PENNY sweets, records, old clothing brands - over the years Colchester has seen many shops come and go.

We all know sadly a trip around the town centre isn’t quite the same as it used to be.

Recently the high street has taken a hit as more and more of our favourite shops announce closures.

While the town still boast plenty of independent stores there were lots you missed.

And before the days of Primark and Poundland the town had the likes of Jacks, Woolworths and BHS.

For now we can look back at the good ol’ days when we could spend our hard-earned cash at a variety of shops.

Recently, we asked you what shops you would you bring back if you could.

And, we have to say you’ve come up with some brilliant suggestions, including some shops we’d forgotten about but were delighted to be reminded of.

Here are just a few of your suggestions.

Out of the 200+ responses we had, lots of you said you missed Woolworths – especially the Pick & Mix.

Woolworths had served Colchester in some form since 1914.

The first Woolworths in the town opened as FW Woolworth & Co, in High Street, before 1914, as a thruppence or sixpence store.

Trade flourished thoughout the next 50 years, as hundreds more branches opened across Britain and Ireland.

But on October 2, 1973, Colchester’s store was destroyed in the biggest fire the town had seen for 20 years.

The blaze, which broke out in a pile of cushions on a linen counter during the lunchtime rush, caused £2.5 million of damage.


The flames were so huge that police originally believed a bomb had exploded.

Nearly 200 firefighters from all over Essex and Suffolk battled for 12 hours to stop the fire spreading along the High Street, but there was little they could do to save the shop.

A £4 million rebuilding programme began and the store reopened on October 1975 with a new butcher’s and bakery.

But economic troubles succeeded where fire had failed and it closed again in January 1985, with the loss of 70 jobs.

It was finally brought back to Colchester by popular demand in 1998, to Culver Square.

It closed after going into administration in late 2008 with more than £300million of debt. The shop is now home to H&M.

Stella Curran said: "Woolworths was my favourite even had Saturday job there and loved it."

Kelly Coogan added: "Woolworths 100% I absolutely loved working for this company and miss shopping there too."

Next on the list was Jacks.

We can’t even count how many times people told us they wanted to bring back the store.

Jacks closed in February 2013 after more than 60 years trading selling everything from fishing rods to head lights and thermal underwear.


The store is now being turned into a microbrewery for neighbours Three Wise Monkeys.

During works in 2019 a plethora of important archaeological discoveries including a Roman bath house were made.

C&A was also highly commented by our readers.

After 13 years in Colchester town centre C&A closed in January 2001 with the loss of 40 jobs.

New Look moved into the Culver Square site.


Others mentioned BHS, Spoils, Petes Treats, and Kathleen's Kitchen.

There were also mentions of Weigh n Save, Beaties, Our Price, Andys Records and Gap.