Nostalgia for Woolworths

PUBLISHED: 10:06 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 June 2010

FOR many 14-year-old Exmothians Woolworths offered the first step into the glamorous world of employment.

FOR many 14-year-old Exmothians Woolworths offered the first step into the glamorous world of employment.

For one young girl the beginning of the Swinging Sixties brought the chance of a new career in a store where customers knew the staff by name, letting the staff into their private world with conversations about their daily lives.

Margaret Clarke, who was born in Exmouth, left school at the age of 14 in 1961 to work at the Exmouth branch of Woolworths.

For the next seven years she would become fast friends with her customers, colleagues and learn everything about her department of glass and china.

The 62-year-old said: "We were completely responsible for everything in our department: ordering, deliveries, selling, I know everything there is to know about china.

"The store used to look very different then, there were wooden counters lining the walls where we used to stand behind them selling everything from china to toys.

"It was quite an experience - we used to go for dances with the store in Paignton and then go to the George and Dragon pub for our Christmas parties."

Mrs Clarke left Woolworths in 1968 after the birth of her first child but stills recalls fondly her first job that saw her turn from a young girl into a woman.


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