I must have been very young at the time but these memories are engraved with me. John.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:26 am   #24
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Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
I can remember the gas lamps with dangling on/off chains at the Cheethem Hill Manchester branch. It's now a British Heart Foundation charity shop.

My favourite things from the electrical counter were MES baton holders, and those mini tumbler switches, either with a plastic or chrome top. The latter became part of the circuit via the pin securing the "dolly".
I was also very fond of the MES baton holders and switches. The bulb in the lid of our McMichael 135 failed and I went with my parents at around the age of 7 to Woolworths to buy another. My parents wanted to get a 3v one but I insisted on a 6v one. I still remember the assistant saying "he certainly knows what he wants".

They also used to test new mains lamps on a lampholder behind the counter before selling them.

Both the Lancaster and Crosby branches still had gas globes covered in netting into the 1970s but I never saw them used. They also had large square chromium framed slave clocks.

An older school friend got a job on the electrical counter and he pointed out the three coloured lamp bulbs on one wall. Apparently they were a used as a signal when a supervisor, or floor walker was required. The bulbs remained in Southport long after the store was modernised and the individually attended counters were removed.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:54 am   #25
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Originally Posted by bobsterkent View Post
I used to frequent the Crayford store with its shallow metal edged counter and all the batteries lined up neatly so when you bought them they were partially discharged, so you had to keep buying more.
I always bought batteries from Woolworths rather than my local hardware shop. Woolworths had a high turnover so you could be sure they hadn't been sitting on the shelf for months.
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Old 19th May 2019, 11:04 am   #26
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

Until recently I had a Woolworths mains plug that had a switch and neon on it. Alas it fell, hit a hard surface and smashed to pieces.

In one of my junk boxes I have the remains of a Sunshine branded christmas tree light set. I think I may have disposed of the remains of the box. Stupid boy.

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Old 19th May 2019, 11:53 am   #27
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

The mention by John HKS of the bare wooden floor boards and that distinctive aroma as you entered the shop, plus the netting over the gas lamps took me straight back to the very old Woolworths in Small Heath. Long gone and since replaced by another store when the area was redeveloped in the later 70s. The more modern shop in Yardley which was a self service store had the lighting and electrical counter at the far end of the shop. Besides buying bulbs and batteries, one of the things I bought as a youngster, long before I had a soldering iron, was chocolate block connectors for building my first small projects on.

Alan.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:27 pm   #28
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Here's some photos of some of my Woolworths stuff. Some packs of GLS lamps, 60W mushroom and a 25W candle, and the end view of the mushroom bulb. All the bulbs have Ballotini fuses.
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Old 19th May 2019, 10:37 pm   #29
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And some more: plug fuses, Christmas tree lights, a homemade (circa 1970) movie light using a Woolworths Italian-made twin double pole surface-mounting switch for series/parallel operation, and a 2A flex connector socket that I gave to a forum member a couple of years ago for his electric clock. I used to have several of these, bought between the mid-1960's and mid-1970's. The 2A sockets, being for use with plugs with 1/8" pins, were perfect for use with wander plugs. Some of the last ones I bought had "I'm Backing Britain" stickers: remember that?

Woolworths sold the full range of fuses: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 13A. I used to have a panel cut from one of the packs they came in, taped to the lid of the tin we kept them in, but it disintegrated long ago. It gave the colour coding of the different values.

The switch was actually bought in the mid-1960's.

The Christmas tree lights were bought in a street market and have "Britram" stickers and black marker pen obliterating the Woolworths' "Winfield" trade marks. This was shortly before the regulations changed and I suppose Woolworths cleared their surplus stocks while they were still legal to sell. They were sold without a plug and I fitted my own BC adaptor.
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Old 19th May 2019, 11:04 pm   #30
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I'm following this thread with great interest, as I too was a frequent visitor to the electrical counter in my local Woolworths (Witney, Oxon) back in the mid-late 60s and early 70s.

I've attached scans of the information leaflet available at the counter, detailing the range of wires and cables they sold (all imperial sizes, of course). I've kept it all these years to remind me of the cable types used before the fixed T&E mains wiring cables went metric and solid core.

I still use some Woolworth's Christmas lights bought over 25 years ago, but the push-in 12V @ 1.1W lamps are beaconing increasingly difficult (and expensive) to procure.

Enjoy the nostalgia!
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Old 20th May 2019, 9:59 am   #31
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

If you still have the dead bulb, the base can be used to mount any suitably rated bulb or resistor and LED combination to keep things going.......

Returning to Woolies, Worcester this time, MES batten holders, little metal live bodied toggle switches, bell batteries (126?), torch bulbs and 2A 2 pin mains plugs and sockets featured in my life. You could leave your bike unlocked propped up by the pedal at the kerbside on the high street and expect to find it there when you came back, too.

No doubt like new mown grass, encountering the same smells would bring back some clear memories as well.
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Old 20th May 2019, 10:21 am   #32
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As I have mentioned fond memories of the Woolworth's Wimbledon store you can imagine the sadness when on the 30th April 1981 the big store was burnt to the ground in a horrific fire that resulted in the loss of life of a fire fighter.

The store was rebuilt and carried on till closure of all branches. Seems incredible it was 40 years ago.

I took these pictures before the tragic incident around 6pm. J.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:16 am   #33
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

dazzlevision, I, too, remember the Witney Woowrths-it was one of the two nearest to Chipping Norton-the other being in Banbury, and there was another in Oxford, near where the Clarendon center is now, in Cornmarket Street. I used to buy things from all three of them from time to time. Possibly the only Woolies things I have left now are a cutlery set I bought for my parents many years ago, and some Embassy records. In Witney there is now a shop called 'Wellworth it!' in the market place, but whether that's where Witney Wollies used to be I can't remember.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:29 am   #34
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Default Re: Woolworths Electrical Counter

I too spent many a happy hour browsing the electrical counter in the Oxford Woolworths in Cornmarket.
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Old 20th May 2019, 11:33 am   #35
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dazzlevision, I, too, remember the Witney Woowrths-it was one of the two nearest to Chipping Norton-the other being in Banbury, and there was another in Oxford, near where the Clarendon center is now, in Cornmarket Street. I used to buy things from all three of them from time to time. Possibly the only Woolies things I have left now are a cutlery set I bought for my parents many years ago, and some Embassy records. In Witney there is now a shop called 'Wellworth it!' in the market place, but whether that's where Witney Wollies used to be I can't remember.
Hello Livewire.

The Witney Woolworths was at 18 High Street, not the Market Square.

I do remember the big Woolies in Oxford - it had a large cafeteria/restaurant on the first floor - IIRC, but it was a long time ago!
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Old 20th May 2019, 1:13 pm   #36
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I had to smile at the recollections of the electrical section, yes I did the same as a young boy, fascinated by the range of goodies on show. Saved up my pocket money for one of the small Brown bell transformers too. The youngsters of today will never know
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Old 20th May 2019, 1:38 pm   #37
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All that fascinating stuff and not a single plastic blister pack to be seen!
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Old 20th May 2019, 2:33 pm   #38
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I do remember the big Woolies in Oxford - it had a large cafeteria/restaurant on the first floor - IIRC, but it was a long time ago!
Oh yes, I'd forgotten about the cafeteria.
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Old 20th May 2019, 3:32 pm   #39
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Ah... Childhood memories of family visits to Sheldon. The Woollies electrical counter was at the back of the store. Numerous partitions with every conceivable electrical component, so deep I couldn't reach the farthest. Recently I've been hoarding batten holders and low voltage toggle switches with metal dome cover in anticipation of reliving those days in some way.
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Old 20th May 2019, 3:41 pm   #40
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I used the batten holders, those switches and bell wire to rig up "helpful" lights in various cupboards and the coal place. I doubt that they were actually much use!
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