Went out on the bright, cold and sunny boxing day for a walk, to show my baby son where I grew up. Sat opposite Woolworth’s in Burnt Oak Broadway to record this soon-to-be-departed store in the throes of its death. I think we all enjoyed Woollies at some point, particularly as a kid, when they had pick’n’mix, toys, records, chocolates, and stationery galore. Whose knees would not go weak at all those fountain pens and geometry sets? Plus it was the only place you could find to get passport pics done (the one in the tube station never worked), in a photo machine hidden inexplicably at the back behind the t-shirts and gym slips like some dark secret.
And by tomorrow, or maybe the day after, it will all be over, at the start of it’s 100th year. When I first saw the news reports about it online, there were people queuing for aeons just to get some nick-nack slightly cheaper, and then moaning about the lack of bargains to over-pressed staff who had all just been told, just before Christmas, that they were all losing their jobs. What will replace this bit-of-everything high street store? And who will go next? MFI, Zavvi (the old Virgin Megastore), Whittard’s, all closing shop. There goes the High Street. The times they are a-changing.