I thought it worth just mentioning that with the demise of the Woolworth's chain of shops goes another link between Spare's everyday world and our own (and, indeed there must be many cultural references to Woolworth's throughout English literature of the last 100 years that are now thus "dated"). He had a studio above Woolworth's at 56a Walworth Road in the 1930s, and according to Frank Letchford, he "...would dive down into Woolworths and sort through their new stock of pastels, crayons and chalks, removing the flesh tints and half-tones for himself, and the manageress would make up the boxes afresh! Through her he obtained permission for her sales-ladies to sit for him in the nude as models. His observation was that a woman undressed can be a revelation and quite a different shape to that guessed through her clothing. Too many men were fooled by a pretty face was his view and he had often noticed that a plain girl possessed a lovely figure, upon which a man should concentrate, as well as her hair and a good nature, when choosing a wife. His models received a cup of tea as payment". Spare was made homeless temporarily when his studio was bombed in the Blitz.
A few years ago, I had a little private tour of some of Spare's old haunts. I tried to work out by an extrapolation of the surviving house-numbers, where Spare's studio had stood. My calculations took me to precisely where the new branch of Woolworth's stood inside the modern shopping-centre. Perhaps they'd still retained some legal right to the land?
Indeed they would have done, and that would have given them the right to be included in the new mall, without having to submit a tender. It's often stated that McDonald's primary business is not selling burgers, but investing in real estate, when you consider exactly where their stores are located. If everyone stopped eating burgers tomorrow, McDonalds would still make billions from the sale or rental of their locations. This is why Woolworths have decided it's better to close down, as the actual stores are worth more than they can make selling the contents.
So Farewell then ........ indeed
Maybe in the 1930s Woolies' stock went beyond the fabled pic'n'mix ......... the catalogue for the Oliver Bradbury and James Birch Fine Art 1984 exhibition, has as item 34 - Woolworths Satyr pen drawing 6" x 4" 1936.