WE VIEW many things as constant in our lives. Things we think will never change. But the sad fact is, very little is constant except war and death.
Everything else is subject to change. Sometimes with surprising suddenness like the fall of Soviet Russia and the Berlin Wall. Over the last 30 years or so we have seen the demise of the coal, steel, car and ship building industries, and locally that of ICI. But that has not prepared us for the shock demise of Woolworths.
I doubt there are many who can remember Northwich without Woolworths. I even remember a time when the local buses passed the store before Witton Street became pedestrianised. It was where virtually everyone shopped and where many did their one and only bit of shoplifting.
I read somewhere lately that if we all took back what we had pinched, the company would be back in profit. I’m not sure that is true as most of the pilfering I remember was petty stuff, usually some form of initiation ceremony into a local gang – I even know one or two people who were so ashamed at what they had done they took the item back the same day.
But the sad fact is Woolworths had had its day. It was a sad shadow of its bustling former self, as people began buying their goods at the local supermarkets (which now sell everything from cabbages to plasma TVs).
While one cannot but feel sad for those people who have lost their jobs, jobs I am sure they thought were for life, it is simply the way of the world. People once poured money into toll roads, then into canals, then into railroads, sure at the time that they were a safe bet.
Where do we go from here you may ask? Onwards and upwards hopefully. With luck a new High Street store will take on the Woolworths site and offer new jobs for those who have lost theirs.
Hopefully, as it was after the last recession in the 1980s, we will eventually see new jobs taking the place of the old, and a new Northwich will rise from the ashes.
That said I will still miss getting my pick-and-mix from Woolies.