THE opening of the new Woolworth’s store in Oxford in 1957 was celebrated in style.

The Oxford Mail produced a 12-page supplement on Wednesday, October 16, two days before the store began trading.

A copy has been sent in by a reader.

Woolworth’s had arrived in the city in 1925, its store replacing the Roebuck Inn, in Cornmarket Street, where Boots now stands.

Business was so good that it was not long before the firm was looking for larger premises.

Its target was the Clarendon Hotel across the road.

The Clarry, as it was affectionately known, was one of Oxford’s oldest and best known hotels.

It had closed its doors to guests for the last time in 1939 and, during and after the Second World War, was used by various Government departments.

The 1950s saw a battle royal between Woolworth’s and the city council over the future of the site.

Woolworth’s finally won – the hotel was to be pulled down and a new store built in its place.

The spacious new building offered a wide range of goods – food, clothes, shoes, tobacco, toys, records, crockery, sweets, paint, pots, pans, buckets and much more.

In addition, it had a first-floor restaurant, which gave a bird’s eye view of virtually the whole ground floor.

The newspaper supplement also introduced the people who would be running the store.

The manager was Mr R Short, who had worked for Woolworth’s since 1927, and his deputy was Thomas Humble.

Other key staff included staff supervisor Frances Watts, cashier Miss PE Church, invoice clerk Ada Belcher and floor supervisors May Bennett and Barbara Canning.

Customers flocked to the new store after the official opening by the mayor of Oxford, Alderman Frank Knight.

But enthusiasm for Woolworth’s later waned and there were shock waves around the city when the firm announced in 1983 that the Cornmarket Street store was one of several around the country to be closed in an economy drive.

The site was redeveloped as the Clarendon Centre, restoring the name of the hotel that the Woolworth’s building had removed.

Now, of course, after a further downturn in business, Woolworth’s has disappeared completely from our high streets.